Friday, March 20, 2009

Weaver Signs with Philly

by: Michael Steffes

It appeared earlier in the week that Philly had given up on signing Leonard Weaver, but today they came to an agreement on a 1 year deal. For those of you who wanted Weaver back, this will seem a lot like the DJ Hackett situation last year. Clearly the Hawks could have offered up enough money to keep Weaver, but it just didn't fit with what they wanted to do. In fact, the Hawks probably view this in a positive light. There are several things that benefit the Hawks.

First off, the Hawks are accumulating the possibility of several late round compensatory picks again next year. They have had a league high seven UFA's leave the team, according to Mike Sando. They have only signed two that will count in the formula. They will now likely add Justin Griffith, who was released and wont count against the Hawks in this area.

Second, with the Eagles signing Weaver, it is possible they will no longer be as focused on taking one of the top running backs in the draft this year. Weaver choosing the Eagles on a 1 yr deal, despite more money being available elsewhere, is probably partly due to his ability to get carries and touches in that offense. The Eagles may see Weaver as a more durable back to complement Brian Westbrook.

The Hawks can now add a fullback who knows the offense, isn't looking to be an offensive force, and may get something in return. All and all, Weaver leaving likely doesn't effect the Hawks offensive plans much. It is unfortunate that he left, as he represents one of Ruskell's best free agent rookie finds. In the end though, Weaver viewed himself differently than the Hawks viewed him and that is why he is gone. Hopefully, the Hawks pick up some ancillary benefits from it. END