From the looks of it, this defense, to me, is stacked with talent. And if we could get someone that can bring out the full potential from these guys, and make them produce as a unit, believe me, we could end up letting them all go to FA and bringing in later round draft picks to start like some of these teams are doing. To other people, however, they can find 3 or 4 pieces of this defense to improve. DE needs 2 additions, DT needs 4 additions, we need to get a new SLB, we need to drop Lucas and get Asomugha, etc, etc. WE could throw 80% of cap space towards the defense, and it still might not be as consistent or as good as some of the more consistent defenses out there.
Lets compare and contrast, shall we? I'll use the Eagles depth chart to compare starters with the Panthers'.
Tyler Brayton (1st rd drft pck; Raiders)
Juqua Parker (Undrafted; Titans)
Julius Peppers (2nd ovr pck)
Trent Cole (5th rd pick)
Maake Kemoeatu (undrafted; Ravens)
Mike Patterson (1st rd pck)
Damione Lewis (1st rd pck; Rams)
Brodrick Bunkley (1st rd pck)
Jon Beason (1st rd pck)
Thomas Davis (1st rd pck)
Na'il Diggs (4th rd pck; Packers)
Stewart Bradley (rd 3 pck)
Akeem Jordan (undrafted)
Chris Gocong (rd 3 pck)
Ken Lucas (2nd rd pck; Seahawks)
Chris Gamble (1st rd pck)
Chris Harris (6th rd pck; Bears)
Charles Godfrey (3rd rd pck)
Asante Samuel (4th rd pck; Pats)
Sheldon Brown (2nd rd pck)
Quintin Mikell (undrafted)
Brian Dawkins (2nd rd pck)
Carolina signs more high profile free agents, spend higher picks and more money on their defense, but they can't develop talent nearly as well as Philadelphia does, while it can be argued that Carolina invests in raw talent, it certainly didn't pay off this season when they finished 18th overall and Philly finished 3rd. Compare Beason to any Eagles LBer and he looks like a world beater. Julius Peppers gets to the QB way more often than Trent Cole. Individual comparisons would suggest that the Panthers have the more productive talent and more return in investment, but as a unit, they fail. In spite of the interceptions, the sacks, the high tackle totals, they give up a lot of yards, because it's the system they're in. Philly runs a system that works. Philly gets way more value in their players than we do, and they spend more cash on the offense, look at all the 1st day picks they've dedicated there.
In short, what I mean by "throwing good money after bad" is the fact that despite any improvements we can make in player personnel this offseason, it will be fruitless if the scheme doesn't work, and for the past 2 years at least, it definitely hasn't, and even when it did, it showed flashes of breakdowns in certain games.