Are Eagles already better than Super Bowl version?

Are Eagles already better than Super Bowl version?

Yes, we are insanely early in the process. We’re not even in the infancy stage, more like the prenatal portion of the NFL’s 2018 league year and free agency period. So needless to say, a lot can and will be changing. So think of this more as a progress report than a final grade, but are the Eagles a better team now than the one that exited that dome in Minneapolis in a confetti-strewn, blaze of glory?

Additions (Michael Bennett, Haloti Ngata)
Let’s start with the new faces.

The Eagles added to an already deep and talented defensive line with newcomers, Bennett and Ngata. Both are past their prime, Ngata more so than Bennett. But each can still contribute at a high level.

Assuming Vinny Curry is gone, Bennett, even at 32 years old, is a clear upgrade. Over the last six seasons, Curry has 22 sacks and 95 tackles. Bennett during the same time span, 48 sacks, 165 tackles. Ngata will fill the void left by Beau Allen.

Ngata, entering his 10th season, is 34, compared to Allen, who's just 26. This one is a little more difficult to quantify considering the position they play and what they're asked to do. Allen played well last season, especially when Tim Jernigan struggled with an ankle injury. He will be missed. But Ngata impacts games. Last season with Detroit, Ngata had two sacks in five games. And with him on the field, the Lions allowed 74.6 rushing yards per game. In 11 games without him, 129.7 yards. If healthy, he can still play. Slight lean to Ngata, short term.

Subtractions (Trey Burton, Beau Allen, Brent Celek, Torrey Smith)
We addressed Allen’s departure. The loss of Burton hurts. He improved steadily each of his four seasons with the Eagles. Last year, while getting just 27 percent of the snaps, he managed 23 catches for 248 yards and five touchdowns. He was also the third leading tackler on special teams.

As for Celek, he was the definition of a winner, a warrior and a team-first player. But he's at the end of his career and his $4 million salary was too high. Burton and Celek’s losses will be addressed via free agency or the draft. Perhaps, Martellus Bennett, Michael’s brother? Mike Gesicki out of Penn State?

Smith was a good guy in the locker room and solid playoff contributor, but $5 million was too steep for just that. Mack Hollins is ready to fill those shoes. 

Staying put (Nigel Bradham, Nick Foles)
Not to be overlooked are the players who were thought to possibly be headed out the door who are staying. Many thought Bradham would be playing elsewhere next season. But as Howie Roseman always does, he came up with enough coin to re-up the linebacker. That’s a big-time re-signing when taking into account Jordan Hicks' injury history and the fact Mychal Kendricks could be dealt to create more cap space.

It'd have to be an offer too good to refuse to move Foles. And after seeing all the needy teams fill their quarterback voids, it’s looking like, barring an injury, Foles will be staying put. And that’s a good thing. Carson Wentz's return date is a huge question not to mention, we know Foles is not just a one or two game stop-gap. He can lead this team.

Overall when you compare additions versus subtractions and the fact that, at this point, the Eagles have only lost a starter. On the face, right now they are a better team.   

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

A few days ago, the Eagles and Nick Foles agreed to rework his contract.

The restructured deal included a $2 million signing bonus and incentives based on whether Foles starts and reaches certain goals, plus a mutual option for 2019 (see story). Monday, it became clearer how the Eagles were able to get Foles more money up front when Pro Bowl offensive guard Brandon Brooks tweeted this:

Brooks restructured his current deal last Friday to help out his quarterback (see story)

NBC Sports Philadelphia had Brooks and RT Lane Johnson on Quick Slants Monday. Brooks had this to say about the restructure and his tweet:

Whenever it comes to a restructure, I just wanted to throw it out there — one, to clarify as far as exactly what happened and then two, probably the most important thing is look at what Nick did. I literally did whatever it took to get him extra money. I mean, everything he’s done for us as a team, for us as a city. The Super Bowl MVP. You know, going out there, launching that thing every week. The leader he is. The high character guy he is. And when they approached me about it, it was kind of like, 'Nah,' but then after understanding it was for Nick Foles, then I said, 'Without question, let’s go ahead and get it done.' He deserves it, he brought the first championship to the city, so it was a no-brainer, without question for me.

Brooks' close friend and linemate Johnson added:

The man was thrown into the fire and came out on top. I mean, he was really thrown into a tough situation and only had two weeks the last part of the season to kind of get in a rhythm, and you know how those games went. The guy went out there and delivered. I’m just so proud of him. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. We’re all happy for him.

As it gets closer to the 2018 NFL draft, the rumors continue to swirl that Foles could be traded. If it happens, a number of his teammates have told me Foles deserves his own team.

Will Foles be in Eagles green come September? Only time will tell, but whether he’s here or elsewhere, Foles will always have the respect and admiration from a group of guys who completed a magical season.

Eagles in contact with White House about possible visit

AP Images

Eagles in contact with White House about possible visit

After winning Super Bowl LI, the Patriots visited the White House on April 19, 2017. 

You might have noticed that April 19 has come and gone this year and there hasn’t been much talk of the Super Bowl champion Eagles visiting the relatively new home of President Donald Trump. 

But on Monday, the New York Times reported that discussions about a possible Eagles trip to the White House have begun.

The Eagles confirmed that report with the following in a statement: “We have been in contact with White House representatives and are currently discussing the logistics of an upcoming visit to Washington. We are honored to receive this invitation and view this not only as an opportunity to be recognized for our on-field achievements, but also as an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue with the leaders of our country."

This is the first time the Eagles have publicly spoken about a trip to the White House and the first time they’ve revealed they have been invited. When asked about the possible trip last month at the annual league meetings, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie didn’t seem very eager to speak about the topic. 

“We just won the Super Bowl,” Lurie said in Orlando last month. “I haven’t had any of those discussions. I have no idea. It’s just … I haven’t had those discussions.” 

The idea that the visit to the White House could be an opportunity for dialogue is an interesting one. Normally, these things are pretty much photo opportunities, but perhaps that’s part of the discussion. 

As you might guess, an Eagles trip to the White House is a pretty tricky trip to figure out. 

The Eagles have several players — Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, Torrey Smith — who have already said publicly that they wouldn’t attend. And last year when the Patriots won, Long and LeGarrette Blount were not among the group that went. Aside from that, Lurie, who donated money to Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is considered one of the more liberal owners in the league. 

“We have been in conversations with the Eagles about timing and are working with them to make it happen,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, via the New York Times. “We hope to have something finalized in the next couple of weeks.”

According to the New York Times story, Lurie had strong criticism for Trump at a private league meeting last October as owners, players and executives met weeks after Trump scolded the NFL and players, which brought more league-wide protesting during the national anthem. During those meetings, Lurie described Trump’s presidency as “disastrous” and reportedly used a vulgarity to emphasize that opinion. 

This is not the first time an Eagle has had harsh words for Trump. Last September, Jenkins said Trump was “no different than a troll on social media.” 

The Eagles are the first Super Bowl-winning team after Trump’s attacks on the league and its players who had chosen to demonstrate during the national anthem. Last September, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

The week after Trump made those comments, protests became more wide-spread throughout the league, with entire teams demonstrating and showing unity. The Eagles — players, coaches and executives, including Lurie — locked arms as the Star-Spangled Banner was performed.