Just two years removed from hoisting the Lombardi, the Philadelphia Eagles are caught in limbo struggling to find the spark that vaulted them to the highest platform in major sports. Although they have consistently and repeatedly cashed in on the underdog mantra and fed doubters their own words for meal after meal, the team has also been plagued with division and underachieving. Sitting at 3-4, the team faces a crossroads. The beginning of the season has not gone as planned and the team is already being forced to regroup. Admittedly not living up to the hype on both sides of the football, change is on the horizon and Philadelphia will need to embrace it if they are to see the postseason. Even if the team is able to squeeze into the playoffs, stealing away a wild card spot year after year is not a sustainable plan for success.
Beginning the season with one of the most talented rosters in football, the Eagles are now holding fast to 50/1 odds to win the Super Bowl and are on the outside looking in when it comes to the early playoff picture. After a heartbreaking week seven loss to the Dallas Cowboys, a game in which the Eagles never had the led nor a realistic shot at one, questions about the future of the team are rising. That goes beyond this season, with key players’ contracts nearing their end and others not living up to their potential. Although it may be too early for the front office to be considering a rebuild, it’s never too early for speculative journalism. Over the next few weeks this series will be examining just what it could look like if the Eagles decide to rework the roster.
Not everyone is of the opinion that a massive overhaul needs to take place. The truth is, without the dreadful injury luck the team has faced, this season may be a complete 180. However, with Carson Wentz nearing his prime, the window is not getting any wider for another shot at a title. The Eagles face a difficult conjuncture of aging skill position players, an offensive line that is as talented as ever and a defense with an even mix of wisdom and youth. If Philadelphia decides to stick with a similar iteration of the current roster, they may have to consider a massive overhaul if they cannot secure another championship in the next two years. Just looking at next season alone, there are a number of players the Eagles will have to decide to retain or let walk.
There are also some players with hefty payouts on the horizon that the Eagles could decide to part ways with. GM Howie Roseman is often active with restructuring contracts and will likely be able to reduce some of the figures below. Nevertheless, any rejigging done this season will put greater stress on the cap space in future seasons. Many of the contracts below are already heavily back loaded. This is not to suggest that all or any of these key players should be traded or cut, rather that their salaries may restrict the moves the Eagles are able to make in free agency. The Birds shelled out a hefty price to lock down their franchise quarterback and will need to pay close attention to the books over the next few years.
On top of looming financial decisions, there is a growing concern that the locker room is coming apart at the seams. Although we must take the yearly reports being published about odds within the locker room and a lack of faith in Carson Wentz with a grain of salt; the fact of the matter is that successful teams aren’t so easily stuck with semi-believable controversy. Two winning seasons did enough to dispel rumors, but with slow starts, they came trickling back. Nobody likes to lose, and a championship team knows how to lose with grace and battle back. This is something the Eagles were able to do two years in a row, but it cannot be the m.o. for the foreseeable future. Savvy offseason moves by Howie Roseman have meant new talent, but also new personalities are abounded within the Linc. Head Coach Doug Pederson has always preached players let their personalities shine through. Therefore some change within the locker room could mean a clean slate, or more problems. If there is to be an overhaul, it will need to be done delicately.
Then there is the issue of the coaching staff. The shot callers of this football team have simply underachieved since their Super Bowl win. The Eagles lost Frank Reich and John DeFilippo two seasons ago, promoting then wide receivers coach Mike Groh to Offensive Coordinator. Then let the legendary Defensive Line Coach Chris Wilson walk last year and have had a revolving door of Wide Receivers Coaches. Although he was given a new title, Duce Staley seems to be somewhat limited in his input in the offense despite being one of the longest-tenured coaches on the team. Changes need to be made, but without disrupting the chemistry of the organization.
Therefore, all this considered, this series will look at what a rebuild would look like for the Eagles. Because there are varying minds of just how in-depth the changes need to reach, it will be broken down into three sections.
Chapter 1: A Redo.
Chapter 2: A Rework.
Chapter 3: A Rebuild.
Which option do you think the Eagles should consider?
Tune in next week for the first installment.
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports