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.