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Eagles sign LB Fowler to offer sheet

The Philadelphia Eagles signed restricted free agent linebacker Ryan Fowler to an offer sheet, hours after losing wide receiver Donte' Stallworth to the New England Patriots.

The Dallas Cowboys have a week to match the four-year offer. If they don't, the Eagles do not owe compensation because Fowler entered the league as a rookie free agent. PHILADELPHIA (March 11, 2007) -- The Philadelphia Eagles signed restricted free agent linebacker Ryan Fowler to an offer sheet, hours after losing wide receiver Donte' Stallworth to the New England Patriots.

The Dallas Cowboys have a week to match the four-year offer. If they don't, the Eagles do not owe compensation because Fowler entered the league as a rookie free agent.

The addition of Fowler could force middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter or strongside linebacker Dhani Jones out of Philadelphia.

Fowler, 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, led the Cowboys with 24 special teams tackles last season and saw limited action behind middle linebacker Bradie James. He started three games at middle linebacker in 2005, and has 49 career tackles in 32 games.

The 24-year-old Fowler originally signed with the Cowboys as a rookie free agent in 2004 after a productive career at Duke, where he finished third on the school's all-time tackle list with 495 and sixth with 12 1/2 sacks.

Earlier in the day, Stallworth and the Patriots agreed on a multiyear contract. The deal was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

Stallworth caught 38 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns in 12 regular-season games in his only season with the Eagles. He also had six catches for 141 yards and two scores in two playoff games.

Stallworth's departure creates a huge void for Philadelphia. Second-year pros Hank Baskett and Jason Avant could compete for a starting spot opposite Reggie Brown, though neither possesses Stallworth's gamebreaking skills.

The Eagles signed wideout/returner Bethel Johnson last week, and free agent receiver Kevin Curtis visited the team on March 9. The NFC East champions have re-signed three of their own free agents, while also losing valuable backup quarterback Jeff Garcia (Tampa Bay), nickel cornerback Rod Hood (Arizona) and former Pro Bowl strong safety Michael Lewis (San Francisco).

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