INDIANAPOLIS — It’s hard to believe it’s already time for the combine.
But that’s what happens when the Eagles play in the Super Bowl after a 17-game season.
This week, the NFL world will once again take over Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center and downtown Indianapolis for this year’s event. There are a ton of Eagles storylines heading into the week:
Coordinator hires on the way?
The Eagles enter combine week having not announced their staff changes for the 2023 season. Going into 2022, Nick Sirianni pretty much had the same exact coaching staff from his rookie season as a head coach. All three coordinators and every single position coach returned from Year 1 to Year 2. Things are going to be different in Year 3.
The Colts hired offensive coordinator Shane Steichen as their head coach and the Cardinals hired defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon as their head coach. And then Gannon hired Eagles linebackers coach Nick Rallis to be his next defensive coordinator.
While the presumed replacement for Steichen is quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson — and his likely replacement is Alex Tanney, who is already on staff — the Eagles have interviewed plenty of candidates for that defensive coordinator job and will need to hire someone soon. And then they’ll also have to replace Rallis.
Sirianni will have defensive directives for whoever takes the DC job but it would really help to know who will have that position as we look ahead to free agency and, of course, the draft.
The big contract coming
Jalen Hurts had an incredible season in 2022, finishing second to Patrick Mahomes in MVP voting and getting the Eagles all the way to the Super Bowl. Now it’s time to pay the man. Since he finished his third NFL season, Hurts is eligible for a contract extension. And based on their history, the Eagles aren’t going to want to wait to lock him up.
“Obviously we want to keep our best players here for the long term,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said earlier this month. “And he's certainly one of our best players. So that's something we'll keep all the contract talks internal but we'd definitely like to keep Jalen Hurts here long term.”
Aside from their normal organizational philosophy to sign key players early, there might be even more incentive for the Eagles to move with urgency. Because Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are also eligible for contract extensions this offseason. Whichever player gets signed first might become the floor for the remaining deals. We’re talking about a deal that will probably start in the $45 million APY range.
The Eagles were burned when they signed Carson Wentz to a long-term deal — it just didn’t work out — but they can’t be gun-shy about this. They have faith in the 24-year-old Hurts and know he’s their franchise quarterback.
But in such an important offseason, it would probably help to get this Hurts deal completed before moving forward with everything else they need to do.
“I think we have a good sense of what we need to do here,” Roseman said. “We have a little bit of time here, too, to kind of figure it out and get away and discuss that. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is keeping our best players here. And Jalen's certainly one of our best players.”
Laying the groundwork
NFL free agency doesn’t really begin until the negotiating window opens on March 13. Until then, the Eagles have exclusive negotiating rights with all their pending free agents. And this offseason that’s a long list including players like Javon Hargrave, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Miles Sanders, Isaac Seumalo, T.J. Edwards, Marcus Epps, Kyzir White and more.
This is a chance for Roseman and other front office members to meet face-to-face with the representatives for those players. Just about everyone goes to Indy for the combine and deals are often struck — or at least groundwork is laid — during this week.
And it’s also a chance for Roseman to speak with other general managers. Back in 2016, the first trade the Eagles used to move up and get Wentz really started at the combine. He spoke with then-Dolphins GM Mike Tannenbaum and was eventually able to unload Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso in a move to go from 13 to 8. It started in Indy.
Talking to the brass
Both Roseman and Sirianni are scheduled to speak with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. They spoke at the end of the season, which wasn’t that long ago, but many of those questions were still about the season and the Super Bowl. Now it’s time to move forward.
Roseman is scheduled to speak from the Indiana Convention Center at 3:30 on Tuesday, followed by Sirianni at 3:45. Always a ton of information to come from these guys on this day.
Hello, old friends
Most head coaches and general managers speak from podiums to reporters during this week. And the Eagles have a ton of connections around the league, including their two coordinators from the 2022 season.
Here’s a list of some others with ties to the team:
Jets GM Joe Douglas: 11 a.m.
Chiefs HC Andy Reid: 12 p.m.
Chiefs GM Brett Veach: 12:15 p.m.
Jaguars HC Doug Pederson: 12:30 p.m.
Browns GM Andrew Berry: 1 p.m.
Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles: 1 p.m.
Cardinals HC Jonathan Gannon: 2:15 p.m.
Texans HC DeMeco Ryans: 1 p.m.
Panthers HC Frank Reich: 1:30 p.m.
Ravens HC John Harbaugh: 2 p.m.
Colts HC Shane Steichen: 3:45 p.m.
Oh yeah … the picks
While there is always so much other stuff going on at the combine, the reason everyone is there in the first place is because of the draft prospects. The Eagles are scheduled to have six picks in this year’s class:
Of course, Roseman loves to trade so the Eagles aren’t going to simply stay put and pick six players in those slots. It would even be surprising if he drafts players at No. 10 and No. 30 in the first round.
But there are plenty of options this year.
On a national conference call last week, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said this class had good corners, edge rushers, tight ends and running backs. The Eagles could certainly use some help at several of those positions.
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