Panthers’ Dan Connor a free-agent target for the Eagles

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A week before teams can publicly declare their interest in free agents from other teams, the Eagles are privately declaring their interest in soon-to-be free agent linebacker Dan Connor of the Panthers.

Geoff Mosher of the News Journal, citing unnamed league sources, reports that the Eagles are interested in Connor.

The Eagles directly telling Connor or his agent that they’re interested would be tampering, which of course no NFL team would ever do. But letting word get out that they’re interested, without anyone on the Eagles giving a direct quote saying so, is a way to make sure Connor knows they’re interested without getting in trouble with the league office.

But the Eagles’ interest in Connor is nothing new: They reportedly approached the Panthers during training camp last year about a trade, but the Panthers didn’t want to let him go. Connor grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and played at Penn State, where he won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player in college football in 2007. So signing with the Eagles would be a homecoming for him.

A third-round pick of the Panthers in 2008, Connor has been troubled by injuries, including a torn ACL in his rookie season. But last year he played 15 games. If the Eagles were to sign him, he would likely become their starting middle linebacker.

Middle linebacker is a position the Eagles are hoping to upgrade this offseason, with the Falcons’ Curtis Lofton and the Redskins’ London Fletcher among the other names who have been mentioned.

39 responses to “Panthers’ Dan Connor a free-agent target for the Eagles

  1. Would be an upgrade for sure, but would only one step in the many needed to get the LB unit to where it needs to be. I’d still look into Kuechly or drafting a LB with one of our 2 second round picks.

  2. Thank you Dan Conner for being a damn good back up LB for us for all these years.

    Here is hoping you get a starting gig somewhere and we wish you the best of luck

  3. I’m sure free agent defensive players are climbing over themselves and willing to take less money for the opportunity to play for Juan Castillo…..

  4. Why is every free agent somehow tied to the eagles??? Free agency didnt work out for them last year, and it more than likely wont work this year either. Another dissapointing season looms. I have ZERO expectations for this team!

  5. I have been able to watch first-hand Dan Connor morph into the player he is now as I grew up around the same neighborhood, he’s a bit older though. He definitely hasn’t performed quite like I expected but still a solid pick for the Eagles that are in desperate need at LB. I hear all too many times fans saying we already have that position filled or we should draft a LB instead. Solution: draft a LB and sign one or two, it’s never a bad thing to have competition, especially if it isn’t hurting the bank.

  6. canjura says:
    Mar 6, 2012 11:32 AM
    How do they even have enough capspace after all those monster (and overpaid) contracts of the last 2 seasons?


    Because half of the guys signed last year were 1 year deals. Pay attention first before spouting off. If there is one the eagles are good at, it’s managing the cap. Thats about it.

  7. While he would be an upgrade at MIKE and allows Chaney to slide to the more natural spot for him, weakside, he’s probably not a real difference maker. Plus, we still have not had a legit SAM since Carlos Emmons. It just goes to show what a shambles our LBs have been for years.

  8. phillyrick22 says: Mar 6, 2012 11:35 AM

    Why is every free agent somehow tied to the eagles??? Free agency didnt work out for them last year, and it more than likely wont work this year either. Another dissapointing season looms. I have ZERO expectations for this team!
    That’s pretty weak bro!

    The Eagles are a few linebackers away from being a very dangerous team. I’d say expectations should be high in Philly.

  9. I really like the guy and he was always up to the task when needed. Did great when Beason went down this year.

    I’m sad we have to let him go but glad he’ll have the opportunity to be a starter somewhere.

  10. Every free agent is a target for the Eagles. Why should Conner be any different. By my count they’ve already lined up a dozen or so … and that’s not even counting the inevitable trade for RG3.

  11. Stop over exaggerating the eagles potential free agency moves? Not to knock Dan Connor, but it’s not like he’s a stud free agent. They are targeting him because although not elite he is an obvious upgrade over anyone they currently have, and should be able to sign him to a reasonably contract. This would barely get any attention if any on a busy news day.

  12. Phillyrick, I wouldnt call Dan Connor a big-name free agent as far as the NFL goes. He is exactly the type of player they should be targeting this offseason. A young player at a position of (dire) need who most likely will not cost too much. I don’t expect to see them be serious contenders for guys like Vincent Jackson and Mario Williams this year.

  13. I hate to loose him. Good player. Just not good enough to start when all our guys are healthy (which is never). Best of luck to him

  14. @phillyrick22 Free agency didn’t work out for the Eagles last season because they didn’t have an offseason.

    Bringing in free agents + installing a new defensive coordinator/defensive scheme + thrusting rookies into starting roles without OTAs = the first 3/5ths of the season. When they had time to gel and get comfortable with each other, they reeled off a very hot end to the season.

    If the Eagles can play like they did at the end of last year, they should do well. Incidentally, I played ball with Dan Connors and it would be great to see him come home. If he can stay healthy, he would be a strong addition to the team.

  15. How do they even have enough capspace after all those monster (and overpaid) contracts of the last 2 seasons?
    Contrary to misinformed belief, they did not offer a lot of overpaid or monster contracts last year. Every contract was pretty team friendly. Only two guys, Babin and Nnamdi, got contracts that the team couldn’t exit out of this year with minimal cap hit. Despite all of the comparisons to the Redskins, the Eagles actually made smart signings from a cap management standpoint.

    You’ll see several of those guys from last year’s flurry, like V Young, Steve Smith, etc., jettisoned this year with pretty much no cap hit.

    As for overpaid, most if not all of the contracts were lower than expected for the positions in question. Nnamdi, for example, took less than expected. Of course, it’s a lot easier to say that the Eagles overpaid and made dumb decisions, because it’s a lot easier to just ignore facts.

  16. Good luck Dan. Thanks for your time here in Charlotte. Hope you get paid and can start. Ironically with our LB situation, we will still need you.

  17. Nothing better than seeing the Giants take the Lombardi that was suppose to belong to the Eagles last year. Perhaps they’ll take their linebacker as well.

  18. Yeah just what the Eagles need….another broken down LB that they can get on the cheap. For some reason the Eagles have no problem over paying for DTs and CBs but continuely want to under pay for LBs yet wonder why they can’t stop the run or cover a TE.

    Andy Reid seems to have a fetish for white LBs who either can’t play are past their prime.

  19. Undersized “high motor” guy? Check

    Injury prone/coming off majory injury? Check

    It gets tougher and tougher every year to be an Eagles fan. SMH.

  20. sneschalmers said “Free agency didn’t work out for the Eagles last season because they didn’t have an offseason”

    Yeah and I guess the Giants and all the other teams in the NFL had a secret off-season that the Eagles were robbed of huh?

    PLEASE! Free Agency didn’t work out for the Eagles because:

    1) They dramatically over paid Mike Vick for what was a half a season of results mostly against bad teams. They could have just tagged him and made him prove he could do it for a full season (which he clearly can NOT). Now we are stuck with this duck and chuck, injury prone mutt (pun intended) that can’t read a defense for at least one more year.

    2) They decided to use the Dan Synder free agent plan of over paying for big names even if you don’t have a need at that position (Nnamdi, Steve Smith, and V. Young for examples). That left them cash strapped to address the glaring holes at LB and Safety. They attempted to patch these positions with practice squad level players that came cheap. The results were a defense that couldn’t stop the run.

    3) Instead of bringing in a real defensive coordinator, they instead hired their offensive line coach (a move unheard of in NFL circles). Andy didn’t want to have to defer to a big name defensive coach so he gave the job to his side kick.

  21. canjura

    Most of the players signed last year were one year players like Borwn and Young. Jenkins restructured his contract. Additionally they have people coming of the books. This leaves them with about 20-25 million, depending on were the cap is set Now Deseans one year deal will hurt which is why they need to get a long term deal done with a lower cap number or trade him. However they also will be getting rid of Samuel and his 9 million, Victor Abrami and his near 3 million, Winston Jackson and his near 3 million, Jamal Jackson and his 1.8 million and Jaqua Parker and his I believe 2 million. This leaves the eagles with anywhere from 38 to 43 million in cap space. Additionally the way they always structure their contracts leaves cap money that rolls over which should be between 2-5 million.

    This means even with all they did last year and even if they pay their own free agents like Mathis and Landri well and with the rookie wage scale. They will still have close to 30 million for free agency.

  22. It’s funny when I hear fans make jokes about ‘why would anyone want to play for Philadelphia’ and then watch free agents actually take less to play there (Nnamdi), and current players restructure their contracts (Jenkins) to stay there. Desean Jackson just said last week he felt honored to receive the franchise tag from them. You may not like Philly, but it seems that a lot of players do.

  23. shawnschaeffer – what good is “30 million for free agency” if they waste it on injured rehab projects like Connor? I really don’t care that he is a “local kid”. The Eagles need legit, hard hitting LBs that can stop the run. Not injured retreds that will be cut but a team that didn’t make the playoffs last season. I would rather see that sign Jerome Harrison to a one year deal. The Eagles need some leadership and toughness, not more ACL issues.

  24. Definitely a starter in this league, but Jon Beason also happens to be a starter in this league… Good luck Dan, we’ll miss you in Carolina but Philly is where you belong.

  25. Touchy Eagles’ fans giving a guy grief when he simply ASKED you dopes how your team affords all the free agents it signs. Out of 20+ comments from you losers, only Shawnschaeffer had the common courtesy to give him a dignified answer. Well, that’s actually par for the course with Eagle fans. 1 out of 20 of you is actually respectable.

    By the way, you did OVERPAY for Nnamdi and Vick. That was after you already OVERPAID for Samuel.

  26. why the hell are all these fans of other teams commenting as if they actually know what the Eagles cap situation is?? even WITH DeSean’s franchise tage at 9.4 million the Eagles will still be roughly 20 million under the cap. The Eagles management is smart when it comes to managing and working the cap. No they just have to get DeSean a long term deal to bring the cap down, then resign Evan Mathis and probably most importantly get LeSean a shiny new deal.

  27. I’m a Packers fan, but the Eagles have a lot of favorable contracts. They’ve drafted well at skill positions and they sign their good players to long term deals while their price is still reasonable.

    Guys like Trent Cole, Brent Celek, Todd Herremans were all re-upped in the early portion of their rookie contracts. So the Eagles paid more for those guys than they would have had to early on, but are now reaping the benefit as their contracts are really cheap compared to what it would cost to get an equivalent player as an FA.

    Thus they have room to maneuver in Free Agency, or to try to lock up McCoy longer term.

  28. richardhurtz

    Which has what to do with my point. I never said teh spent it wisely or that this guy should be teh target over tulloch or lofton. What I said is how it is possible for the eagles to have so much cap space. That is all.

    Now I get like most eagles fans you are a miserable sack of crap who would rather have one super bowl and suck for twenty years like the Giants nomraly do, but coming at me will not make that happen. Now perhapes if you have something to say about how the eagles have so much space addressing me would be appropriate but as that is all I have commented on, you just seem like an enourmous jersey shore douchbag comming at me.

  29. If this guy is injured prone then god I do not want another Stewart Bradley.He can fill the MLB spot as long as he can stay healthy but if not we need to sign someone like David Hawthorne.

  30. To correct myself, and for further explanation see, I was a little off in my esitment the eagles currently after giving the franchise tag Desean have a about 19.5 million in cap room if the cap is 122 million. However, it is expeceted that the cap will be 125 million, which means the Eagles have 22.5 million as it stands today. Assuming that Samuel, Justice and Jackson are all gone which only makes sense they will gain about 15 million extra in cap space which throws them right around 37-38 million. They will still have the 2-5 million rollover as well. Just going with the average between the two means 39.5 to 40.5, with a max of 43 million It also means if they trade Desean for picks they will have an extra 9.5 million. Meaning they could have as much as 52.5 million in room. Yes thats right 52.5 million in cap possible.

    Im going to guess they keep Desean but lock him up with about 7 milion thus saving 2.5 in cap space. They will likely sign Mathis to a longer deal. As well as either Landri, Dixon or Laws. Almost certainly at low deals, as all three are back ups at best.

    As for last years group of free agents. Jenkins played well, Babin was insane, Landri was good, Mathis was a huge suprise and gave up 0 sacks. Namdi was playing in a scheme that did not play to his strengths and that will be fixed with Asante leaving. Likewise DRC played better when he finally got moved outside for the last two games. Which means only Smith, Bown and Young were waste of money.

    Now assuming the Eagles have around 38.5 million, after locking up Desean long term They will lock up Shady and Maclin. which should still leave about 29-28 million of cap room on the table at least. Rookie wage scale will dictate about 12 million. Which means 17-16 million which is more the enough to lock up Lofotn, or Tulloch. Then consider if the Conner rumor is true it is very possible the Eagles sign two free agent linebackers to soldify that group. This is especially important when looking at the draft because it means they can take the best player on the board and look at building quality depth. I am guessing DT in round one, hopefully Pope, or Still. Round 2 LB Zach Brown would be great. The second pick of the Round will likely be the QB Osweller who will be a good qb for the future.

  31. In the wide 9 the dend is simply a pass rusher, with run support falling on the shoulders of the tackles and lbs. The problem was outside Jenkins they were awful for most of the season. Babin and Cole for that matter provided the pass rush that they were suppsoe to. Another season in the wide 9, linebackers who can play such as I suggested and a gap killer like Poe will improve all of those issues.

  32. just because you have cap room doesnt always mean spend it all.. sheesh… eagles sign a vet. saftey and Lb then draft both also.. then fill in the remainder positions

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