This Offseason, the Eagles Are Taking Care Of Their Nest First

PHILADELPHIA PA - DECEMBER 02: Trent Cole #58 of the Philadelphia Eagles takes the field during player introductions against the Houston Texans at Lincoln Financial Field on December 2 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Football isn't normally a place for symbolism, but Eagles' moves over the past two days have sent a strong message: We are taking care of our own.

After last year's free agency blizzard that saw everyone else get paid, the Eagles' front office appears to have learned its lesson. (Sure, that lesson may come with a $51 million dollar price tag, but it's a good one to learn nonetheless.)

Last offseason the Eagles spent $6 million between Vince Young and Steve Smith, two players who contributed next to nothing last season. Meanwhile, the front office allowed DeSean Jackson to remain criminally underpaid. We don't need yet another rehashing of this story; suffice it to say Jackson wasn't thrilled.

This time around, things appear different. Instead of rushing out of the gates and singing every free agent they can, the team sat back and worked on getting its own house in order first. Todd Herremans and Trent Cole, inarguably two of the franchise's best players, received new contracts.

While you can argue that Jackson didn't deserve a new deal after the way he played (and I use the term loosely) last season, the contract makes sense in context. The front office looks to be saying that this offseason is about keeping the band together and making things work in-house.

And this makes sense. The linebacker position has received so much attention in large part because there are few other holes to talk about. Assuming Evan Mathis returns (which is still up in the air), there are virtually no holes on offense, save for a legitimate red zone threat. For many teams, that's a luxury position. Defensively the team has a few moves to make, but the line is darn close to elite, and the corner spots have great potential. Add to that a solid free agent linebacker, maybe a safety, and a couple of smart draft picks? The Eagles will be looking much better than last season.

Winning franchises don't do what the 2011 Eagles did in free agency. They do what the 2012 Eagles are doing: take care of your guys; fill a few holes via free agency, and draft well. While it's still early in the offseason, and though we can certainly discuss the team's draft strategy, this offseason has gotten off to a positive start.

For news, notes and obsessive free agency updates, follow Patrick on Twitter at @PatrickWall_NFL

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