In 2010, the Philadelphia Eagles had established a very talented group of core players. However, they weren't quite good enough to take the step to "elite" status. They went out in the wild card game after posting a solid 10-win season, but it felt like they had reached their limit. With their quarterback nearing the end of his career, their window appeared to be closing.
In a desperate attempt to take the team to the next level, they went on an insane free agent spending spree. They loaded up the roster talent, in addition to the skilled athletes they already had. Things looked highly promising. It looked like a roster that could finally deliver a Super Bowl to a city that desperately desired one. Many analysts proclaimed the team the “winner” of the off season (a title that is almost always bad, ironically) and they insanely became favorites to make a deep playoff run.
The hype was completely off the rails and it resulted in the roster being labeled a "dream team" by Vince Young, despite the fact that they had never played a game together. This took place just five years ago, but it feels like a lifetime. In this article, we'll take a look at what has happened to their core players as well as their prized acquisitions and why the team quickly became a laughing stock.
15 Evan Mathis
It is somewhat ironic that Philadelphia's best acquisition of the 2011 offseason was an afterthought at the time. Mathis was a journeyman guard who had been a borderline starter throughout his career. However, when he came to Philadelphia, he flourished. His insane athleticism gave him a major edge on his competition and he would routinely dominate the NFL’s best defenders. His specialty was his ability to get to the second level and lay blocks on linebackers and defensive backs, allowing for significant gains in the rushing game.
He was re-signed by Philadelphia in the following off season; a signing that made many eagles' fans insanely excited. It was not the typical reaction most fans have to seeing a guard sign. But it was easy to understand the enthusiasm for Evan Mathis. Unfortunately, his tenure with the team came to an end just a couple years later when he was released following Chip Kelly's demand for control.
Since then he has been bouncing around the league again, while still being very productive. He won his first Super Bowl in Denver last season. Now, he is a member of the Arizona Cardinals and has a chance to see it happen again, this time on the sidelines as he's dealing with a serious ankle injury.
14 Asante Samuel
Philadelphia had serious issues in the secondary prior to the 2011 offseason, but Asante Samuel was not the problem. He had spent several productive years with the Patriots to open his career, but left in free agency following their major upset loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
His acquisition was one of the most notable signings off the 2008 offseason and it paid off in spades for the Eagles at first. But, by the time 2011 rolled around, Samuel was nearing the end of his career. As a result, the team took major steps to fill both corner spots, seemingly under the impression that Samuel would not hold up much longer.
There were many who thought the talented corner would be dealt before the season. However, Philadelphia decided to roll with a stacked defensive backfield instead. Unfortunately, as many know, that didn't work out nearly as well as hoped. Samuel in particularly struggled greatly. Some speculated that it was a scheme issue, though it may have just been age. Regardless, in the 2012 offseason, Samuel was dealt to the Falcons where he closed out his career; retiring following the 2013 season.
In 2015, to fill his free time, Samuel decided to found a new brand, Eighties Nation - a record label that specializes in getting new artists everything they need to start their careers. In an interview with Forbes, he said he is simply committed to helping them follow their dream.
13 Vince Young
When Vince Young came into the NFL, he was expected to be a star. He was going to be a player like Michael Vick and revolutionize the game. As many are fully aware, that didn't exactly work out.
At the same time though, he wasn't considered terrible when they signed him. He was considered a borderline starter. When the Eagles signed him to back up Michael Vick, many were excited. Someone like that is about as good of a backup as you can expect, which is something the team desperately needed considering Vick's injury history.
As it turns out, the Eagles did need Young to start, but he was terrible. He was one of the worst Eagles quarterbacks in recent memory and the Eagles have had some bad ones. He had a quarterback rating of just 60.8 and his interception percentage was 7.9% over six games, which is absolutely abysmal (decent quarterbacks post numbers at around 2%).
This was Vince Young's last season with playing in the NFL, for good reason. After officially retiring in 2014, Young took a job at the University of Texas, the school where he won a National Championship. However, rather than coaching as most would expect, Young works for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. There, he travels around the state of Texas speaking to students, helping them prepare for college.
12 Ronnie Brown
Ronnie Brown spent six seasons in Miami and, when he wasn't hurt, he could be counted on for about 900 rushing yards a season. His numbers were solid, but not exactly what you would expect from the 2nd overall pick. Even still, he seemed to be the perfect complement to LeSean McCoy and his finesse running style when he made the move to Philly in 2011.
Surprise, surprise! Ronnie Brown was bad in Philadelphia. He will be remembered exclusively for his goal line carry where he was tackled behind the line and tried to throw the ball as he was going down. It failed miserably and he turned the ball over. In the end, he got 46 carries with the Eagles for just 136 yards in his one year with the team. He spent three more seasons in San Diego and Houston after leaving Philly, but posted similar stat lines.
Over the past couple years, since his career came to a close, Ronnie Brown has largely kept a quite profile. However, he got back into football several months ago when he accepted a job as a sideline reporter with Auburn Sports Network.
11 Trent Cole
Trent Cole was a small pass rusher for a small school who got overlooked in the 2005 draft because of it. He ended up getting selected in the fifth round by the Eagles. He was immediately productive, notching 5 sacks in his rookie year despite playing a rotational role. It was more than enough to earn him the starting job moving forward. Over the next half-decade, he routinely put up double digit sacks and was a force on Philadelphia's defensive line.
2011 was no exception. While many star players under performed, Trent Cole continued to churn out sacks and generate pressure. He brought down the quarterback 11 times in total, the third highest total of his career.
His time in Philadelphia came to an end following the 2014 season. There were a long list of reasons for it, salary, age, and scheme fit being the primary ones. They all have proved to be valid as his role on the dreadful Colts defense has been sharply declining since he signed with the team in 2015. He's still with them in 2016, though he's currently on IR due to a back injury, though he's eligible to return in week 12.*
10 Cullen Jenkins
Cullen Jenkins went undrafted in 2003 and didn't get a chance to prove himself in the NFL until the following season when the Packers gave him a shot. He made the most of it and was a force at defensive end in Green Bay's 3-4 defense.
He had been with the Packers for seven years when the Eagles signed him in 2011. He was coming off a career high of 7 sacks and figured to be a key piece in the middle of their defensive line. He gave the Eagles mediocrity. He failed to hit the expectations, but he certainly wasn't the worst player on defense. He at least managed to start all 32 games over his two-year tenure with the team. Though, the fact that he only lasted two years says just as much about his performance.
After leaving Philadelphia, he was picked up by the New York Giants where he continued his average play. He was let go following the team's defensive overhaul this past season and picked up by the division rival Redskins, who have used him in a very minor rotational role. He has yet to make a significant impact on the stat sheet so far in 2016.
9 Jeremy Maclin
Jeremy Maclin was the steal of the 2009 NFL Draft. Many were convinced that the Raiders would select him or Michael Crabtree at 7th overall. However, they made one of the biggest reaches in recent history and took Darrius Heyward-Bey instead. As a result, Jeremy Maclin fell to the Eagles at 19 and the team jumped at the opportunity to snag him.
In his first two years, he established himself as a solid number two receiver. In his second year (in 2010), he was coming off a nice season where he recorded just under 1,000 receiving yards and an impressive 10 touchdowns. He was expected to continue to build off those numbers and hopefully establish himself as a legit number one. Well, Maclin held even in 2011. His numbers experienced a slight drop off, but he also missed a few games. Overall, it was a disappointing year from the first-round receiver, but his performance was overshadowed by the dreadful play of many others on the team.
Maclin’s tenure came to an end when he was signed as a free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs prior to the 2015 season. Letting him walk is another item on the long list of major personnel mistakes Chip Kelly made, as he's been terrific for KC so far, though he's slowed down a little this year.
8 Jason Babin
Jason Babin was the Eagles' riskiest free agent signing in 2011. He was considered to be a first round bust by the Texans after they drafted him 27th overall. He bounced around the league for several years before landing in Tennessee, where he broke out with a career high 12.5 sacks in 2010.
After so many years of doing nothing in the NFL, teams were unsure of whether they could trust Babin to continue performing. Surprisingly, the risk actually paid off for the Eagles; at least for the first year. In 2011, he recorded an insane 18 sacks and was one of the few players on the roster to actually live up to the expectations.
Unfortunately, the next season was somewhat of a down year. He had 5.5 sacks through the first 11 games. At that point, he was suddenly released from the team after falling out of favor with the management.
He ended up getting picked up by Jacksonville where he had a solid 2013 season, but the team elected not to keep him into 2014. He has spent the past couple years trying to earn a spot on an NFL roster, but hasn't been anything more than a desperation signing for a few weeks. He signed with Arizona in January, but has since been let go.
7 Danny Watkins
It takes a lot to sell your fan base on selecting a guard in the first round. Especially one that was 25 years old and not a special talent. The Eagles figured that they had all their other holes filled and really needed a guard to solidify their offensive line.
Today, many Eagles' fans are massive proponents of the "best player available" approach to the draft and Danny Watkins is a big reason why. When you draft a player like him, he needs to be NFL ready right from the start. He needs to come in and be a star. Instead, he was absolutely terrible. He was so bad that the Eagles cut him after his second season. There's a very short list of first round picks who get cut after their second season. You have to be insanely bad to be on it or get into a ton off legal trouble. In this case, Watkins was just bad. In the end, he only stayed in the NFL for three years, as his last came with the Dolphins where he played in just 1 game.
Ultimately, his passion in life was fighting fires, something all too apparent to Eagles' fans. After leaving the NFL, he moved to Texas to pursue his dream.
6 Jason Peters
The Eagles acquired Jason Peters from Buffalo in 2009 in exchange for a first round pick (28th overall) and fourth round pick. It is one of the few cases where trading a first rounder for a player who isn't on a rookie deal paid off in spades.
