Roseman explains why offseason spending spree differs from Eagles' last 2


The numbers are staggering. The Eagles have doled out nearly $300 million in guaranteed money this offseason, as Howie Roseman continues to try to undo the damage left behind by Chip Kelly and return the Eagles to respectability.
They’ve signed free agents. They’ve re-signed their own draft picks. They’ve signed quarterback after quarterback. They’ve re-signed veterans. They opened up the vault to make Fletcher Cox one of the richest football players in history.
The Eagles have gotten themselves in trouble in the past with offseason spending sprees. Eagles fans still have nightmares about Nnamdi, Babin and the Dream Team of 2011. The spending spree a year ago that landed the Eagles Byron Maxwell, DeMarco Murray, Kiko Alonso and Sam Bradford was equally ill-fated.
Roseman, his powers restored after a year in exile, has shed the Eagles of most of Kelly’s big-money acquisitions and tried to reshape the roster with young players the Eagles can build around.
Whether that leads to a return to the NFL elite after seven straight years without a playoff victory — and 55 years without a championship — remains to be seen. But on Thursday, Roseman spoke at length about his plan for the roster and what makes the Eagles’ latest spending spree different from the last two.
“When we sat down and looked at our roster, we felt like there were a bunch of players we wanted to keep here,” said Roseman, the Eagles' general manager from 2010 to 2014 and now executive vice president of football operations. “And for us to have a run of sustained success like we were fortunate to have from 1999 to 2008, where we went to five championship games, that we needed some continuity.
“There's been a lot of change. I take responsibility for a lot of change that has been made, but going forward, we're hoping to not have that change. And the longer that we wait on contracts for players, the closer they get to free agency, the more it's going to cost us. It's just the nature of the game. ...
“That requires doing some things early. That requires some risk on our part.
“The second part of this is obviously we don't have as many draft picks as we've had (because of the Carson Wentz trade). So knowing that we have holes filled and we do look at our 2018 depth chart, we do look at our 2019 depth chart, we knew that we had to get a little uncomfortable for this season and next season, really, to build something that hopefully lasts and gives us a chance at being a really good team again for a long period of time.”
The Eagles’ offseason signings fall into three basic categories:
• Second deals for their own draft picks: guys like Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson, Vinny Curry and Cox.
• Unrestricted free agents on their second contract: Brandon Brooks, Leodis McKelvin, Rodney McLeod, Chase Daniel, Nigel Bradham.
• Re-signing their own veterans: Malcolm Jenkins, Brent Celek, Sam Bradford.
With the exception of Celek, they’re all in their 20s.
This offseason has been largely about trying to replicate the early days of the Andy Reid administration, and this is how Reid built some very good teams, by drafting well and making sure productive young veterans stayed around. Brian Westbrook, Sheldon Brown, Lito Sheppard, Donovan McNabb, Tra Thomas, Hugh Douglas, Dawk, etc.
“The majority of the guys that we've signed, they are second-contract guys,” Roseman said. “They are guys that are 25 and 26. But even when it was Coach Reid and Joe (Banner), they had a philosophy of extending guys.
“I think Troy (Vincent) went into his third contract. Brian Westbrook went into his third contract. (Jon) Runyan went into his third contract. I’m probably missing a couple guys. But there are unique players that kind of transcend where they are in their careers because of the leadership they bring, because of the skill set they bring.
“When you look at the Giants, the Steelers, the Colts, the Patriots, the Packers, the Seahawks, they have a core group of guys, a big core group of guys that they are building with together. They are going through things together. That strengthens your team. That strengthens your bond.”
Including a season-ending win over the Giants with Pat Shurmur serving as interim head coach after Kelly's firing, the Eagles went 7-9 last year, their second straight year out of the playoffs. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2008 and haven’t won a home playoff game since 2006.
Which raises the question: Why work so hard to keep together a team that finished under .500?
“The honest answer is we were 7-9 and we're not sitting here and talking about being the '85 Bears that were this dominant team,” Roseman said.
“But when you look at the teams that are really good teams and have a chance to be great teams, it's because they have a core group of players that they keep together. And when you’re changing guys in and out and you're losing good players that you invested draft picks, it's hard to build anything. It’s hard to sustain anything.”
Listening, Chip?
“So we know we have a lot of other areas that we have to improve," Roseman said. "It would have been much easier from all of our perspectives to invest in guys that could just make this year's team better. But we felt like we had to put ourselves in a position to have at some point a run of success where it's not just piecemeal year-to-year.
“We have a lot of work to do here. But we can't do it without good players. We have to keep our good players and then build layers on top of it.”
What the Eagles are trying to do only works if you draft well. The jury is still out on the last couple drafts, but the Eagles’ drafting has been uneven for most of the last decade, which is probably the single biggest reason the Eagles have only three postseason wins since the 2004 Super Bowl season.
More teams are keeping their own players, which dilutes free agency and makes it even more important to draft well.
“Free agency isn't what it was even five or six years ago,” Roseman said. “So how are you getting good players? You've got to keep your own, you've got to draft well and then hopefully augment it in some way with free agency or trades. But that free agency aspect is getting harder. It's getting more competitive and that was part of our calculation.”

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