Eagles Wake-Up Call: Howie Roseman’s Plan
Since returning to his throne earlier this year, Howie Roseman has reshaped the Eagles in his vision. His desire to build around a core group of players has been well documented, and he clearly believes the team’s current path is the one that will lead them to the organization’s first Lombardi Trophy.
But the Eagles spending a lot of money in the offseason isn’t an entirely new concept. Five years after “The Dream Team” fiasco, fans still shudder at the mere mention of Vince Young’s words. More recently, the Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray deals serve as cautionary tales. According to Roseman, however, there’s a key difference in the Eagles’ approach, even if they have doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money.
“When you look at it in terms of some of the mistakes we’ve made, it’s been going out and spending a lot of money. But a lot of those mistakes were on guys that weren’t our own, guys that we brought from other organizations we thought we knew,” Roseman told 94WIP’s Mike and Ike Show yesterday. “Here, we went and looked at our plan and our roster over the next couple of years and said, ‘We’re never letting Fletcher Cox leave the building. We’re never letting Lane [Johnson] leave the building. We’re never letting Zach [Ertz leave].’
“If we do it now [and] we do it a little early, maybe we can save some on those guys — obviously, it’s going to be expensive — and then add to the team. Keep as many guys around as possible. Have this core and then build off that core.”
Although the Eagles added a couple of noteworthy free agents in Rodney McLeod and Brandon Brooks, more than two-thirds of the guaranteed money the team has given out this calendar year is to players who were already on the roster. In total, the Eagles’ $280 million in guarantees is twice as much as the next closest team (the Giants).
Roseman also touched on the Eagles’ approach to this upcoming season and how they’re trying to maintain the balancing act of winning in the short term while building for the longterm.
“This is Philadelphia, we want to compete,” he said. “That’s what we want to do each and every year, and we want to give ourselves an opportunity to do that. At the same time, we want to build the right way. We don’t want to force guys to be put into positions that maybe they’re not ready for. By getting experience [and] by being in the system, they’re just going to get better and better.
“And allowing those veteran players who are still here to take some leadership roles and to go out and play, it gives those guys a chance to grow. It’s not as much pressure on them right away, [compared to] maybe if you did it differently.”
The radio hosts questioned Roseman about a story that briefly shifted the Eagles back into the national spotlight in the last few days as well. PhillyVoice‘s Jimmy Kempski recently wrote how he feels there’s a “very good chance” Carson Wentz won’t be on the 46-man active roster on game day, which prompted pundits from PFT’s Mike Florio to the MMQB’s Peter King to weigh.
“I can tell you honestly, looking you guys both in the eye, we have not had one conversation about who’s going to be active on our 46-man roster at all,” Roseman said. “I think he was just taking our depth chart, looking where we were [and] figuring out what’s going to be, but we haven’t had that conversation at all about who’s going to be active on game day.”
He later added: “It takes away the whole part of training camp, which is about competition. You got to get into training camp, you get an opportunity to evaluate these guys each day, see them in our system. Pads come on for the first time, so anything we talk about now is premature.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Which undrafted free agents have the best chance to make the 53-man roster?
“His strengths match my strengths: he can get the ball downfield and I can get downfield.” Chris Givens on why he chose to sign with Sam Bradford and the Eagles.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
A way-too-early prediction on the 53-man roster has some changes on the lines of both sides of the ball, writes Dave Zangaro of CSN Philly.
OL (10): Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Dennis Kelly, Stefen Wisniewski, Isaac Seumalo, Matt Tobin, Big V
The only spot changed here from the last projection is that Tobin is now in for Andrew Gardner. This is just a change made after watching the way the team practiced this spring. I liked Gardner early last season, but he seems to be behind Tobin in order. I still think both draft picks make the team.
DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Mike Martin, Destiny Vaeao
Big changes from the last two spots. In the previous projection, I had Beau Allen and Aziz Shittu making the team. Last time, I left off Martin because I wasn’t convinced, but the team thought enough of him to put him in Cox’s spot while he was away. Martin doesn’t just seem like a lock to make the roster, he seems like the first guy off the bench at DT. And Shittu, the undrafted DT from Stanford, has a shot but missed the spring because of the NCAA graduation rule. During that time, Vaeao impressed the coaching staff. Allen and Taylor Hart just don’t seem like scheme fits.
Will the Eagles be the next team in the city to win a championship? David Murphy of the Daily News gives his opinion.
THE CASE FOR: The Eagles clearly have an inside source on the NFL’s competition committee, which is the only way to explain their determination to build a roster that affords them the luxury of having three players capable of throwing forward passes on the field at the same time. Compare that to a team like the Jets that, with Geno Smith and Christian Hackenberg in the fold, has none. A quick look around the league shows that the Eagles will be in a unique position to capitalize whenever the expected rule changes go through.
THE CASE AGAINST: The Eagles’ decision to trade next year’s first-round pick along with a second and a third to move up to No. 2 in this year’s draft was debatable even before they used the selection on Carson Wentz. Then, head coach Doug Pederson revealed that Wentz has a rare condition that causes him to “bleed winning” instead of the more common mixture of plasma, platelets and red and white blood cells. Until Wentz shows us that winning is capable of transporting oxygen and nutrients to the lungs, the jury is very much out.
THE VERDICT: There are compelling arguments all around. Ron Hextall has done an admirable job early on and seems committed to building an organization capable of sustaining success. If Maikel Franco and Aaron Nola turn it around and Nick Williams, J.P. Crawford and Jake Thompson fulfill their potential, the Phillies will have a talented, cost-controlled core for at least the next five seasons, during which time they can start spending all of that money they are raking in from their new television deal. The Eagles will go as far as Wentz can take them, and he has the tools to carry them extremely far. If he can harness those tools with the quick decision-making and split-second execution that the speed of the NFL requires, they will be a perennial contender. In the end, though, this is a discussion about probabilities, which means we can’t just look at upside. Futures markets prize certainty — just ask the Brits — and the Sixers currently have fewer “Ifs” than the other three teams in town, if only because of their roster size. And if LeBron retires early.
The latest Eagles news and analysis from the national media.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.