Now the Eagles can start thinking about getting back to the Super Bowl.
After a wild, roller-coaster first week of free agency, the 2023 Eagles can start to make concrete plans. While the roster is far from set, its foundation has been locked down.
Eagles Executive Vice President Howie Roseman has the ball in his court.
No Super Bowl team can bring back everybody and the Eagles suffered some painful losses. Defensive lineman Javon Hargrave, running back Miles Sanders and offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo won’t be back. Six defensive starters and two on the offensive side won’t get a chance to wear the Eagles’ new alternate Kelly green uniforms next fall.
That’s where Roseman comes in. No other GM in the league is better at leveraging draft picks and navigating the secondary free agent market for bargains that facilitate winning. After the frenzy of the first week of free agency, Roseman can target exactly what the Eagles need for opening day.
Here’s what they don’t need.
A center. Jason Kelce put off his retirement another season after putting together the best season of his career. It cost a pretty penny but it should. Kelce is still the best center in the league.
Cornerbacks. For a minute, it looked like both James Bradberry and Darius Slay would play elsewhere. Even as Slay put himself in a position to be released by the Eagles, Roseman somehow found the money to bring Bradberry back. Seeing his running mate back in the fold, Slay came to terms on an extension that will help clear room for future signings.
Defensive leadership. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox aren’t quite the players they once were. Still, it would be hard to see them playing anywhere else. Both players took team-friendly deals to keep their lockers in South Philly. Their leadership skills alone make the cost well worth it.
A backup for Hurts. Gardner Minshew found a new home in Indianapolis. Less than half a day later, Roseman landed Chip Kelly’s white whale. Former Oregon quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota was at the top of Kelly’s wish list coming out of college and Kelly very nearly traded away the house to land him. Now, Mariota is finally an Eagle.
Would Kelly still be here if the Eagles had drafted Mariota? We will never know.
We do know that the Eagles have been to two Super Bowls and the playoffs five times since Kelly was shown the door. We also know that Roseman has been right in the middle of everything.
The Eagles still have plenty of needs. Safety, linebacker, added depth on offense.
Mariota, running back Rashaad Penny and cornerback Greedy Williams have come into the fold. Young players like Reed Blankenship, Nakobe Dean, Jordan Davis and Cam Jurgens will have their chance to make their mark on the 2023 Eagles.
Then there is the draft. The Eagles have the 10th and 30th picks in the first round.
The clean-up round of free agency is coming, too. Across the league, teams will have to decide which players just don’t fit into the salary cap. There are still players out there who didn’t get signed in the first round of free agency.
Remember Chris Long? How about James Bradberry? Both players helped get the Eagles to Super Bowls. Both players came to Philly late in the process.
If the Eagles have proved nothing else, they’ve proved that they will always look for the best fit. And Roseman is a tailor.