Eagles add CB Williams, S Phillips, LB Barwin
Revamping a secondary that posted one of the worst statistical
seasons in recent history clearly is a top priority for the
The team signed cornerback Cary Williams and safety Kenny
Phillips on Thursday, giving them four new faces in the defensive
backfield in a three-day span. The Eagles signed safety Patrick
Chung and cornerback Bradley Fletcher on the first day of free
agency on Tuesday.
They stayed on defense later Thursday, signing linebacker Connor
Barwin to a six-year deal shortly afterward.
Gone are former starting cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Asomugha was released in the wake of
two disappointing seasons in Philadelphia. Rodgers-Cromartie signed
Williams agreed to a three-year deal, and is coming off a big
season with the Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens. He started
all 16 games, posting four interceptions and 67 tackles. A
seventh-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2008, Williams joined
the Ravens in 2009 and earned a starting role in 2011. The
28-year-old Williams has started all 32 games for Baltimore since
Williams and Fletcher are the leading candidates for the two
starting spots with holdover Brandon Boykin keeping his spot as the
Phillips comes to Philadelphia after five seasons with the rival
New York Giants. A first-round selection of the Giants in 2008, the
26-year-old Phillips had four interceptions and 72 tackles in 2011,
as New York won the Super Bowl. A former Miami Hurricane, Phillips
has battled knee injuries throughout his career.
Phillips will probably compete with Nate Allen to start
In four seasons with Houston, Barwin had 109 tackles, 19 sacks
and two fumble recoveries. Barwin was a second-round pick (46th
overall) in 2009. He missed most of the 2010 season with a broken
right ankle, then moved to outside linebacker from defensive end
when Wade Phillips became the coordinator and converted the Texans
to a 3-4 defense.
Barwin flourished in the new system in 2011, leading the Texans
with 11 1/2 sacks. He set a single-game franchise record with four
in a game against Jacksonville. He had only three sacks in 16
starts last season, a dip in production partially due to the
emergence of J.J. Watt.
The Eagles gave up 25 touchdown passes and managed only one
interception in their last 10 games en route to a 4-12 finish that
cost coach Andy Reid his job.
Philadelphia allowed 444 points last season. Only New Orleans
(454) was worse in the NFC.
Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins and
defensive end Cullen Jenkins were the four top defensive
acquisitions before the 2011 ”Dream Team” season. The Eagles
finished 8-8 that year, and now all four are gone.
Sports writer Christopher Duncan in Houston contributed to this