Bad news, NFL — Eagles will be very good for a looooong time

Bad news, NFL — Eagles will be very good for a looooong time

Bad news, NFL. They're not going away.

The Eagles are here for the long haul, and the rest of the NFC East and the NFC and the entire league is going to have to reckon with this team for the foreseeable future.

The team that just won Super Bowl LII will return largely intact in 2018. And 2019. And to a great extent, 2020 as well.

You never know exactly what the future holds, but this team is built for the long haul.

They will probably lose Patrick Robinson this offseason, but the list of potential free agents is small. You'd love to have Trey Burton back, but that may be financially impossible. Nigel Bradham is a free agent and could walk.

But every offensive starter with the exception of part-time starting running back LeGarrette Blount is signed through next year and nine of them are signed through 2019. There will be decisions to make at running back with Blount and Jay Ajayi, who is up after next year, but Corey Clement, who looks like a budding star, isn't going anywhere until 2021 at the earliest.

The entire starting defensive line is intact through next year, with only Brandon Graham unsigned for 2019. Bradham is the only defensive starter unsigned in 2018 and only Graham, Jordan Hicks and Ronald Darby are unsigned in 2019.

Let's jump into the future.

The Eagles have these guys under contract for 2020: Alshon Jeffery, Mack Hollins, Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Timmy Jernigan, Derek Barnett, Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas.  

That's 2020. Three years from now!

Carson Wentz is under contract only through 2019, but the Eagles will take care of that at some point long before he hits free agency.

Look at the NFC East. Eli Manning is quarterbacking the Giants. He's 37 and hasn't won a playoff game since 2011. Alex Smith is quarterbacking the Redskins. He's 33 and has won one playoff game since 2012, and it was over a mediocre Texans team and he didn't even play that well. Dak Prescott is quarterbacking the Cowboys and he's never won a playoff game, and his decline from 2016 to 2017 certainly has to have the Cowboys wondering exactly what his future looks like.

Heck, the Eagles may have the top two quarterbacks in the division. And in Wentz and Nick Foles, they have two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in their 20s. What happens there remains to be seen, but at worst they have an elite quarterback to move forward with and another quarterback who has tremendous value as well.

More than anything, Jeff Lurie and Doug Pederson have turned this into an incredibly attractive destination. Talented players are going to want to come here and be part of this special thing they've built, and the Eagles' front office can be selective in who it signs.

When the Eagles do lose valuable players, they're in position to replace them. Joe Douglas has really solidified the talent evaluation aspect of the front office. His decision to bring Super Bowl winners into this locker room — Torrey Smith, Corey Graham, Chris Long, Blount — really made a difference not only helping the young guys prepare for Super Bowl week but also really helping forge the unselfish, team-first mentality that Pederson was building.

"In my mind, there's a huge window here," Smith said. "The team's still building. We lost a lot of players (to injury) and still won the Super Bowl. They're going to come back healthy, most of the guys who were part of this are coming back, and they're going to keep adding good players, too. This thing can keep on rolling."

Really, everything is in place.

An owner willing to spend, a scouting staff with an extraordinary knack for finding players that fit in both on the field and off, a general manager who's a master at juggling salary cap and contracts, a coach who's a brilliant motivator and play caller, a staff of first-rate teachers and a stable of talented players who want to stay here.

Thinking back to 2004, that never seemed sustainable. We all knew the Donovan McNabb-Terrell Owens dynamic was a ticking time bomb. There was no way T.O. was going to have a long run with the Eagles, and without him, that just wasn't an elite team. A good team but not an elite team.

This feels different.

This team was built to last, built to be sustainable, built to contend for Super Bowls every year for the foreseeable future.

The Eagles haven't won playoff games in consecutive seasons since 2003 and 2004. They've had sporadic success but since those first few Andy Reid seasons, they haven't been able to sustain any measure of success.

Now they can. Now they will.

This really feels like the start of something special. Not the end.

Eagles Injury Update: Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Kamu Grugier-Hill miss practice again

Eagles Injury Update: Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Kamu Grugier-Hill miss practice again

For the second straight day, the Eagles were without three key players at practice. 

Derek Barnett (ankle), Kamu Grugier-Hill (concussion) and Nelson Agholor (knee) all missed Friday’s session after also missing Thursday. 

It’s rare for players to miss the first two practice days of the week and play that weekend. 

Barnett, it seemed, hurt his ankle during the loss to the Dolphins but was able to finish the game, playing 50 snaps. This season, Barnett is second on the team in sacks with 4 1/2 and has played more snaps (78 percent) than any other defensive lineman. 

The only other defensive players to play more than him this season are Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. 

If Barnett can’t play on Monday, it’s likely Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat will see more playing time and perhaps Genard Avery will see a few more snaps. Maybe even Daeshon Hall or Shareef Miller might get to play a bit. 

Agholor has been dealing with his knee injury since the Patriots game. He missed the game against Seattle, but returned last week to play 63 snaps against the Dolphins. Last week, Agholor was limited in practice the first two days of the week and was not given a game status. 

If Agholor can’t play, Greg Ward could perhaps have a bigger role on Monday night. 

Meanwhile, Grugier-Hill didn’t report concussion symptoms until Thursday and was then placed into the NFL’s concussion protocol. Based on the timing of all that, it seems like a long shot that he’ll be able to play on Monday night. 

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Jerry Jones was BIG cranky on radio interview day after Cowboys' Week 14 loss to Bears

Jerry Jones was BIG cranky on radio interview day after Cowboys' Week 14 loss to Bears

The one bit of solace Eagles fans can take from the 2019 season so far is that it’s been a complete disaster for the Cowboys too. 

On Friday morning, the day after the Cowboys lost to the Bears to fall to 6-7, a cranky Jerry Jones joined 105.3 The Fan in Dallas for his weekly spot and the station had to briefly drop his call after two consecutive swear words in the interview. 

But Jones came out of the gate cranky. 

The Cowboys’ owner and GM was asked if he had any answers for the way the team is playing right now and his answer was short: 

“We’re not playing very well.”

Are you embarrassed? 

That was the question that set him off a little bit.  

Hey, get your damn act together yourself. OK? Now, we’re going to have a good visit this morning but settle down just a little bit. We’ve got a lot to go over, now go on with your question. But I’m going to give you the answers I want to give you this morning. And I don’t like your attitude to come in. I’ve been traveling all night and I don’t have the patience to jack with you today.

A little later, Jones was asked if he understands why there are so many questions about head coach Jason Garrett. 

Here was his answer with the swear word at the end. 

Of course I understand why they come up. Our fans are interested. They’re frustrated that we’re not playing better and I understand that and I know. That goes with the territory. And I fully expect to have those questions and I know that if you really think about it, if I did have answers as to different directions regarding talent … if I did, I would not share them right now. Because, first of all, if you’ve got other teams’ talent in mind, that’s tampering. Even if you had something in mind, unless they’re not involved in the National Football League right now and that wouldn’t be smart if they were involved other places. So we want to do a good job here, I want to do a good job with you guys but there’s a whole bunch of time where I have to bulls--- the hell out of you.

One of the hosts then said he totally understood that. 

To which, Jones replied: “Do you understand bulls---?” 

That was when the radio station’s system took over and dropped the call with the Cowboys owner. The program director explained that they had to hit the dump button twice in a short span of time and the system is designed to then kill all sound but the hosts. 

A bit later, Jones rejoined the program. 

“I had been talking the whole time,” Jones said. 

Strange interview, but definitely worth the listen. 

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