Peters originally came into the league as an undrafted tight end. He then excelled with the Bills after they converted him to a tackle. In fact, he very quickly became known as one of the best in the game.
They decided to let him go following concerns over his contract negotiations. They believed they would not be able to re-sign him on a reasonable deal and instead sent him to Philadelphia. Ever since, he has been a cornerstone on the Eagles offense. His power, athleticism, and refinement have made him widely regarded as one of football's best left tackles for the bulk of his tenure in Philly.
5 Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was just 25 years old when the Eagles acquired him for Arizona in exchange for promising young quarterback - Kevin Kolb. He was considered to be one of the best young corners in the NFL and it shocked many that the team was willing to part with him.
However, in Philadelphia he failed to beat out Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha on the depth chart in his first season. While both players were considered highly talented, they certainly didn't play like it. His inability to beat them out speaks volumes about his performance in Philadelphia.
In the end, he only lasted two years with the team. Currently, he is playing with the New York Giants and has been having the success that everyone expected him to have in Philly. For one reason or another, he hasn't been getting the national attention he deserves, but he has certainly been one of the NFL's better corners since leaving the Eagles.
4 DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson will hold a special place in the heart of every Eagles' fan. In 2010, his punt return for a touchdown as time expired sealed off a 21 point comeback against the division rival Giants in the final 7 1/2 minutes.
Though Jackson was always much more than just a kick returner. He was a reliable number one target in the passing game. His insane speed forced defenses to keep their safeties back and opened up holes for the rest of the offense. He was a key player during his entire tenure with the team.
His time with the Eagles came to an end following the 2013 season when Chip Kelly decided he did not have a place on the team and cut him. The reasons for this are still unclear. Many believe it was character issues, other say it was due to the salary cap, and some feel that his style of play fit in poorly with the offense. It was very well be a combination of the three, but whatever the case, releasing him is considered one of the biggest mistakes of the Chip Kelly era.
He was signed by the Redskins where he has been highly productive when on the field, but has struggled to some degree with injuries. As a result, he hasn't been quite as productive as he was with the Eagles.
3 LeSean McCoy
LeSean McCoy was coming off a somewhat disappointing rookie season in 2009. He recorded just 637 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns despite being the team's feature back. However, he stepped up in his sophomore season, proving to be one of the league most productive running backs and a big asset in both the running and passing game.
Entering 2011, many fans were very excited for McCoy and expected him to continue to progress and improve. It was a lot to ask, but McCoy did everything anyone could have hoped for. He rushed for 1,309 yards and had an insane 17 rushing touchdowns. He added in another 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns through the air as well.
He continued to get better and better until Chip Kelly, in another mistake, shipped him off to Buffalo prior to the 2015 season. In return, the Eagles received Kiko Alonso, a young, promising linebacker coming off a season ending injury.
Alonso failed in Philadelphia and was shipped off to Miami this past offseason. On the other hand, McCoy is continuing to prove that he is still one of the league’s premier running backs in Buffalo.
2 Michael Vick
Many were surprised when the Eagles rolled the dice on Michael Vick in 2009 following his reinstatement to the league. They already had potential Hall of Fame quarterback Donovan McNabb, who advocated for them to sign him, starting for them. In addition, the Eagles made Kevin Kolb the 36th overall pick in 2007 and he was thought to be one of the more promising young quarterbacks in the NFL at the time.
But things change quickly in the NFL. Just one year later, in 2010, Vick was starting and he had a career year, as he led the team to the playoffs, where they narrowly lost to the Packers in the wild card game. He looked like an elite quarterback that year and the Eagles expected similar things from him in 2011, signing him to a monster five year, $80 million contract.
Unfortunately, his inability to read a defense caught up with him. He was still a good player, but wasn't as impressive as he was in 2010. It wasn't enough to carry the team anywhere. He continued to decline and deal with injuries in 2013 before losing his job to Nick Foles.
Since then, he has been used as a backup by the Jets and Steelers. Currently though, he is a free agent, seemingly waiting for a team desperate enough to offer him an attractive deal.
1 Nnamdi Asomugha
Nnamdi Asomugha was the prized free agent of 2011. He had been an elite corner ever since coming into the league in 2003 with the Raiders. Before he signed with the Eagles, one of the NFL's biggest debates was over who was the best corner in the league: Revis or Asomugha.
The Eagles had been a team with an absolutely terrible secondary. The addition of the NFL's best cover corner figured to change everything. But as it turns out, 30-year old cornerbacks are not the most reliable athletes. Asomugha struggled significantly. He was constantly getting burned and giving up completions. At his peak with Philadelphia, he looked like an average corner. It resulted in his release when Chip Kelly took over the team in 2013, just two years later.
He was picked up the San Francisco 49ers, but managed to play just three games with them. After being released, he was never given another shot in the NFL.
The former star corner decided to settle down and got married to actress Kerry Washington a few months before announcing his retirement in December of 2013. It appears to be going well as the couple just recently had their second child early in October. He also spends a lot of time working for his youth chartiy, the Asomugha Foundation.