After being named executive of the year, can Howie Roseman veer Eagles away from a Super Bowl hangover?

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The Super Bowl hangover. A mythical, hazy morning after the night before that seems to last an entire season for NFL teams. On the field, it’s a case of what could be classed as ‘sloppy play’ due to a series of knock-on effects that have taken place after the team has been to the grandest stage of all. Achieving success is one thing, sustaining it is something else. That’s Howie Roseman’s next challenge as Eagles GM.

 

FREE AGENCY:

The Eagles have a total of 13 players set to hit free agency once the season has concluded. Of those 13 names, four have either been starters or instrumental to the team’s success: Darren Sproles, Nigel Bradham, Trey Burton and Patrick Robinson. The last three on that list have undoubtedly played their way to a big payday, but the Eagles aren’t exactly swimming in cap space.

Their ‘prove-it’ method which has enabled the team to build through the draft has worked wonders so far, but in its second year of implementation, we’re really going to see how Roseman can work the phones. For instance, Beau Allen was set to sign. contract extension prior to tearing his pectoral muscle in the offseason when all of a sudden the negotiations died down. Allen has been a pivotal cog in the Eagles front four this season and there is no questioning that he too would like to see a healthy contract rewarding him for such play.

Below is a list of all 13 free agents, courtesy of Spotrac. I’ve highlighted the players who should be circled by the Eagles front office with an extension in mind.

Darren Sproles RB
Nigel Bradham OLB
Trey Burton TE
Corey Graham FS
LeGarrette Blount RB
Caleb Sturgis K
Dannell Ellerbe OLB
William Beatty LT
Bryan Braman OLB
Najee Goode OLB
Patrick Robinson CB
Kenjon Barner RB
Beau Allen DT

On the opposite side of free agency is the signings themselves, filling the holes in the roster inevitably opened up during the course of this process and the season before it. Roseman has been red-hot during free agency over the last two years and I’d highly doubt that to change now. But it’s the players who are eyeing extensions with a year left on their contract who are most open to a sudden change of heart.

come up with something if it doesn’t apply to the team you’re playing.”

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THE EXTENSIONS:

Brandon Graham, Ronald Darby, Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, Jay Ajayi. All of these players among the 19 entering their contract year. Graham and Darby will undeniably be drawing plenty of attention this year. Both have played outstandingly well and anytime a player makes a Super Bowl, the money-signs inevitably follow. This will be a true test of culture for the Eagles.

Teams will be chomping at the bit to get a Super Bowl quarterback, an elite defensive end or a high-upside cornerback and if the Eagles cannot afford to pay the salary that their agents desire, things could get very complicated, very quickly. The Eagles have some key names on the above list and with teams already drawing up trade scenarios to try and lure them away as the Birds’ did with Timmy Jernigan just a few months ago, Howie Roseman will be pushed to his limits. The balance of extending pending free agents and securing the futures of those the that have been so important to this team’s success will be a tough one if the players themselves envision a big extension that the team are unable to provide.

As things stand, the Eagles are estimated to have the lowest amount of cap space in the NFL heading into 2020 and beyond. Backloading contracts are no longer an option, so we’re going to more than likely see some shockwaves in the offseason.

 

THE DRAFT:

Again, this isn’t really a huge area of concern given how impressive Roseman has been in his drafting. From the success of that incredible 2012 class that the Eagles are still reaping to this day, to the most recent group including Derek Barnett and Mack Hollins, Roseman has been impressive. With Joe Douglas re-vamping the draft strategy and the way the team evaluate talent, I highly doubt the draft will be a major concern, regardless of how low the team are picking.

 

KEEPING THE CULTURE ALIVE:

Regardless of whether the Eagles win or lose, the point remains. There will inevitably be players sniped by teams and trades offered that may benefit the salary cap a little too much to turn down. The key for Roseman is to keep the core and the culture alive. The Birds have done an emphatic job of building a sustainable offensive core and it’s beginning to be replicated on defense. What they cannot allow to happen is for players who had such a key role (Nigel Bradham, Brandon Graham) feel left out in the cold due to cap limitations. The Super Bowl achievement is a remarkable one and it’s something that every player seeking an extension will have on their resume. The Eagles and all of the remaining NFL teams are aware of this, making life a little tricky for Roseman and company.

Howie Roseman has simply been sensational since his re-appointment as general manager. He’s built a roster that’s good enough to compete for the Super Bowl, despite suffering so many crucial injury setbacks. The question is, can he sustain it?

 

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Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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