How “the Philadelphia way” has turned the Eagles into a premier franchise

Reed blankenship eagles
Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship celebrates after their win in the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia.AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t always been a premier franchise in the NFL. After years of success during the Any Reid era, Philly struggled to find their identity as Chip Kelly dismantled their homegrown team in favor of players he felt were better suited for his offense. That project failed miserably but it unlocked something within the outcasted Howie Roseman.

Shortly after Kelly’s firing, Howie Roseman came out of the gate swinging and undid the damage that was left by Chip Kelly. The team hired Doug Pederson to be their new head coach which allowed Howie Roseman to do what he does best as Doug coached. He moved players that were on terrible contracts for better pick positioning which ultimately led to them trading up for Carson Wentz. 

While the Wentz-Pederson era did not end on the greatest note. The lone Super Bowl victory was enough to help catapult Howie Roseman’s mentality when it came to building a complete roster. While many heavily criticized Roseman for the way things ended with Doug Pederson, the Sirianni hiring gave Howie something he never had before. A young coach who would trust Howie’s every thought and move.

The Eagles found their formula

Howie hit the ground running once the Eagles hired  Nick Sirianni. There is a sense of camaraderie that allows both individuals to truly flourish in their roles without the previous friction. He focused on making sure that the Eagles would maximize the ability of Jalen Hurts and solidify their QB of the future. They went on to draft WR DeVonta Smith to help the offense and after a spectacular rookie season, which helped the team make it to the playoffs. 

He didn’t stop there. The early returns on success led to Howie Roseman making a huge blockbuster trade during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Roseman shipped the 18th overall pick and a 2022 third-round pick in exchange for A.J. Brown.

Cowboys vs Eagles nfl betting
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) scoring a touchdown against Washington Commanders safety Jartavius Martin (20) and cornerback Emmanuel Forbes (13) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In that same offseason, the team added CB James Bradberry after he was released by the Giants. Bradberry’s arrival helped solidify the team’s secondary as he lined up alongside Darius Slay during a season where the team made it to the Super Bowl but lost on a terrible call by the referees in the final seconds of the 4th quarter.

Howie took the loss and thought of ways to help build on a winning season. He didn’t stay put or complacent, he focused on how the roster could get better after a successful year. The team went ahead and added Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith, Tyler Steen, and Kelee Ringo in the 2023 NFL Draft. During that same weekend, they traded for RB D’Andre Swift who was expected to be a key weapon within the offense.

Unfortunately, not everything went as planned last season. The team’s rookie offensive coordinator could not find a balance in the offense while their defensive coordinator was demoted mid-season. A whirlwind of issues that left many people wondering if and when the team would rebound from such a confusing season of setbacks.

An answered challenge 

In years past, many have felt that the Eagles have neglected their needs in favor of always being ahead of the curve. From cornerback to linebacker to even the running back position, the Eagles always found an easy way to fill the need without investing in it. While it worked for them in years past, Howie Roseman’s approach this offseason has shown just how much he’s grown in his role and how his perspective has changed.

Philadelphia Eagles Bryce Huff talks to the media during the press conference after signing with the Eagles, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

To start the offseason, the Eagles made a big splash in signing EDGE defense Bryce Huff. Huff was given a huge deal with the expectations to match it. But that wasn’t even the biggest splash. The move that made everyone’s head turn was the signing of former Giants RB Saquon Barkley. The Eagles gave Barkley a three-year deal for $37.75 million with $26 million guaranteed at signing. 

An unorthodox move by a franchise that hasn’t paid a running back big money since the DeMarco Murray debacle. They didn’t stop there though. That was only one need out of the three that I mentioned above. They followed that by signing linebacker Devin White to a one-year prove-it deal. Not big money but a big name with a lot to prove.

They went into the draft with 2 out of three needs being semi-filled. During the draft, Howie unleashed his greatest trick yet. He pulled not one but two of the top corners in the draft. Philadelphia drafted Quinyon Mitchell in the first round then traded up to draft Cooper Dejean in the second round. Filling the need for a young premier cornerback by getting two of them early on. 

Following an act of great selections and trade backs, Howie and the Eagles’ front office chose to get a young linebacker who was falling in the draft once again. Fortunately, this one has legendary ties to the franchise. With the 155 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected Jeremiah Trotter Jr. Which led to them covering all three of their needs in one offseason and with young players at that.

The Eagles have now found themselves in a different set of optics when it comes to NFL franchises. The newly dubbed “Philadelphia Way” has been used to define the culture and the way Howie Roseman builds his teams. From trading for budding superstars to signing big names with a lot to prove and now drafting franchise cornerstones. 

The way took a long time to show itself but after years and years of trades, failed signings, great drafts, and even failed drafts, the Eagles have now found their niche. I would honestly be surprised if they didn’t become the face of the league as a franchise within the next three to five years. 

AP Photo/Seth Wenig