Philadelphia Eagles: The Blueprint to a Successful Offseason


The NFL offseason will be in full swing soon and it will be an important time for the Philadelphia Eagles to improve.

With the 2016-2107 NFL season drawing to a close on Sunday evening, the majority of football fans will begin a three-week hibernation: slowly digesting sparse bits of “insider” information & listlessly perusing mock drafts while awaiting the thaw of spring. Then it will happen. The NFL universe will awaken & descend upon Midwest America for the NFL Scouting Combine: beginning a two-month period of nonstop speculation and drama that will culminate along the banks of the Schuylkill River in April’s NFL Draft.

Between these events, however, the NFL league year will open and with it, the start of free agency. Certainly, with no less drama, NFL free agency is a frantic fortnight of breaking news & talent acquisition beginning (officially) on March 9th at 4:00 pm. We love it. We crave it. But do we know how weird this is?

Seriously…the NFL is bizarre: a true anomaly among its professional counterparts. Despite being the most widely consumed season among the major four professional sports, it is the only one with a “backward” off-season. The NHL, the NBA, Major League baseball: all of these host their drafts prior to the start of free agency.

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Not the National Football League. Free agency in the NFL opens roughly six weeks before the draft on an annual basis. No doubt about it, the NFL is strange in this regard…and no one likes to get weird in the off-season like Howie Roseman & the Philadelphia Eagles.

In his time running the personnel department, Roseman has developed quite the off-season M.O. Granted, some of “his moves” could be attributed to other personnel department figureheads (i.e. Chip Kelly, Andy Reid, etc.) but, overall, these are the types of moves you can expect from the Philadelphia Eagles under a Roseman regime in the coming months:

  1. Trimming the fat: Coming up under Joe Banner & Tom Heckert, Howie learned the benefit of salary cap space. He has no problems “requesting” restructured contracts or outright cutting players to free up financial relief. See Brian Westbrook, Jamaal Jackson, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Avant, DeSean Jackson, DeMeco Ryans, Todd Herremans, Trent Cole. These were good-to-great Philadelphia Eagles.
  2. Wheel & Deal: Howie isn’t afraid to (attempt to) upgrade the roster via trades. These are largely the equivalent of trading assembled beer cans for nickels but, at least, they get the public talking. He is happy to move on from any player with cap hits too rich to cut outright. Examples? Glad you asked…off the top of the head:
  3. Plugging holes: Howie loves himself a mid-tier free agent signing. Largely, these are the free agents he has hit on. We remember “the Dream Team” year and the Asomugha-catastrophe. Eagles off-season history is littered with wasted money on big-name acquisitions. On the other hand, Howie has a recent history of hitting on mid-level guys such as Barwin & Jenkins. The additions of Brandon Brooks & Rodney McLeod, though bigger money acquisitions, cannot be overlooked.

Long story short, there is never a lag in activity in the Philadelphia Eagles front office. This is a dynamic franchise: often to its own detriment, but that’s another story. There are moves above are reviled: such as DeSean Jackson & LeSean McCoy. There are moves that are celebrated: see Sproles & Bradford (the second deal).

Next: Six Potential Free Agent Targets

There are only two facts to consider. First, the Philadelphia Eagles roster going into the draft is going to be drastically different than it is at present. Second, very few current players are “safe.” Previous “cornerstone guys” such as Jason Kelce, Connor Barwin, & Mychal Kendricks should keep their bags packed and by the door. Whether trade-bait or cap casualty, these are the types of guys that the Eagles historically move in one way or another to round out the roster heading into the draft. Howie is going to find a way to solidify the roster so that, come draft time, he is free to select the most impactful player for the franchise. This is what the NFL wants. This is the drama the NFL demands. This is the sleeping bear ready to awaken.