The start of the new league year is almost upon us, but the Eagles have wasted no time in getting down to business. Their franchise quarterback has been traded, a new coaching staff assembled, and ERFA’s signed. With that in mind, there are some important dates between now and May that every Eagles fan should have circled.
The tag window (Which the Eagles won’t use)
February 23rd – March 9th
During this time, teams can now apply both a franchise and transition tag to one player on each team. The Eagles could elect to retain any of their pending free agents at the expense of a one-year deal worth the average of either the top-five or top-ten paid players at that specific position. Given Philadelphia’s salary cap struggles, fans shouldn’t have to worry about this…unless Howie Roseman really likes Nate Gerry.
ERFA & RFA signings
Now until March 17th
The Eagles had three Exclusive-rights free agents who were all conveniently signed yesterday. Alex Singleton, Greg Ward Jr, and Boston Scott all received new league-minimum deals with the team. While longer-term extensions make sense, ERFA deals give all leverage to the team. However, if Alex Singleton can replicate his stunning 2020 campaign, then a big payday may be waiting 12 months down the line.
However, the Eagles do have to submit a qualifying offer to their lone restricted free agent by this date in order to ensure future compensation if he signs elsewhere and a right of first refusal. That man is TE Richard Rodgers. Given that Zach Ertz is likely on the move, this could well be the next in the string of ‘housekeeping’ moves by the front office ahead of free agency.
March 15th – 17th
Ah, the rollercoaster begins. In a little over two weeks from now, the Eagles will be able to reach a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the parties representing pending free agents from other teams.
Let the ‘omg, this Niners player just followed Jalen Hurts on Instagram’ era begin!
New League year
Happy new year! At 1 PM PST and 4 PM EST, the 2021 NFL league year begins. The green flag will be waved, declaring free agency open, and making official the trade that sends Carson Wentz to Indianapolis. Get your tissues ready, there is bound to be some sappy content from the Eagles on the horizon. But just in case Howie Roseman has gone full Ron Swanson, here’s one big emotional goodbye to #11.
My pre-birthday (And an important Eagles date)
This is a very important day for the Eagles. Since Nick Sirianni will be the new Head Coach moving forward after Howie Roseman opted to put an abrupt end to the Doug Pederson era, the team gets a significant jump on the rest of the league when it comes to kickstarting their offseason programs.
While the rest of the NFL has to wait an entire two weeks longer, Nick Sirianni and his new coaching staff can get in the building early and start putting in work in an additional voluntary minicamp. Teams are allowed to host a single mandatory minicamp each offseason. The Eagles will technically be able to hold two because of their coaching change.
The full offseason program will start on April 19th and will look like this:
Phase one (Two weeks): Strength and conditioning
Phase two: (Three weeks): Individual on-field workouts. No live contact or ‘team’ drills.
Phase three (four weeks): OTA’s and minicamp
It’s worth noting that last year, the majority of this offseason portion was conducted via ‘Microsoft Teams’ virtual meetings. 2020 presented a unique challenge to NFL teams and it looks as though 2021 will carry on in the same fashion, at least to begin with.
April 23rd & April 28th
April 23rd will mark the deadline for the Eagles to poach RFA’s from other teams, while April 28th marks the deadline for the players to sign their offer sheets in which their new contract is listed. The team preparing to lose the player will have seven days to match that offer or let the player go and receive draft compensation.
The NFL Draft
April 29 – May 1
It’s kind of ironic that this year’s Draft is hosted in Cleveland, with whom the Eagles traded with to acquire the #2 overall pick that would be used to draft Carson Wentz back in 2016. This year, Ohio plays host to the start of another Eagles era.
Round one: Pick #6
Round two: Pick #37
Round three: Picks #69 & #84
Round five: Picks #133 & #139
Round six: Pick #164
Round seven: Pick #196
Buckle up, Eagles fans
OTA’s might seem a million miles away, but like all rollercoasters, the ride will be thrilling and over before you know it. This offseason is going to be an absolute whirlwind for the Eagles, so hold on tight!
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire