Eagles

Howie Roseman says there's plenty of time for Eagles to add a RB

Howie Roseman says there's plenty of time for Eagles to add a RB

PHOENIX — Howie Roseman’s attitude toward the running back position mirrored the shady patch of grass from which he spoke on Monday afternoon at the NFL’s annual meetings. 

The sun was scorching, but it was cool under the shade of a big ol’ tree in the lawn of the luxurious Arizona Biltmore. Similarly, heat from Eagles fans has risen about the lack of moves at the running back position. But Roseman is staying cool about that too. 

Roseman’s message was pretty simple: Relax. 

“The three running backs who played in the Super Bowl were guys we acquired after the 2017 draft,” he said. “The talent acquisition period continues to go; we want to have the best possible team. We’re going to look into everything, that’s our job. And at the same time, we’ve got to grow and develop our players.”

The Eagles have a need at running back and it would have made sense for them to make a play for one of the running backs in the free agent market, but they haven’t gotten any yet. Mark Ingram signed a three-year, $15 million deal and Tevin Coleman’s deal with the 49ers is two years for $8 million. Both of those backs signed relatively reasonable contracts and it was somewhat curious the Eagles weren’t more involved. 

But Roseman said the Eagles have simply stayed true to their internal philosophy. They wanted to first shore up the offensive and defensive lines and then get weapons for Carson Wentz. That includes all the skill position players. And other parts of the offseason were unforeseen; like how they were able to re-sign some of their own free agents, including Ronald Darby. 

So if running back got pushed to the back-burner, so be it. 

We’re pretty set in how we believe we should build this team and we’re going to be committed to that until something shows us that there’s a different way.

For now, the Eagles’ running back group includes Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams and Boston Scott. Some decent pieces for a rotation, but clearly missing a top guy. 

Jay Ajayi is still a free agent, but is coming off a torn ACL. Still, it’s possible he could return on a one-year deal if the price is right. But if that’s the case, it might behoove the Eagles to draft one in conjunction. The Eagles have kept those lines of communication open. 

Roseman praised the guys who are still on the roster and it didn’t seem like lip service. He likes them, but that also doesn’t mean he’s prepared to go into a season with the group he has. The Eagles’ de facto GM was quick to point out there’s a long way to go before the season. 

Roseman was asked if he doesn’t add a running back in the next month, if he’d feel obligated to use a high draft pick on a running back in late April. It doesn’t seem like he’s going to let a need force their hand. 

I just go back to our history over the last couple of years. We’ve been fortunate to win a lot of games with the running backs we have on the roster. And to have opportunities also to acquire backs, not just before the draft but after the draft process.

The Eagles haven’t used a first- or second-round pick on a running back in 10 years. The last time they did, they used a second-round pick on LeSean McCoy back in 2009. They haven’t drafted a running back in the first round since Keith Byars in 1986. 

This draft class offers one possibility in the first round at No. 25 in Alabama’s Josh Jacobs, but there are plenty of options in the second round, starting with Penn State’s Miles Sanders and Iowa State’s David Montgomery. With picks 53 and 57 in the second round, this could finally be the year the Eagles buck that trend. 

Or maybe they won’t. Either way, Roseman was quick to point out there’s still time to figure out what might be the last big piece to their offensive puzzle. 

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What Patrick Mahomes' historic contract means for Andy Reid

What Patrick Mahomes' historic contract means for Andy Reid

It took Andy Reid 21 years to win the first one. Wild guess it won't take quite as long to win No. 2.

The news Monday that the Chiefs have agreed to a 10-year contract extension with 24-year-old Pat Mahomes means that Reid and Mahomes will be together essentially as long as Reid wants.

Mahomes is now signed through 2031, and the Reid we saw last year brilliantly leading the Chiefs to the Super Bowl championship sure didn’t look like anybody who was slowing down or thinking about retiring.

The Reid we saw at the end with the Eagles seemed weary, burned out. I thought he’d take a year off before even considering another job, but he resurfaced immediately with the Chiefs and the change rejuvenated him.

He's even better now.

The way he’s going now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Reid coaches until he’s 70. Marv Levy coached until he was 72 and Dick Vermeil until he was 69. Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick are 68, Bruce Arians is 67.

Reid isn’t slowing down. If anything, the Reid-Mahomes partnernship has given him new life. 

In his first full season under Reid, Mahomes threw 50 touchdowns — second-most in NFL history — and then last year he won a Super Bowl, averaging 39 points and overcoming double-digit deficits in the three playoff wins.

You get the feeling watching Reid these days that he learned from every mistake he made during his 14 years with the Eagles. And there were plenty of them.

He had a heck of a quarterback in Donovan McNabb, but other than one blip in 2004, he never surrounded him with enough weapons. He’s got an even better quarterback in Mahomes, and he and brilliant GM Brett Veach, who started out as an intern with the Eagles in 2004, have stockpiled the roster with electrifying playmakers.

One thing about Reid: He’s quiet and humble, but he loves to win football games more than just about anything, and he’s got a chance to win a lot over these next several years.

lot.

With Tom Brady turning 43 next month and now in Tampa, the balance of power in the AFC has shifted. Right over to Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs are the best team in the conference and the Ravens, coached by Reid’s pal John Harbaugh, are next. They also have an elite young quarterback and a stocked roster. But then what? Nobody else in the AFC is close. The Texans are pretty good, but the Chiefs scored 51 on them in that wild comeback win in January. The Titans and Bills are competitive but don't look like Super Bowl teams.

