Philadelphia Eagles: Is Howie Roseman trying to skip the rebuild phase?

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Heading into this year’s NFL offseason, the general consensus around the league was that the Philadelphia Eagles needed to enter a “rebuilding phase.” The team was coming off a disastrous 2020 campaign, and had just parted ways with the likes of Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson, and Jim Schwartz — three individuals who played a crucial role in winning the organization’s first ever Super Bowl back in 2017.

Outside of the messy end to the Wentz/Pederson/Schwartz era, the Eagles roster had also regressed to a point of serious concern. The entire offensive line was unable to stay healthy in 2020 (primarily due to age-related reasons), and a lot of the veterans were no longer able to be deemed as serviceable. Receivers like Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, for example, did more harm than good this past season.

While some of the initial moves that Roseman made in the offseason pointed towards a complete rebuild beginning to take place (trading back from #6 overall to acquire future assets, for example), the team’s long-tenured general manager appeared to change up his strategy by the time the draft actually rolled around. Roseman traded up in the first round to select WR DeVonta Smith, signed veterans like Anthony Harris, Eric Wilson, and Ryan Kerrigan to one-year deals, and opted against trading away tight end Zach Ertz.

Most recently, the Philadelphia Eagles handed out a one-year deal to the likes of Steven Nelson — arguably the best free agent still available at this point of the offseason.

Have Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles attempted to skip the rebuilding phase?

The Eagles are in a bit of a strange spot following the atrocity that was 2020, and I agree with Jason in the sense that they had an “odd” offseason compared to the direction that everyone expected them to go. They’re clearly not trying to tank for the #1 overall pick, but they’re also not trying to win a Super Bowl this year. If Howie Roseman did in fact have his eyes set on a deep playoff run, then he likely wouldn’t be sitting on so much future draft capital. Roseman is known as a GM who likes to be fairly aggressive when he feels a contention window has arrived.

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At least from the outside looking in, what it appears happened here is that the Eagles were planning on 2021 being a rebuilding phase, but then talked themselves into the NFC East being a winnable division. The division was very bad last year, and it’s not like either of the Giants, Cowboys, or Football Team made significant upgrades this past offseason.

With the ever pressing shadow of owner Jeffrey Lurie looming over the head of Roseman and the rest of the Eagles organization, the team clearly bought into the idea that they could steal a division banner this season. Adding veterans on one-year deals is a fairly low risk way to attack said idea.

Can the Eagles contend for a division title this year? Maybe. A lot of it depends on the ability of Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts, and if the offensive line can stay intact for a full 17-game season. If Hurts ends up not being “the guy,” you could very easily see a lot of these recently acquired veterans being shopped at the midseason trade deadline.

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