Pederson wants an Eagles dynasty, which requires offseason sacrifices

Pederson wants an Eagles dynasty, which requires offseason sacrifices

We've all seen it. Teams win a Super Bowl, hit the banquet circuit, celebrate for a few weeks, celebrate for a few more weeks, players miss a workout here and there, miss a few more and when all of a sudden the football season arrives, they're just not ready.

There's a reason nobody has repeated since the 2003 and 2004 Patriots and no NFC team has repeated since the 1992 and 1993 Cowboys.

Every team says it wants to go back. Very few actually continue doing the things that got them there in the first place.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday part of his message to his players on locker clean-out day was to enjoy the moment, enjoy the celebration, but keep an eye on the big picture.

Pederson wants this to be a dynasty. Not a one-time thing.

"As you know, the nature of the business is you can't keep everybody, that's just the way it goes," Pederson said. "But the ones that are here? My mindset is to be back to do it again and to keep doing it and keep doing it."

The Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 Sunday night in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, the franchise's first championship in 57 years.

The Eagles' first two Super Bowl appearances were exciting but didn't lead to any sort of sustained success. After the loss to the Raiders in 1980, they didn't win another playoff game until 1992. And after losing to the Patriots in 2004, they went 33-30-1 over the next four years.

Pederson wants the wait for the championship to be a little bit shorter than 57 years. 

And he wanted to make sure his players understood what it will take for that happen before they head off in 53 separate directions after the parade on Thursday.

"These guys are well deserving of everything that they are going to be exposed to in the next coming weeks, coming months," Pederson said.

"And there's a side of success that's not the glamorous side, and it's the side that's … 'Who's going to hold out in OTAs? Who's going to want the next big contract? Who's going to miss this or that for an endorsement deal or an autograph signing? It's the not-so-glamorous side of success. 

"And that was a little bit of the messaging this morning to the guys. I told them, 'If you want, get used to this. This is the new norm in Philadelphia. Hopefully playing into February every year. It's the new norm so get used to it. Short offseasons. So let's do that.'

"The guys that want to be part of that, they'll do that. The guys that want to be here, and I think everybody does want to be here."

Pederson said it's a lesson that he needs to follow as well.

"I hold myself accountable," he said. "I'm just like the players. I can't accept every deal that's out there. I can't agree to every speaking engagement out there because my goal is to win another one, and if my time is spent doing other things then that's not the focus, and that's where we're at right now as a team."

Eagle Eye: Eagles facing a unique situation with Darren Sproles

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Eagle Eye: Eagles facing a unique situation with Darren Sproles

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss Darren Sproles' upcoming retirement. Does it put the Eagles in an awkward position on game days? Why do players care so much about their ratings in Madden? Also, Barrett shares how he decided on his jersey numbers throughout his football career?

1:00 - Derrick is back! What did he do with his time off?
5:30 - Barrett spent time with his grandson ... who ate pancakes with ketchup.
10:00 - Darren Sproles says 2018 will be his final year.
15:00 - Why do players care so much about their Madden ratings?
19:30 - If you can script your career, how would you want to retire?
22:30 - How did Barrett decide on his jersey numbers?

Subscribe and rate Eagle Eye: Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Howie Roseman using what he learned from Andy Reid

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Howie Roseman using what he learned from Andy Reid

One thing Andy Reid was spot on about during his long tenure with the Eagles was the importance of building around both lines. 

Big Red always made the offensive and defensive lines a priority, and during the Eagles’ stretch of deep playoff runs — from 2000 through 2009 — the O-line was anchored by guys like Jon Runyan, Tra Thomas, Jermane Mayberry and Todd Herremans and the D-line by Corey Simon, Trent Cole, Mike Patterson and Hugh Douglas.

During that 10-year stretch, the Eagles had the most wins in the NFC and the third-most wins in the NFL, and the one constant during that stretch was solid line play. 

Donovan McNabb was very good when healthy most of those seasons, and the Eagles always had good running backs and corners, but the heart of those teams was up front.

Just look at how Big Red drafted. Eight of his 11 first-round picks were linemen. After taking McNabb in 1999, all six of Reid's picks in the first half of the first round were linemen.

They obviously didn’t all work out, but Reid was committed to both lines, and Howie Roseman, then a young, rising personnel executive, was paying attention.

The Eagles have done a lot of things differently in the five years since Reid's final season here, but one thing Doug Pederson and Roseman believe in is building around the lines, and it sure paid off last year.

According to figures on salary cap website Spotrac, the Eagles in 2017 were the only team ranked among the top five in the NFL in both offensive line and defensive line spending.

And the only team that had a parade in February.

And they’re only going to spend more this year.

The Eagles will spend 22.36 percent of their 2018 cap money on the offensive line, fourth most in the league, and 28.84 percent to the defensive line, fifth most.

That’s more than half their 2018 payroll on the big guys up front.

The Jets — sixth in O-line spending, 10th in D-line — are the only other team in the top 10 in both.

Seven of the Eagles’ 10 highest-paid players last year were linemen, as are eight of their 13 projected highest-paid players in 2018.

And five of those guys — Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Vinny Curry and Jason Peters — are actually holdovers from the Reid era.

Think of them as Reid’s parting gifts to the 2017 championship team.

Creating a Super Bowl roster was a complicated process for Roseman, and to be able to make this sort of financial commitment to the two lines means you just don’t have much money left for everything else. 

The only way to make that work is to build with cheap labor elsewhere. 

And that means younger players on bargain-basement rookie contracts, cheap but productive quarterbacks and low-round picks and undrafted players with cheapo contracts excelling.

It means drafting well and making exceptional free-agent decisions without overspending.

It’s a crazy juggling act, and Roseman juggled all those things magnificentely last year.

In fact, according to Spotrac’s data, the two lines are the Eagles' only positional groups ranked even among the top 15 in the NFL.

The secondary and QB positions rank 16th in cap allocations, tight end 18th, running back 21st, wide receiver 27th, linebacker 31st and special teams 32nd.

These numbers are all based on the 53 highest-paid players currently under contract, so they will change slightly once the final roster is set, but they won’t change much.

The Eagles were very good in a lot of areas last year — really, in every area — but their offensive line was the best in football and the best in Eagles history, and the defensive line was easily one of the two- or three-best in football.

Everything the Eagles did, everything they accomplished, started up front.

Put Peters back on the O-line and add Haloti Ngata and Michael Bennett to the D-line with an increased role for Derek Barnett, and both lines could conceivably be even better this year.

It’s going to get harder for Roseman to keep paying the Eagles’ linemen the way he has. Once Carson Wentz signs his next contract, the Eagles’ entire salary cap balance will change. 

Those $25 million annual cap hits for one guy have a tendency to make roster decisions way more challenging.

So it will be tricky for the Eagles to re-sign Graham. He wants a fortune, and he deserves a fortune. 

But even if Roseman can’t get that done, Barnett has three more years on his rookie deal, and that’s the key to making this whole thing work. 

You can’t re-sign everybody, so if you want to remain elite, you have to draft well so you can replace the people you invariably lose.

You lose Patrick Robinson, you have Sidney Jones waiting. You lose LeGarrette Blount, there’s Corey Clement ready to go. You lose Mychal Kendricks, you hope a Nate Gerry can contribute. Trey Burton leaves, and Dallas Goedert is cheaper and better.

You get what you pay for. And the Eagles right now are paying for the best in the business.

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