Eagles sign free-agent running back Brown, right tackle Harris

New Eagle Ronnie Brown, a former Pro Bowler with the Miami Dolphins, is a run or pass threat in the Wildcat.
New Eagle Ronnie Brown, a former Pro Bowler with the Miami Dolphins, is a run or pass threat in the Wildcat. (BILL KOSTROUN / Associated Press)
Posted: August 03, 2011

The Eagles signed running back Ronnie Brown, right tackle Ryan Harris and former Patriots safety Jarrad Page to one-year contracts Tuesday, continuing their free-agent frenzy and addressing three of the remaining needs on the roster.

Brown, entering his seventh season after being drafted No. 2 overall in 2005, will give the team a veteran backup to play behind LeSean McCoy and another intriguing offensive weapon. A former Dolphin who made the 2008 Pro Bowl, Brown is known as a run or pass threat in the Wildcat formation and is also an able receiver. The Eagles tried several Wildcat plays last season, without much success.

Harris was considered an up-and-coming right tackle in 2008 but missed 13 games over the last two seasons with an ankle injury in 2009 and a toe injury in 2010. Still, he is 26 and talented, has started 34 games in four years, and the Broncos expected to retain him. The six-foot-five Harris will get a chance to compete for the right tackle job protecting quarterback Michael Vick's blind side. He started 10 games in Denver last season.

Last year's starter, Winston Justice, is on the physically-unable-to- perform list after knee surgery and was benched in the Eagles' playoff loss to the Packers, although his place on the team is not believed to be in danger. The other alternative at tackle is King Dunlap, who does not elicit much confidence.

Brown, 29, will make $1 million in base salary, plus incentives. Brown has caught 32 or more passes in five of his six NFL seasons.

But his running numbers dipped last year. He ran for 734 yards, his lowest total in years without significant injuries. He averaged 3.7 yards per carry last year as the Dolphins' 16-game starter.

The Eagles leaned heavily on McCoy last season, giving him 207 carries. The next most among running backs was 40 carries by Jerome Harrison, who is a free agent.

Brown tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in 2007 and missed the final seven games of 2009 with a foot injury.

Until now, the backup to McCoy was Dion Lewis, a fifth-round pick in April.

Page, 26, had 12 tackles and two interceptions last year for the Patriots. He will add depth to the safety position.


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, jtamari@phillynews.com or @JonathanTamari on Twitter.

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