NFL Free Agency officially kicks off in less than 48 hours and with it comes a plethora of possibilities. There will be a ton of cuts, trades, and signings as teams try to load up their arsenals for what is shaping up to be a highly competitive 2018 season. The Super Bowl Champion Eagles aren’t expected to be big spenders, however, as they are extremely cash-strapped at the moment. Fortunately for the reigning champs, they don’t have many holes to fill on the roster. In fact, if Howie Roseman and Co. stick to my guide, the Eagles should be in tremendous shape heading into next season- without breaking the bank:
1. Think with your head, not your heart
The first step of the guide is an absolute must in order for the rest of the steps to be completed, especially this season. The 2017 Eagles brought the first ever Super Bowl title to Philly, and as a result each player is somewhat immortalized in the City of Brotherly Love. This newfound, untouchable aura surrounding the players makes it all the more difficult to move on from those that have played their way into a big payday. Roseman has even publicly expressed the difficulty in avoiding sentimentality when making roster decisions- which is a lot easier said than done- but it is simply something the Eagles brass must do in order to have a successful offseason.
The Eagles have fourteen players set to be free agents- including fan favorites Trey Burton, Nigel Bradham, and Beau Allen- and the odds of bringing them all back are highly unlikely. Yes, the 2017 Eagles are eternally loved by Philly faithfuls. Yes, the Eagles would have a good shot at repeating if they brought the entire crew back for another go round, but there is more than one way to skin a cat. Roseman has to stick to his guns and not allow his emotions to dictate financial decisions. The best course of action is for the Birds to allow their free agents to see what their markets are like, and only bring back those who overestimated it a bit and are still within the Eagles financial range. More likely than not though, the Eagles will just have to settle for compensation picks as some of their players move on to greener pastures.
2. Continue to make value signings
Last offseason, Roseman put on an absolute clinic on how to execute low-risk, high-reward deals. The studious GM added veterans Chris Long, Patrick Robinson, and LeGarrette Blount on cheap, one-year contracts. The deals allowed the veterans to rebuild their value and cash in free agency the following year, whilst giving the Eagles three incredibly talented players that would go on to become some of the main contributors in the Eagles Super Bowl journey.
I’d expect Roseman to take that same calculated approach this offseason, as he attempts to stock talent despite the team’s current cap situation. I wrote an article about five low-cost free agents that the Eagles should pursue and wouldn’t be surprised if the team winds up with a few of them.
The first steps have already been taken. Michael Bennett, Daryl Worley and now Haloti Ngata all fit the genetic makeup of this team and front office mindset.
3. Explore the trade market
Roseman has pretty much mastered this step, as he has made the most trades of any active GM since 2011, but it’s important to emphasize this point. Once teams begin signing various free agents, players will be pushed down the depth charts and may even become expendable. The Eagles should continue to do their due diligence around the league, just in case they can scoop someone’s unwanted goods for cheap and turn it into a value.
Another reason the Eagles should explore the trade market is their lack of Day 2 picks in the upcoming draft. Roseman has been adamant that he expects the team to be active in rounds 2 and 3, and the Eagles currently have quite a few attractive trade chips they could flip for a pick in that range. I won’t say who the Eagles should trade, but I’ll definitely go ahead and type that the team should absolutely move Nick Foles for the right price ( ̄\_(ツ)_/ ̄). The market has never been stronger for the Super Bowl MVP, and the Eagles would be much better served getting something in return for him now, as opposed to letting him walk freely next offseason.
If the Eagles front office can keep a cool head and execute this three step process efficiently, I think they’ll be sitting pretty come draft day. With only a few holes to fill on the roster and very little financial wiggle room, the Eagles don’t have to make any splashy free agent signings to improve their roster like they used to, and should be able to “win the offseason” without emptying the vault.
Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports