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Eagles offseason is hitting the ground running

The medical community is still trying to determine when and if fans can safely attend big sporting events like the Eagles at the Linc. Photo by Andy Lewis.

The Eagles’ offseason program is well underway. Organized Team Activities, or OTAs, plus a mandatory minicamp will all be completed by the middle of June.

This is a crucial time of year for the team as it welcomes new offensive and defensive coordinators Kellen Moore and Vic Fangio. It is also a key moment in the process of folding new draft picks and free-agent signings into the Eagles roster.

A lot can go right and some things will, most assuredly, go wrong as the team prepares for training camp in July and August.

Right away, the Eagles saw a negative as free agent wide receiver DeVante Parker chose to retire barely 60 days after signing with the team.

Now, it was already far from certain that Parker would make the team as a potential third wide receiver behind AJ Brown and DaVonta Smith. Still, Parker was expected to be a strong part of the competition for that role that includes free agent Parris Campbell and draft picks Ainias Smith and Johnny Wilson.

Parker won’t cost anything against the salary cap as he signed a low-dollar, one-year veteran contract with no signing bonus and no guaranteed money. What the loss does do is limit the options the Eagles have going into the season.

OTAs have another vital function for the team.

They are the first look at how the coming season will look. It’s as important to see how former Giants running back Saquon Barkley will look lining up in the backfield with Jalen Hurts as it is to see which undrafted free agents could make the back end of the roster or practice squad.

Here are some of the most important things we should learn in the limited time the team has on the field together.

When will the draft picks be signed?

Since the collective bargaining agreement set a rookie wage scale, the Eagles have been very good about getting all their new players under contract quickly. Expect no less this season.

How will the depth chart sort out?

The Eagles had two very high-profile retirements in all-time greats Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce, plus the loss of Haason Reddick to the Jets. The team has always prioritized strength along the offensive and defensive lines but those two losses will be as big as anything the Eagles have faced in recent years.

The defensive side will be a little bit easier to sort out because there is a built-in rotation all across the defensive line. That’s not to say that everything has been sorted out — or that the Eagles’ plans that have long been in place will work out.

Offensively, the Eagles seem ready to install former guard Cam Jurgens into Kelce’s familiar spot in the middle of the line. There are several options to replace Jurgens at guard and even some emergency plans ready if Jurgens doesn’t work out. The biggest concern is disrupting the delicate balance on the line that Kelce effortlessly juggled.

What does the secondary look like?

This area could have the biggest impact on the Eagles’ success. The team drafted cornerbacks with their first two picks. The Eagles brought back CJ Gardner-Johnson and resigned Avonte Maddox. Even with Darius Slay returning, there could be five different names on the back end of Fangio’s new defense.

All these questions will begin to be answered in the coming week. We’re one step closer to the season.

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