Bottom line is the Chiefs have the best quarterback in the NFL and the second- or third-best head coach, depending where you want to put Sean Payton.

They're not going away anytime soon.

Belichick and Brady won six championships together.

Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr won five.

Those duos are untouchable.

Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw won four and Bill Walsh and Joe Montana three, and a handful of other combos won two, including Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman, Mike Shanahan and John Elway, and Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning.

Reid  got a late start. Didn’t win the first one until he was 61. But he’s not done yet.

Would it surprise anybody if the Chiefs win two or three more Lombardi trophies over the next six or seven years?

Let’s say Big Red coaches until he’s 70. Not that far-fetched. Belichick and Carroll are going to hit that in 2022.

That’s nine more seasons. Mahomes is now under contract for all of them. 

As long Mahomes is healthy, the Chiefs are going to be one of the NFL’s most dangerous teams.

And Reid knows how to win. He’s had three losing seasons in his career, including his very first, and he’s averaged 10 wins per year. He’s seventh in NFL history in wins. He's already a Hall of Famer.

And Mahomes? All he has is the highest passer rating in NFL history … by far.

When you have a Hall of Fame coach and the best QB in the game? We all saw last year what can happen.

The only head coaches to win at least three Super Bowls are Belichick, Noll, Joe Gibbs and Walsh.

Pretty good company.

If the Chiefs win two more before Big Red hangs 'em up, you can add his name to that list.

And by the time he’s done, the guy who was once known for never winning the Super Bowl could very well be known as the guy who won more Super Bowls than almost anybody. 

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Have Eagles really done enough to fix wide receiver position?

Have Eagles really done enough to fix wide receiver position?

Conventional wisdom says the Eagles upgraded the wide receiver position this offseason.

Not like they had any choice.

Their wide receiver production was the worst in modern Eagles history.

• So bad that for the first time since 1966 they didn’t have a wide receiver with 500 yards.

• So bad that they didn’t have any WRs ranked in the top 65 in the NFL in yards.

• So bad that they didn’t have a receiver all year record consecutive games with at least 65 yards. 

• So bad that the five receivers that suited up for the playoff game against the Seahawks had a combined 55 career receptions.

• So bad that Doug Pederson fired Carson Walch and hired Aaron Moorehead as the team's sixth WRs coach in six years.

It was time for a total rebuild, and that’s what Howie Roseman did.

But as we wait to see what form — if any — a 2020 NFL season takes, the reality is that there isn’t a single sure thing in the restructured Eagles wide receiver corps.

Every single guy is a big, giant question mark.

There are once-great veterans. Youngsters with potential. Long shots who could be keepers.

But there isn’t one guy who you can safely say, “OK, he’s going to catch 65 passes for 850 yards and seven touchdowns this year.”

Yet the Eagles rank sixth in projected 2020 wide receiver spending at $34.1 million, according to Spotrac.

The Eagles currently have 14 wide receivers on the roster. We broke them down into five categories.

Who will wind up making the team? Who will wind up starting? Who will wind up contributing? 

How good will they really be?

A lot of projecting so far. A lot of unknowns. And a lot of hoping.

One-time Pro Bowlers

DeSean Jackson is 33 years old and Alshon Jeffery is 30. Jeffery got significant snaps in only eight games last year and Jackson in just one, although it was an explosive one. Neither has made a Pro Bowl since 2013, both are coming off serious injuries and both are at an age where even healthy receivers begin declining.

Jackson is on the books with an $8.6 million cap figure this year and Jeffery a whopping $15.45 million. The Eagles need production at those numbers. But how much can they expect from Jackson and Jeffery?

Reclamation project

The Eagles gave up virtually nothing to take speedy Marquise Goodwin and his bloated contract off the 49ers’ hands. 

But what are they getting in Goodwin? A guy who has 35 catches the last two years, has averaged 332 yards in his seven NFL seasons and has caught 30 passes just once, in his excellent 2017 season.

Goodwin has a $4.28 million cap figure, so if he makes the team, he better produce. But what does he have left? And can the Eagles get enough of a sense of what they have in Goodwin in a curtailed offseason to make that $4.28 million commitment?

Young draft picks

The real key to this wide receiving corps isn’t Jackson, Jeffery or Goodwin. It’s the 23-year-old JJ Arcega-Whiteside and the 21-year-old Jalen Reagor, the Eagles’ second- and first-round draft picks the last two years.

Reagor was the 21st pick this year and you’d expect a sizeable contribution as a rookie. JJAW was terrible last year but you’d hope for a big jump in Year 2. The reality is Roseman has never drafted an elite wide receiver. Or even a better-than-average one.

Reagor and/or JJAW have to end that streak.

Practice squad posse

Greg Ward is the closest thing to a sure thing the Eagles have, and he’s played seven games in his career. He had nearly half the catches by Eagles WRs the last seven games of the season (28 of 59). But it's still a very small body of work.

Deontay Burnett had a big 41-yard catch against the Giants — the fourth-longest catch of the year by an Eagles WR — and Ward, Burnett, Robert Davis, Marcus Green and Shelton Gibson make it Eagles six 2019 practice squad receivers currently on the roster. Can any of them really be factors?

Rookie long shots

Rookie fifth-round pick John Hightower and sixth-rounder Quez Watkins are both late-round speeders. Manasseh Bailey had a fine career at Morgan State and Khalil Tate is trying to convert from quarterback to wide out, much like Ward did after playing QB at Houston.

Hightower probably has the best shot from this group to make the team and find his way onto the field, but at this point, without OTAs or preseason games, they’re all long shots.

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