It's a good thing that so many other NFL news items (like the Tim Tebow trade and the Bountygate suspensions) have taken the glare of the spotlight off the still-fresh acquisition of ILB DeMeco Ryans by the Eagles...
DeMeco Ryans was the Houston Texans’ defensive captain and, as teammate J.J. Watt said on the NFL Network Tuesday night, “far and away the most respected guy on our defense, our leader.”
Ryans was also a terrible fit in the 3-4 defense that Wade Phillips implemented last season — the Houston Chronicle‘s John McClain, who first reported Ryans’ trade to Philadelphia for a fourth-round draft pick and swap of third-rounders, pointed out that Ryans’ role was “diminished” and he was “removed every time the Texans went to their nickel defense,” a frequent occurrence in a pass-happy season.
With a $5.9 million base salary this season, Ryans’ expense outweighed his intangible qualities. But for the Eagles, he’s well worth the money.
Philadelphia badly needed a reliable tackler to anchor its 4-3 defense. The importance of having a steady hand at middle linebacker cannot be understated, especially for the Eagles, who famously used the “wide-nine” technique up front, meaning more and more offenses ran between the tackles against them.
The Eagles are betting that Ryans continues to be a leader in Philadelphia, and that he regains his pre-2010 form.
Ryans tore his Achilles six games into the 2010 season, and that recovery did not help his ’11 transition into a new defense. Before his injury, though, Ryans was one of the best young linebackers in football. He averaged 129.5 tackles over his first four seasons, including a 155-tackle effort in 2006 that earned him the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
If Philadelphia is getting that DeMeco Ryans, this trade could go down as one of the franchise’s best.
While the Texans will still count Ryans’ prorated signing bonus from 2010 on their salary cap this year, they’ll clear what would have been about a $9 million cap hit next season. That’s key, because the Texans have a number of young players they’d like to get re-signed to long-term deals, like Brian Cushing and Duane Brown. But in the immediate future, this trade will serve as a test for the Texans. Remember, it comes on the heels of Houston cutting offensive tackle Eric Winston (who had started all 80 games over the past five seasons) and losing Mario Williams via free agency to Buffalo.
Even if the Texans can find a better fit than Ryans (Darryl Sharpton is a candidate), replace Winston and pick up on the defensive success they had last year with Williams out of the lineup, they might struggle to get over the mental and emotional hurdles all these subtractions will cause.
Houston’s loss, though, is Philadelphia’s gain, in the case of Ryans.
On top of adding a veteran voice to the Eagles’ locker room, a healthy Ryans could be the missing piece for a defense that was a disappointment in 2011. Philadelphia has been quiet thus far in free agency, but Tuesday’s trade brought in more value at linebacker than any signing could have.
This deal made sense for both sides, even if the Texans’ players and fans are struggling to see that right now. And it is, without question, a major upgrade for the Eagles … not to mention Ryans, who should find himself right at home back in a 4-3 defense.
A day after being traded to Philadelphia in a surprising deal with Houston, new Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans on Wednesday met the media, toured his new team's complex, addressed his new city, and then attended the 76ers game. Think he likes his new town?
"I feel the passion here from the fans and the love in here from the city. I'm just excited to get started," he said. "We have a great team here with great teammates and I'm looking to come in here, do my part, and be myself." Ryans, a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Texans, was not shy about what he hopes to do with the Eagles, and made that known in a hurry.
"I'm going to take this city," he said, "where we want to go." That would be -- Eagles fans hope -- to the Super Bowl for the first time since after the 2004 season. Before any run at a title, though, Ryan did admit -- like many others -- he was a bit taken aback by the deal ... as well as the timing. The 27-year-old linebacker and team captain, after all, left Houston as the Texans' all-time leader with 637 tackles. He also contributed eight sacks, six forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and two interceptions in his six-year career. He earned Pro Bowl honors following the 2007 and 2009 campaigns and was an Associated Press All-Pro selection in 2007.
"It was a little surprising when I first heard of the move, but at the same time, it was good because I knew I was coming to a good team," he said. "I was excited about that because I know how good this team was in previous years and last year. I've gone down the road there and I knew I was coming to a good team. It was a perfect fit for me."
The Eagles had problems at linebacker last season, and that weakness was evident in a 4-8 start. Philadelphia rallied with four consecutive wins to finish 8-8, but missed the playoffs a year after winning the NFC East.
"We were able to bring DeMeco into a good situation with his playing style," Eagles coach Andy Reid said, "and obviously he will be a great asset to the defense. He'll be playing middle linebacker for us."
Ryans -- who received a standing ovation at the Knicks-Sixers game during the second quarter at the Wells Fargo Center last night -- was a second-round draft pick by the Texans in 2006, the same year the team took Mario Williams with the top overall pick. Ryans made the bigger initial impact of the two stars, making 156 tackles to earn the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year honor.
He was also durable, starting all 16 games in his first four seasons. He tore his left Achilles tendon in the sixth game of 2010 and the season collapsed, with the Texans dropping eight of their final 10 games.
"I can sense that everyone has been looking for that middle linebacker, and I'm happy to be the guy that they chose to step in and be the middle linebacker of this defense," he said. "Like I said, it's a perfect fit for me, and it's what I like to do. I'm just eager to get started."
He's not alone. "You're talking about a really physical, instinctive linebacker. He's in control," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "We always watch the middle linebacker in the biggest games toward the end of the season. We had the opportunity to watch him in a 4-3 defense a few years back, and saw him play against the NFC East. We felt very confident and comfortable making this trade."
The Texans ranked second in total defense last season (285.7 yards allowed per game), finished 10-6 and earned their first division title and playoff berth.
"It was great," Ryans said of the postseason. "Houston was a place where we were building toward a playoff run. It took us a while to get there, but once we had the core guys in place, we did what winning teams do. We practiced the way winning teams practice, and we went out about our ways the way winning teams do. You saw that come to light with us making the playoffs, and us making a run on it."
Unless the the Texans know something the Eagles don't know regarding his health (I'm sure he passed a physical), this is one of the more one-sided trades in the NFL in quite some time. Even at 3/4 speed, Ryans is far better than any LB the Eagles have on their roster. The Texans may be one of those teams that falls off the cliff after making their first playoff run last season...if so, they'll look back at this trade to the Eagles and lament it.
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Here are some late afternoon/early evening updates on NFL signings:
---Bears sign RB Michael Bush to a 4-year, $14 million contract....
---Jets finalize trade for Tim Tebow and a 7th from Denver in exchange for a 4th and a 6th round pick...
---Arizona re-signs OT/G D'Anthony Baptiste, terms undisclosed...
---Carolina signs G/C Mike Pollak (Colts), terms undisclosed...
---Detroit re-signs TE Will Heller, 1-year contract, further terms undisclosed...
---Detroit signs DE Everette Brown (Panthers) to a one-year deal...
---Chiefs signed ILB Jovan Belcher to a 1-year contract at $2 million...
---Patriots re-sign WR Deion Branch on a one-year deal, terms undisclosed...
---Tampa Bay released DE Tim Crowder...
---Tampa Bay released DE Nick Reed...
---Denver signed WR Andre Caldwell (Bengals) to a 2-year contract, terms undisclosed...
Man...our M.A.S.H. unit down der in Clearwater looks like are coming north with half of da Phitens in sick bay...sheez.....
Welp this certainly was a good signing based on what Ryan has done in the past and even last year. That being said, it is always an adjustment acclamanting a player with a new team. Ryan's personaility and leadership credentials will certainly bode well for him in that aspect, as well as for the team. He has a great attitude and I for one believe he will be a "Dawkins" kind of influence on the defense. That being said there are NO guarantees in this man's NFL. But the odds are in our favor that Howie and the Boyz pulled off a whopper with this move.....
Eh... Screw it... I'm tiiiired. Lupes you tease!!!! Dutch I leave it to you to defend our turff and nab that 1st before the euros do! I have faith in ya.. Unless you fail, in which case you suk!!! lol
Sorry, I was signing off as you were also. Let the euros have it. They deserve something as a consolation for living so far away.
@Tom Jackson A 24hour gym...or are you on some far of secluded resort where the sun is on far eastern time...cause it's like 1AM here...:-)
@Tom Jackson Lupes... Iffin youse is up this late get your arse back to the word processor and hang me a slide already... Back o back at he dump and here would be sweeeet
@atvcar Looks like I will have to let you alone in the cage to await the pitch. It's time for this east coaster to sign off. Had enough fun with the lemmings for one night. Good Luck, oh KOH.
Dutchy.... We're gonna get a talkin to by Palm for having too much fun at the expense of the dump inhabitants again lol
Why it always got to fall on us to point out the obvious to those lemmings at the dump? Including the head lemming, Mr Wooden Indian hisself. Watta dope !!!!!!
Night Spiff..................I prefer to stay straight.
Yeah,...SouffFilly,...who's my boy,...was giving Sunnyo exactly what Sunnyo wanted. His fix.
See,..///Broz is cornfused. Seems to me, that iffens you couldn't stand Sunnyo, that you wouldn't give him what he wants.....a reaction.
You give him a reaction,...like SouffFilly did,...then you gave him exactly what he wanted. Now, WHY he wants to get a rise out of people, I do not know. Prolly tried to fit in years ago, and didn't, and then decided if he couldn't join 'em, he'd harrass him. Truff be told, if everyone ignored him, or was cordial to him, he'd prolly stop coming here.
Now Broz on the other hand, isn't fazed by him. During slow times of the year, (like during the regular season and playoffs), I like messing wiff him.
But during the important parts of the year, like FA and the draff,....I tend to ignore his fairly predictable attempts to get under peoples skins,....because I have better things to do. But I really don't care whether he stays, or goes !
But for those that really want him gone,...I can't figure out why they give him the very thing that keeps him coming back ! Kinda funny ! (Ha Ha funny, dat is)
More important things to do? You mean like confirming who we totally don't have a shot at trading for, but who the lemmings at OTI will believe we do?
just read you schooling Mr Wood over there. ATV - you have passion, patience and energy.
Kind of looks like all are giving it to him. Pretty soon he's going to have to post at Philly.Com, or maybe he does.
Other than you guys the rest are pretty boring (in my opinion), no real victory in schooling them.
JoeMas seems like he has some brain cells that function properly
@Brozer8 Same can be said of Howard stern.... The reason his ratings were ever so high (relax jerked) is that the people who hated him most listened the most often... And by an extension fed into his ratings and made him who he is
@atvcar Yeah, kinda like Sunnyo.........he messed with the bull............and got the "french horn" !!!!!
I guess though ATV's Avi no longer has a shot.............he picked on the wrong Bull.
rumor has it - dwarfs are very well endowed. Parts of them get there well before the rest of them.
@Palm Feathers You only like her cause she put out for dwarfs..........the only difference between one of them and a smurf is the blue color.........so you have a good shot.
@Brozer8 No 7's the key number here. Think about it. 7-Elevens. 7 dwarves. 7, man, that's the number. 7 chipmunks twirlin' on a branch, eatin' lots of sunflowers on my uncle's ranch. You know that old children's tale from the sea. It's like you're dreamin' about Gorgonzola cheese when it's clearly Brie time, baby. Step into my office. Cause your fuckin fired!
OK - if anyone's still here - one last Smurfy question.
If everyone on the Saints (coach- GM) is suspended who is left to bargain with and sign Brees?