Eagles

Roseman: Eagles have enough room for FA, but are building for future

Roseman: Eagles have enough room for FA, but are building for future

INDIANAPOLIS -- It was a joyous day in late July of 2011 and Howie Roseman -- then a second-year general manager -- made a beeline toward the training camp sideline at Lehigh University. He wanted to personally deliver the good news. 
 
The Eagles landed Nnamdi Asomugha!
 
In what quickly became a longstanding example of buyer's remorse, the Eagles at least won that day in the later-than-normal free-agent period thanks to the lockout. They signed the biggest free agent on the market to fill their most glaring deficiency. 
 
These days, the Eagles and Roseman have a different approach to free agency. 
 
"It's nice to win press conferences in March," Roseman said Wednesday, just off the podium from his press conference in the Indiana Convention Center at the NFL combine, "but for us, we're trying to build something."
 
Unless they make more moves to free up space (very possible), the Eagles will have around $12.5 million of room to work with when free agency opens on March 9. On Wednesday afternoon, Roseman said $12.5M still gives them enough flexibility to be players in free agency. 
 
It's just that being a player in free agency means something different to the Eagles now than it did a few years ago. A lot of that has to do with the situation the team is in. And it requires some honesty. 
 
The Eagles have a good building block in Carson Wentz, but they're not one big free-agent acquisition away from being a contender. 
 
"I think it goes to, 'What is our ultimate goal and how do we get there?'" Roseman said. "And some of that is you have to take some short-term pains. And hopefully, when you do that, you get the long-term gains. And again, we keep going back to this, but it's the way we think. 
 
"When you have a quarterback who's 24 years old and you have a defensive tackle who's 26, you want to do something so that two, three, four years from now, when maybe you have that opportunity to add the missing piece or one piece, you have that flexibility. When you want to re-sign some of these guys coming through these next couple of drafts, you have that flexibility. Whereas now, does it makes sense?

"Are we in a position where if we sign this one guy, does it put us over the top? And we have to be honest about that."
 
Wednesday's talk at the combine seemed to fit into the same idea Roseman talked about in his end-of-the-season press conference, when he said the Eagles' goal is to be a team that wins 13 games and not just 10. He said the Eagles desperately want to get to a point where they're not just in the playoffs but a favorite, playing at home. That only happens with a long-term plan in place. 
 
Roseman gave a history lesson on Wednesday. He remembered 2010, when the Eagles were planning on turning the keys over to Kevin Kolb until he got hurt and Mike Vick took over and they were "maybe a shoestring tackle away from maybe beating the Super Bowl champions (the Packers)." So of course they went big in free agency: the Dream Team. 
 
In 2011 and 2012, the Eagles had a 30-plus-year-old quarterback in Vick under center, so time wasn't standing still. Then in 2013, they won 10 games and decided to push things, according to Roseman, who then said they haven't been in this position, with a young franchise quarterback in place, since Donovan McNabb was around.  
 
Last offseason, the Eagles signed guys like Brandon Brooks and Rodney McLeod, who weren't the biggest fish in the free-agent pond, but were young enough to continue to grow with the Eagles. Ideally, those are the kind of signings the Eagles want. 
 
"I think you have to adjust your thinking a little bit to what you have and what you need," Roseman said. "Certainly, we're not sitting here saying we're one player away and if we sign this one guy, it's going to put us in a position to get over the top. So we're going to try to build it piece by piece and be aware of the risks involved. That doesn't mean we're not going to take some risks or do something to get through the moment at certain positions. But that's our plan."

Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

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Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

While many folks are off for Presidents Day, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is hard at work trying to figure out how to replace Frank Reich. 

Pederson is spending his Monday interviewing running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh for the Eagles' vacant offensive coordinator position, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the news Monday. 

It's possible one or both coaches could take over in some sort of offensive coordinator role. 

Reich left his post as offensive coordinator earlier this month when he accepted the head coaching job in Indianapolis. While it might not seem like an OC who doesn't call the plays has a big role, Reich was a good sounding board for Pederson and seemed to be very-well trusted by the head coach. He also helped put the weekly gameplan together. 

It makes sense that the Eagles don't want to go outside the organization to hire an offensive coordinator. Pederson trusts Staley and Groh and the chemistry inside the NovaCare Complex was tremendous during the Eagles' run to Super Bowl LII. 

Either way, Pederson is going to oversee the offense and call plays. Staley or Groh, if one or both are promoted, will handle some extra responsibility, but it'll still all be on Pederson. 

While Staley has been with the Eagles as a coach since 2011, working his way up from a quality control coach to running backs coach in 2013, Groh is a newcomer. He was added to the staff before the 2017 season to take over for Greg Lewis after the Eagles fired him. Groh did an impressive job last season, particularly with helping transform Nelson Agholor from a bust to one of the team's more explosive weapons. 

LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

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LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

LeGarrette Blount is fresh off of his third Super Bowl title and second in two years with two different teams. 

It sounds like he doesn't really want to go to a third team in three years. 

Blount, 31, played on a one-year deal worth around $1.25 million with the Eagles in 2017, but is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 14. He made it pretty clear on Sunday that he wouldn't mind coming back to Philly for another run. 

"It's early so we'll see," Blount said on NFL Network. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there. They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys. 

"I can't say enough about Duce (Staley), just for the simple fact for how well I was coached there and how good he helped me understand things. I feel like Duce is one of the best running back coaches, one of the best coaches I've ever had in my entire life. I obviously want to be a part of that for a while, so we'll see how it goes."

Blount began the year as the Eagles' top running back, but lost some of his role once the team traded for former Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi. But Blount still played a significant role in the Eagles' run to winning Super Bowl LII. 

During the season, he was the team's top rusher with 173 carries for 766 yards and two touchdowns. But then in Super Bowl LII, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown, helping the Eagles to a 41-33 win over his former team, the Patriots. 

The Eagles are going to bring back Ajayi and second-year player Corey Clement. After that, things get murky. Blount and Darren Sproles (coming off injury) are both set to become free agents. 

Blount wasn't shy about his love for the Eagles during his interview on Sunday. He cited trust and how they handled the Ajayi trade with him as big reasons why. 

"They talked to me throughout the process of it happening," Blount said. "They were like, 'we're trading for Jay Ajayi, we just want to let you know.' Like I said, that's obviously another big thing for me, the honesty in that building and how open they are and how they don't keep any kind of secrets for you. They just tell you how it is. It's a big respect thing. Duce was the first person to reach out to me and be like, 'hey, we traded for Jay Ajayi. I just want to let you know.' Again, man, that's why it's a place that I love and I hope to stay there." 

Late in the six-and-a-half minute video, the crew brought out Clement while Blount was answering a question about the rookie. Blount laughed during the middle of his answer, but then got back on track and praised Clement. The two became very close during the 2017 season. 

After Blount's answer, Clement got to chat with his teammate and said getting to work with Blount was a "tremendous opportunity" and would clearly like to keep the core group together in the running back room next season. 

Obviously, it's not up to Clement, but Blount will play a big role and we already know what he thinks of the Eagles.