Here’s a recap of the Eagles incredible start to the 2024 offseason

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Philadelphia Eagle’s Saquon Barkley talks to the media during a press conference after signing with the NFL football team, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Philadelphia Eagles had an incredible start to free agency last week. Howie Roseman kept his promise about being aggressive and that’s exactly how he was during the first wave of signings. Several folks may not agree but the Eagles every move was strategic and well executed. They focused on playmakers and depth at the same time. Let’s take a look back at what the Birds accomplished during the first wave of free agency:

The Stars aligned in Eagles’ green

FILE -New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. Star running back Saquon Barkley moved another step closer to free agency Tuesday, Marchy 5, 2024 when the New York Giants elected not to put a franchise tag on the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.(AP Photo/Rich Schultz, File)

Philadelphia is not a shy city. They say what they mean and mean what they say, which is why it shouldn’t surprise you that the Eagles were aggressive when they went after some big names. One name will continue to trump the rest of the group as the shock of Saquon Barkley signing with the Giants rival has yet to settle. Media members and fans alike have been debating about the impact he will have while the most die-hard fans are either crying because of his departure or celebrating because of his arrival.

Either way, you look at it, Saquon Barkley was once dubbed as a generational type of player. The former Penn State running back was extraordinary during his time with the Giants. But the Giants just wanted him to do it all by himself as they never built the well-rounded offense around Saquon. Now he goes from one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines to one of the best in the league. How could a player like that not be in line for a big season?

Then there’s Bryce Huff. The former pass rusher of the Jets signed a huge contract. The former undrafted free agent set the standard of what hard work can get you. Huff is coming to a defensive line that still has some lingering questions but I expect him to shine bright regardless of who’s around him.

The Eagles followed those big names by bringing back another big name who should have never left in the first place. Philadelphia was able to sign CJ Gardner-Johnson to a three-year, $33 million deal to add some swagger to the secondary. The homecoming for CJGJ felt like was bound to happen due to both sides needing each other badly.

Battling for redemption in Philly 

TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 05: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker Devin White (45) looks into the offensive backfield during the regular season game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 05, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Outside of those big names, there’s another name that’s just as big but it has the fans and media split. The Eagles surprised everyone (except for me) when they signed LB Devin White to a one-year prove-it deal. White was a former first-round pick whose career had started to take a turn for the worst in the last couple of seasons. White showed flashes of great potential but it seemed as if his growth was limited for some odd reason.

Now in Philadelphia, White has the opportunity to rewrite his story and turn his career around for the better. He’ll be coached hard by Vic Fangio as they attempt to elevate his play and turn him into one of the premier linebackers in the league. This is a move that could work out greatly and lead to a solid extension but if it doesn’t work out then it won’t hurt the Eagles in any way.

LB Zach Baun is in a similar position. The former Saint has been misused throughout his career thus far and could find himself rushing the passer more now. The Eagles see his strength which led to his signing. Baun will be a great depth piece in Fangio’s scheme when the Eagles need to apply pressure onto opposing quarterbacks. 

The Eagles also made an interesting move at wide receiver by signing Devante Parker. While it’s unknown if Parker is a depth piece or will be allowed to be the team’s WR3, Parker is a veteran who could help spell Smith and Brown if needed. He has a big catch radius and has made some very big plays throughout his career. While it looks like he fell off during his time with the Patriots, Parker could have a solid bounce-back year in Philly.

Matt Hennessy is another solid signing that could lead to a bigger role. With the Eagles possibly using Tyler Steen at right guard, Hennessy could steal that role early if he finds his footing with the Eagles offense. Hennessy was on his way to being a starter with the Falcons until an injury derailed those plans.

The last signing of the week is an interesting one but it’s their third linebacker so far. Oren Burks was with the 49ers last season and stepped into a bigger role once Greenlaw went down in the Super Bowl. He’s a good special teamer who may be limited to that role unless he wows the coaches during training camp.

Working smarter not harder

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett looks for a receiver during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

In what seemed to be one of the more surprising moves of the week, the Eagles traded a third-round pick (98th overall) and two 2025 7th-rounders in exchange for Kenny Pickett and a fourth-round pick (120th overall). So essentially the Eagles jumped back 22 spots to solidify their QB2. They get an experienced player who is still a bit raw and could spell Jalen Hurts if needed.

They’ll essentially have him on his rookie deal for the next two seasons and it will barely cost them anything. Which is why they didn’t trade for Justin Fields. Fields option is astronomical in comparison to Pickett’s. Some have been down on the move but this was a very wise decision by Howie Roseman. You know have a very capable backup who is barely costing you anything for the next two years. The Eagles weren’t confident in the backup QB market so they got a young kid who can develop behind Hurts instead.  

AP Photo/Chris Szagola