Should Eagles Make a Play for Antonio Pierce?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pierce would be a good addition to the Eagles' defense.

Earlier today, the New York Giants released their middle linebacker Antonio Pierce. Because of his time in the league, he will automatically become a free agent.

The Eagles have had a first-hand look at Pierce throughout his entire career -- Washington and then New York -- and have always spoke and thought highly of him. The Eagles have a need at linebacker, and could make a play for the Pro Bowl linebacker.

If the Eagles move Stewart Bradley over to SAM (like I would like them to do), Pierce could be a great guy to bring in for a year or two until the Birds either a) find a SAM linebacker worthwhile, or b) find a younger middle linebacker through the draft. Either one is fine with me, but the Eagles have to be looking to 2010 and what they can do with this linebacker unit.

Pierce is a sworn enemy of the Eagles as he was one of the most brash and outspoken Giants, but anyone who could come in and play linebacker for this team, and at a high level, would immediately become a fan-favorite.

On the field, Pierce isn't all that great in coverage. He can be exploited if left on an island with a running back (as we've seen with Brian Westbrook), and will struggle mightily if asked to cover a tight end.

However, he is a downhill type of guy who's not afraid to stick his nose into the pile and hit somebody -- something Westbrook could also attest to. He's a very vocal leader who does a good job of getting everyone set and can really instill an attitude that this defense could use.

Personally, I think his absence from the defense last year was a big reason for their decline. It's similar to the way Eagles fans were calling for Jamaal Jackson to get cut, but once he's gone you immediately see the impact he had because everything starts falling apart.

He spent two years under Steve Spagnuolo, so he understands how Sean McDermott runs his defense. Spags and McDermott both learned everything they know under Jim Johnson and run basically the same defense with their own wrinkles, so the learning curve would be very minimal.

The Eagles need linebacker help, and they need a guy who can be that vocal leader. Pierce could fill both needs for a year or two before being replaced through the draft. I'm not sure that this is a move the Eagles will make, but it warrants consideration.

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