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The “Magic Man” Middle Linebacker in Free Agency…just a Philly pipe-dream…

No more excessive dreaming of finding the “Magic MIKE” in Free Agency… I’m done with the Dish!

Bill Bergey is a figment of your imagination, Eagles Phans… he does not exist, never existed, and cannot be found in this year’s Free Agent crop…

Hey, we did all right with the re-signing of left guard Evan Mathis. Maybe we should count our blessings and stop wishing from there…

Mathis’ deal is worth at least $25 million with $7 million guaranteed. Mathis can earn up to $31.25 million if he reaches certain incentives.

“To all the Eagles fans who offered me various food and incentives to return… I’ve come to collect,” Mathis said Saturday via Twitter. “I forgot to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day so I signed with the Eagles to make up for it.”

Mathis became the fourth player to sign a new contract or extension in the last four days, following tackle Todd Herremans, defensive end Trent Cole, defensive tackle Antonio Dixon and wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

Mathis, 30, was considered almost an afterthought when he signed a one-year deal with the Eagles last August. He had started just 22 games in six previous seasons for Carolina (2005-07), Miami (2008) and Cincinnati (2008-10). He won the starting job at left guard during the preseason, however, and blossomed under new offensive line coach Howard Mudd.

The 6-foot-5, 302-pounder started 15 of 16 games last season – he missed one game with turf toe – and played a key role in helping Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy rush for 1,309 yards and a franchise-record 17 touchdowns.

But his re-signing now turns the spotlight back upon the “veteran linebacker” quest that is so prevalent in fans’ minds… but maybe not that big a deal to the Eagles Front Office.

To many fans, the need for a veteran linebacker by the Eagles is so glaringly obvious, it’s hard to have any patience waiting for the team to sign one. Yes, we’ve only been in free agency for under a week, but in some respects it seems like an eternity. But the quiet on the linebacker front may prove to work in Philadelphia’s favor.

You see, it turns out the Eagles DID make an offer (one-year deal) for Carolina’s “5th Beatle”, Dan Connor… but it was rejected by Connor and he went on to sign with the Dallas Cowboys for a longer term.

But the good news for Eagles fans is….Dan Connor’s lowball offer from the Eagles has lessened the prices of other free agent LB’s… it set the price differentials, if you will… so that suddenly all the big-name LB’s still out there are in play again.

After the first big moves in free agency by other teams in the opening hours and days of free agency, highly touted free agents like Stephen Tulloch and Curtis Lofton  have found that the level of interest from the market is not what they anticipated.

This could work very well in Philadelphia’s favor, as early indications of the price tag being sought by Tulloch in particular is simply too high to garner any interest. Per Anwar Richardson of MLive,

Tulloch is seeking a long-term deal worth more than Cleveland’s D’Qwell Jackson’s five-year deal, which is worth $42.5 million ($19 million in guarantees and bonuses). He is seeking a contract that will pay no less than $6 million a year, with no less than 40 percent of his deal guaranteed.

The NFL is a business, and this is demonstrated so well during free agency. Demand for linebackers is lower than expected, which means that asking prices from free agent LBs will  lessen if they want to find teams for next season. So maybe, just maybe, the demand from teams and the asking price from players will come together at a point that is reasonable for each. And it is at that point that the Eagles will swoop in (pun intended).

Philadelphia is doing the right thing by staying quiet and waiting for the market to settle a bit before making any big [linebacker signing] moves.