The Philadelphia Eagles always looked poised to make a playoff run this year, but few expected their journey to Super Bowl LVII to look so simple. The scary part is that the fun is only just getting started. If you simply zoom out, this Eagles team is in a position to be dangerous for years to come.
An arsenal of young talent
There has been a concerted effort by the Eagles front office to get younger and in a hurry. After blowing up the roster following the downward spiral that ensued in the 2019-2020 seasons, Howie Roseman decided to place a focus on infusing youth as opposed to paying huge sums of money to veteran players whose play is clearly declining.
The result of this shift in roster-building method has seen the Eagles become one of the younger teams in the NFL. The average age of a player on their roster is 26, ranking 12th in the NFL. It’s not just the age of the players, but it’s the caliber of talent we’re talking about and the contracts they’re playing under.
Eagles players under 26
|Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (free agent this offseason)||23|
|Miles Sanders (free agent this offseason)||25|
That’s more than just a lot of names. In that mix is an MVP candidate, two dominant wide receivers, two of the NFL’s best young linemen, a franchise defensive tackle, and one of the most explosive slot corners in the NFL.
What’s even wilder is that many of these players are still within the first few years of their rookie contracts. By the time the window for discussions opens, the decision to retain or replace will be obvious, and the Birds will have even more assets to ensure both outcomes are easily attained.
Sure, there are some questions over contracts, but we’ll answer those shortly.
On top of having a roster stacked with young talent, the Eagles have a bevy of draft picks at their disposal.
After somehow milking a first-round pick from the Saints in a deal during the 2022 NFL Draft, the Eagles now own a top-10 selection in this year’s draft despite making a Super Bowl. They also got their paws on a 2nd-round pick in the 2024 draft, and some late-round fodder from the Titans and Vikings trades that followed.
This is how the Eagles’ war chest looks going into the Super Bowl :
2023: 1st round (Pick 10, Saints), 1st round (pick 31/21, own pick), 2nd round, 3rd round, 7th round, 7th round (Vikings)
2024: 1st round, 2nd round, 2nd round (Saints), 3rd round, 4th round, 4th round (Vikings), 5th round, 6th round (Titans)
2025: 1st round, 2nd round, 3rd round, 4th round, 5th round, 6th round, 7th round, 7th round (Saints)
But what about the free agents?
The Eagles have an intimidating roster, but they are set to lose plenty of those players to free agency. This is both a concern and a non-issue. Anytime you’re set to lose a key number of players to the open market and don’t have a ton of cap space to work with (anticipating a big payday for a franchise quarterback), it’s naturally not ideal.
However, we also have to remember that there’s a reason why Howie Roseman was so aggressive in trying to land free agents this year. With the significant advantage of an easier schedule and a weak division, the Eagles GM decided to go all-in on the short-term window without compensating the long-term hopes.
If the Birds do win it all this season and go into the Draft with that much capital and a bucket filled with young talents who have All-Prop written all over them, I think it’s safe to say that losing a big names to free agency is more than a fair trade-off.
Cap space, schmap space
We also must not forget that this is Howie Roseman we’re talking about. This is the GM who was somehow not only able to structure the monster contract of Carson Wentz in a way that barely impacted the team, but was then able to offload it and swallow the dead cap like it was all just a normal day at the office.
Through endless restructures, ‘pay-cuts’, and salary cap-related spells, Howie Roseman has been able to navigate these treacherous waters seemingly better than any other GM in Football. It’s one of the reasons why an Eagles team on the verge of implosion was somehow able to return to the Super Bowl within five years of winning their first ring back in 2017.
No matter how bright and sparkly the present may look for the Philadelphia Eagles, the future somehow only seems brighter.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke