Home Sports Extending Smith means the Eagles are ready for draft

Extending Smith means the Eagles are ready for draft

The Eagles are heading into the National Football League draft like they always do.

They are perfectly situated to get the most out of the eight picks they have starting on April 25.

There’s no telling what will happen once the picks start flying. There’s no guarantee that the Eagles will even wind up with the eight picks they have right now. In fact, it’s almost certain that the Eagles will trade up or trade down to get to a player or players they had their eyes on all along.

The Eagles, in the decades under owner Jeffrey Lurie, have always prioritized organizational stability in both the front office and the roster, especially as the draft approaches.

Since executive vice president Howie Roseman was elevated to the role of general manager in 2010 and before that under Joe Banner, the Eagles have attempted to clear the decks of every outstanding issue before the first pick is picked, or traded.

This season, the Eagles signaled that they were ready for the draft with the contract extension of DeVonta Smith. The Eagles’ prized wide receiver got his flowers — and a truckload of money — more than a year before his contract had expired.

Smith got his money early. He got the same average salary as wide receiver running mate A.J. Brown, which helps quash a potential sore point in the building.

Smith was signed before other big-dollar wide receivers blow up the salary structure. Justin Jefferson, La’Marr Chase and CeeDee Lamb will recalibrate the market for wide receivers, which saves money in the long term.

Smith gets a big chunk of money right away, plus long-term job security. Meanwhile, the Eagles send the message that the best young guys on the roster have a home.

Smith was just the latest example of that process.

This offseason alone, the Eagles and Roseman locked in left tackle Jordan Mailata, left guard Landon Dickerson, safety Reed Blankenship and placekicker Jake Elliott.

Each of those four players is a cornerstone of an Eagles team that should have some staying power. All four of those players have shown their worth before, in some cases long before, other teams could overpay to take them away.

Don’t forget that the Eagles also have players like Lane Johnson locked down for what should be the rest of his career. They even found a way to keep Brandon Graham, who inherits the mantle of top veteran leader left behind by the retirements of Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce.

Signing Smith to an extension signaled that the Eagles’ free agency period was over. The Eagles made a splash by adding Saquon Barkley. They filled in a hole by bringing in Bryce Huff. Various other spots in the lineup were added to as well.

The net result is that the Eagles have a stable roster they could conceivably play with before the draft.

The Eagles are free to use their picks exactly as they see fit. There is no need to make picks to fill in holes, make picks out of desperation.

This is what the Eagles do best.

The team is in perfect position to make the best draft picks they possibly can, even if they get it wrong.

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