Eagles

Is the Eagles' roster better or worse in 2020?

Is the Eagles' roster better or worse in 2020?

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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Eagles' Jalen Reagor has perfect response for Skip Bayless criticism

Eagles' Jalen Reagor has perfect response for Skip Bayless criticism

Jalen Reagor hasn't yet set foot on a football field wearing midnight green, but the Eagles' first-round pick is already a pro at comebacks.

Professional Talker Skip Bayless popped off about Reagor's (admittedly unexpected) draft slot late last week, making fun of the Eagles for taking Reagor at No. 21 overall.

Here's what Bayless had to say:

I about fell out of my chair over that, for the wrong reason. Jalen Reagor went way higher than any draft expert had mocked him. I'm mocking that pick right now, because I thought it was a silly pick, because there were four, five other receivers I would've taken over Jalen Reagor.

There are, of course, different ways to responds when a person like Bayless (loud, looking for attention) singles out a player.

You can try to argue the points made, and point out that while Reagor going at No. 21 overall may have been a surprise, you'd be hard pressed to name four wideouts who went after Reagor and are widely seen as better players.

Justin Jefferson at No. 22? Fine. Brandon Aiyuk at No. 25 is a pick 'em, as is Tee Higgins at No. 33, and most basically everyone would give Reagor the edge over guys like Laviska Shenault, K.J. Hamler, and Chase Claypool.

You can take the petty angle and remind Bayless, a noted Cowboys fan, which team is the reigning NFC East champion. (It's the Eagles.)

Or you can be Reagor, and simply tell Bayless that you heard what he thinks, and keep it moving:

Nice and subtle. Reagor is keeping a list, but he's unbothered. Perfect.

Something tells me this clip will be re-shared plenty when Reagor scores his first touchdown against the Cowboys.

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How Tom Brady says the Eagles helped create the 'Patriot Way' in New England

How Tom Brady says the Eagles helped create the 'Patriot Way' in New England

ESPN's decision to seize on the success of "The Last Dance" by teasing a similar documentary about Tom Brady has grabbed sports fans' attention, even if the doc doesn't come out until 2021.

And while reliving Brady's greatest accomplishments isn't an ideal way to spend several hours, the way the Eagles are intertwined with Brady's Patriots legacy certainly suggests there will be tons of insights for Philly fans in the final product.

Like, maybe, Brady saying he feels the fabled 'Patriot Way' began because of the Eagles.

Here's the doc's producer Gotham Chopra, talking to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, on the way Brady viewed his time in New England:

CHOPRA: There was something we recently did on that 2004 Super Bowl, where he talked about the culture of that team. All this stuff you hear about Patriot Way, and Do Your Job, stuff that Bill has created over the years, the philosophies, this is the year that really happened.

He’s like, ‘First year, kind of a miracle. The next Super Bowl, O.K., now we’re getting our feel. And that first Eagles Super Bowl, this is where the Patriot Way was born.’

Welp.

Odds are good the Patriots would've been great for the last 15 years no matter what, but it's sort of frustrating to know the Eagles losing to Brady helped, at least in Brady's mind, establish New England's brand of success.

Who knows: If Donovan McNabb & Co. managed to pull out the win, maybe we would've had a very different last 15 years.

One thing Eagles fans can get excited for, at least, is Brady's reaction to losing Super Bowl LII to the Eagles.

It's unclear how much behind-the-scenes stuff we'll see from the game - Chopra said Brady suddenly got cold feet about filming in Minneapolis that week - but It sounds like it really changed him as a person:

CHOPRA: What he told me about that Eagles loss, it was dealing with it as a father, dealing with it as a husband. He was a very different person than with the Giants losses, he had a different perspective that I think poised him for that game. I thought, ‘Wow, it’s really interesting how a guy who’s still at it is learning like that.’ Because he’s like [Michael] Jordan, he’s incomparable. There’s no one else who has that story, has that perspective.

It's so strange to think how, despite playing in a different conference, the Eagles have played a pretty significant role in shaping the way the world sees Brady and the Patriots.

For better, and for worse.

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