Are the Eagles a better team than they were last year? Who knows. We'll answer that in December.
But one thing is definite. They're a heck of a lot younger.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman made it clear as soon as last year ended that the 2020 Eagles had to be dramatically younger than the veteran-laden 2019 team.
The Eagles began last year as the third-oldest team in the NFL.
They're now the ninth-youngest team in the NFL.
According to figures on Spotrac.com, the Eagles’ opening-day roster last year averaged 26.7 years old, and only the Patriots and Falcons were older. Not coincidentally, all three teams had disappointing seasons, the Patriots losing a home wild-card game a year after winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles losing a home wild-card game two years after winning the Super Bowl and the Falcons going 7-9.
Today, according to Spotrac, that figure is down to 25.3, which means the average Eagle is about a year and five months younger now than eight months ago.
That figure is a little exaggerated because your 90-man roster is always going to be somewhat younger than your 53-man roster simply because of the number of rookies a team adds for the offseason.
But what’s significant is going from third-oldest to ninth-youngest.
And of the nine other teams in the top-10 in terms of lowest average age — the Rams, Jaguars, Vikings, Dolphins, Giants, Browns, Broncos, Packers and Bengals — most are in full rebuilding mode.
Only the Eagles, Vikings and Packers are among the NFL’s 10 youngest teams but also coming off a playoff season.
That’s a good sign for a team trying to walk the tightrope of getting younger almost overnight while remaining competitive.
Roseman started the process of getting younger during last season, shedding older, overpaid, underperforming talent like Andrew Sendejo and Zach Brown during the season, and the process has continued full bore the past few months.
The Eagles had 13 players 30 or older on the roster at some point last year and only four of them remain — DeSean Jackson, Jason Kelce, Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks.
All this could obviously change if the Eagles bring back Jason Peters or someone like Vinny Curry.
But Roseman’s goal for this offseason was to reshape the Eagles as a younger, faster, healthier team, and all three of those goals go together.
The Eagles believe there was a direct correlation between the advanced age of last year’s roster and the constant barrage of injuries that decimated the team.
And the idea is that a new, improved medical staff and a younger roster will translate to a healthier team.
Which will translate to more wins and a deeper playoff run.
As of now, the only players on the roster over 30 are Jackson (33) and Graham and Kelce (32).
That’s 3 of 90.
Brooks, Alshon Jeffery and Malik Jackson are 30, as is Lane Johnson, who turned 30 last week.
Of course being younger doesn’t mean anything if the young guys can’t play.
And that’s really the key to all of this.
We know what 23-year-old Miles Sanders and 25-year-old Dallas Goedert can do, and you can throw 25-year-old Jake Elliott in there as well.
We’ve seen good things at times from Avonte Maddox, Derek Barnett, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Andre Dillard, Boston Scott and Greg Ward, who are all between 23 and 25.
And getting younger means you have to get contributions from your rookies, so Jalen Reagor and Jalen Hurts have to show up. Same with JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
Getting younger is certainly a risk when it means moving on from proven players like Peters, Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham to unproven kids with potential.
But it's a step this franchise had to make.
Roseman set out to build a younger team and he’s done that. But the biggest challenge remains:
Getting that younger version of the Eagles to win.
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