Eagles

Eagles

Executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman says the Eagles are a better football team after free agency and the draft. We put his claim to the test, breaking down the depth chart position by position to examine whether the roster really improved or actually took a step back this offseason.

Here's the final breakdown at each position:

Better: Quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback, special teams

Worse: Running back, offensive line, defensive end, safety

So, did the Eagles as a whole get better or worse this offseason?

The short answer is, "Yes, but ..."

Yes, but perhaps only marginally better. Yes, but there are still moves the Eagles can make to improve further, such as re-signing Jason Peters or adding a Jadeveon Clowney. Yes, but plenty of teams in their conference, such as the Cardinals or Buccaneers, and even in their own division, like the Cowboys, took far greater leaps forward.

 

Perhaps the ultimate "Yes, but" in all is this: yes, the Eagles got better — but there aren't many teams you would look at in any given offseason and say they got substantially worse.

If the Eagles let a player go or opt to replace somebody, there's usually a reason, whether it's age, performance, whatever. Not every decision works out as planned, but the thinking is a free agent signing, a draft pick, a player returning from injury or emerging talent already on the roster can do just as good of a job, if not better. Only the teams that are tanking, like the Jaguars, or are going through a retooling period after years at the top, such as the Patriots, look like they've taken a step back in May.

So, sure, the Eagles project to have more talent. It's a little silly to claim they don't.

Love it or hate it, the Eagles backed up Carson Wentz with a second-round pick, Jalen Hurts. They got their quarterback weapons in the form of Jalen Reagor and a returning DeSean Jackson. Javon Hargrave bolsters a defensive line that was already stocked with Pro Bowlers. Trading for Darius Slay gives the defense its first elite-level cornerback in almost a decade.

The only players the Eagles lost they can't replace at this point are Peters and Malcolm Jenkins. Peters could still be back for one more year, which would probably be for the best. Jenkins is long gone. There's so much more talent everywhere else, though, so letting Jenkins walk doesn't bring down the entire house. And in both cases, the depth at those positions was bolstered by a number of offseason moves.

Shedding Nigel Bradham, Ronald Darby and Nelson Agholor is essentially addition by subtraction. Watching Jordan Howard, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Vinny Curry (the latter also a candidate to re-sign) go hurts a little more, but they're rotational/reserve players. The Eagles could even bring on another running back or D-end at some point.

This is a roster Eagles fans should feel optimstic about — its two biggest needs, receiver and corner, addressed in big ways; its offensive and defensive lines strong with opportunities to get stronger; its receiving and linebacker corps loaded with freak athletes; its running back, Miles Sanders, poised for a breakout year; and its quarterback, Wentz, healthy and backed up.

Is it a dream team? Not right now. Only the biggest fans are probably feeling like the Eagles are an obvious top-tier Super Bowl contender.

Then again, next to nobody felt that way in 2017, either.

Coming on the heels of consecutive nine-win seasons, the Eagles appear to have made only modest gains this offseason. However, there was a lot of fat to be trimmed on an aging roster with a bloated salary cap. It could be argued Roseman didn't have a one-year project on his hands here.

 

It can also be argued Roseman didn't need to dismantle the entire roster here. The Eagles needed to get younger, faster, healthier — and they did all of that, losing few core players in the process. Roseman didn't need to create some kind of dream team to make the Eagles a contender. The team they had went to the playoffs three years in a row and won a Super Bowl. He just needed to build on the foundation that was already in place.

In other words, yes, but ...

Yes, the Eagles are a better football team now than they were in January.

Maybe they don't look worlds better — but maybe they don't need to be.

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