One huge reason the future looks bright for the Eagles


Their oldest skill player is 27. Their oldest linebacker is 27. Nearly half the roster is 24 or younger. They have just five players in their 30s.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman dramatically reshaped the Eagles’ roster this offseason, and he did it with an eye not just on talent but also on youth.

A week before opening day, with the final 53-man opening-day roster presumably set, the Eagles have the sixth-youngest team in the NFL, according to figures compiled by Spotrac.

It’s not easy to add key pieces who are still young, but Roseman managed to do it with guys like 23-year-old Trey Sermon, 24-year-old Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and 25-year-old A.J. Brown. 

Four 2021 opening-day starters in their 30s are gone: Brandon Brooks, Zach Ertz, Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris, as well as Ryan Kerrigan, who was in the defensive end rotation.

The only remaining Eagles in their 30s are Darius Slay (30), Fletcher Cox (31), Lane Johnson (32) and Brandon Graham and Jason Kelce (34). Of that group, only Slay and Johnson are under contract for 2023.

And several other players in their late 20s — Steven Nelson, Alex Singleton, Jordan Howard, Hassan Ridgeway, Richard Rodgers — have been replaced by younger guys.

There isn’t a lot of middle ground on the roster. There are 12 guys who are 23 or younger, 11 who are 24, seven 25-year-olds and eight 26-year-olds.

That means 72 percent of the roster hasn’t reached its 27th birthday. 

Only eight position players are older than 27: Isaac Seumalo (28), James Bradberry and Javon Hargrave (29) and Slay, Cox, Johnson, Graham and Kelce.

The oldest skill player on the roster is Zach Pascal, who’s 27 and doesn’t turn 28 until late December. The oldest linebacker is Reddick, who turns 28 later this month. Eight of 10 defensive backs and seven of 10 offensive linemen are 26 or younger. Average age of the wide receivers is 24 years, nine months. Average age of the 50 position players is 25.6.  

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Since he let the Super Bowl team stay intact a little too long and the Eagles were the NFL’s most injured team from 2018 through 2020, Roseman has really tried to build the Eagles roster with an eye on youth. 

All the analytics say younger players stay healthier than older players, and the combination of a young roster last year — the Eagles were second-youngest in the league with a 25.3 average — and changes in the team’s practice routine helped the Eagles remain one of the league’s healthiest teams, and that certainly had a lot to do with their 6-1 late-season record.

That approach — first championed here more than 20 years ago by Andy Reid and Joe Banner — means moving on from older, more popular players. But if you draft well and pick and choose younger free agents — things Roseman has achieved the last two years — you have a chance to wind up with a young, talented and healthy roster.

And that’s something the Eagles appear to have.

According to Spotrac, the Browns have the NFL’s youngest roster at 25.30, followed by the Lions (25.42), Jaguars (25.57), Cowboys and Giants (25.58) and Eagles. So three of the six-youngest teams in the league are in the NFC East. And Washington is 12th.

The five oldest teams are the Bills (26.92), Cards (27.06), Patriots (27.25), Saints (27.25) and Buccaneers (27.32). Interesting that the Bucs’ average would drop to 26.98 without Tom Brady.

What about the most important position on the field? Jalen Hurts, who just turned 24 last month, is the seventh-youngest projected starting quarterback in the league.

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