Around this time of year, most NFL teams are trying to figure out their offseason plan. Whether it be preparing their draft board or even trying to negotiate with their top players, most teams are in the early stages of the NFL offseason.
The Philadelphia Eagles are steps ahead of everyone else, and thus far have had the best offseason before it’s even really started.
The Eagles have made the early headlines in the NFL by retaining some of their best players before free agency even begins. First, Philadelphia was able to lock up both tackle Jason Peters and lineman Jason Kelce to multi-year, team-friendly deals to keep the offensive line intact. Then, they brought back some targets for Nick Foles to throw the ball to.
Incredibly, both receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper were re-signed to return to the Eagles next season. Cooper was signed to a five-year deal worth $25 million, while Maclin signed a one-year, $6 million contract as he returns from an ACL injury. Bringing back both targets and re-signing two of their best lineman gives the Eagles one of the best, most explosive offenses in football next year.
The team already set franchise records in points scored a season ago, and adding Maclin to this attack could give the Eagles one of the best offenses ever. It’s a little too early to say, but things do seem to look “Sunny in Philadelphia.”
What does this mean for the Eagles going forward? Essentially, they have already solved most of their own free agency problems before it even began. They are still well under the salary cap, and still have enough money to rebuild the defense in free agency and the NFL draft. Philadelphia knows that to be one of the best teams in football, they must improve their defense which was ranked last against the pass in 2013.
The Eagles know that, despite retaining their players to team-friendly deals, bringing in more defensive players is a major priority. The team has already said they are looking to concentrate on defense in free agency and on safety in the draft. Philadelphia knew its problems weren’t on the offensive side of the ball, which is why they took care of this problem so early. Now, the Eagles can actually begin to focus on defense and building a championship roster.
There should be a lot of credit given to general manager Howie Roseman and the front office in Philadelphia for getting these deals done. It’s extremely difficult to bring back every key player in an offseason. However, somehow, Philadelphia managed to get it done and can now move on in free agency without these questions looming.
Signing these players to more team-friendly, long-term deals shows how the culture has changed a little bit in Philadelphia. Cooper and Maclin probably could have gotten better money on the free agent market. Despite this, they decided to return because they know they have a chance to win a championship in Philadelphia. Not only did Philadelphia bring back talented players, but also the right players that want to win now.
The Eagles certainly aren’t done this offseason. It seems like their plan is being executed to perfection. If all goes according to plan, who knows, Philadelphia could win its first Super Bowl next season.