"If you remember, hiring Andy Reid was considered a huge risk because he didn't have head coaching or coordinating experience," Banner says. "We always look at ourselves as risk takers. We're selective and well-researched, but risk takers. For us, this [free agency] is a progression of that. The multitude of signings is a reflection of the opportunity that this dynamic has created."
Reid called Banner "a genius of the cap" and lauded him and general manager Howie Roseman for positioning the Eagles to capitalize on the post-lockout free agency. The organization decided it would not be the franchise reading about other teams' moves on the internet. They would be the pacesetters.
"Last year when we traded Donovan and drafted a lot of players, it may not have been the right moment to go and sign these players," Roseman says. "The free agent rules weren't like they are now. The chips just fell right. I don't know if that will ever happen in the NFL again. At some point, I'd like to be able to look back and go over the week and how it went down and be really proud of how we all worked together."
While some have viewed the Eagles' talent grab as taking a page from the Miami Heat, Roseman points to the template provided by the Green Bay Packers. The Packers won a Super Bowl last season despite placing 17 players on injured reserve.
"We didn't want to be at a point where one injury ruins our chance," Roseman says.
The Eagles realized the new deal only counted the top 51 players salaries in figuring the 2011 Salary cap. Hence 39 players were free to try out for basically camp dollars.
Will it work? Hell, has anyone ever tried it before :)