ESPN might be sleeping on the Philadelphia Eagles when it comes to their NFL power rankings, but the worldwide leader certainly isn't shy about showing the Birds some love for the moves they made this offseason. Mike Sando (In$ider) graded the free agency moves for all 32 NFL teams this offseason and the Eagles all the way at the top of the league with an "A" rating. Check it out.
Finding teams to take the Murray and Maxwell contracts made this free agency period a success independent of whether firing Chip Kelly was the right move for Philadelphia.
"It is a makeover," Polian said, "but unlike in Cleveland, it is a makeover that you can say, 'Oh, yeah, this makes sense, this makes sense, this guy fits.' Now, how well they play remains to be seen, but at least you can see things fitting."
Dominik liked the Eagles moving from 13th to eighth in the first-round order because he sees nine blue-chip players in this draft, counting two quarterbacks. He thought the Eagles' trades allowed them to dump salaries while recouping draft capital roughly equivalent to the second-round pick they sent to St. Louis in the Sam Bradford trade last offseason. Dominik credited the Eagles for anticipating the market as well as any team in the league when re-signing their players.
"They went a little steep with Curry, but he will fit Jim Schwartz," Riddick said. "Bradford is a good fit for Doug Pederson. Nolan Carroll they respected. They paid top money for Brandon Brooks, but needed to do something there. Rodney McLeod, I love how he plays. Chase Daniel should have started over Alex Smithat one point last season. I like Nigel Bradham physically. And then to be able to get rid of Maxwell and Alonso and DeMarco and then moving Mark Sanchez is amazing. I'd be dancing a jig in the middle of Broad Street."
ESPN isn't the first media outlet to heap praise on the Eagles. Earlier this month, CBS Sports also gave the Eagles the best free agency grade of any team. It's painfully clear that the Eagles are now destined for their first Super Bowl win this season.
Hyperbole aside, it's easy to see why the Eagles earned good grades. First and foremost, the Birds put effort into re-signing their own players. Then they filled holes in free agency by signing some young players with upside (Brandon Brooks, Rodney McLeod). They didn't hand out any ridiculous contracts like they did last year with Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray. Rather, they traded those disappointments to free up cap space and improve the team's positioning in the 2016 NFL Draft. It remains to be seen how Philadelphia's signings play out once the season starts, but for now it's hard not to like their approach. #TrustTheProcess, you guys.
As I wrote last week, Howie Roseman deserves a lot of credit for the way the Eagles have operated this offseason. It's a stark contrast from how Chip Kelly set the team up for failure in 2015. Before going too carried away on the hype train, however, it needs to be pointed out that big questions remain. We still don't know if Doug Pederson can coach. We also don't know if the Eagles have a franchise quarterback or not. Those are the two big ticket items that could ultimately make or break Roseman's tenure in Philadelphia.
The 2016 NFL Draft will also be key for the future of this team. Quarterback is obviously a position of interest. The team also needs to address their aging offensive line and add depth to other areas of the roster. But for now, so far, so good for the Birds. I think the "A" rating is fair.
Around the NFC East, the Washington Redskins and New York Giants earned a "B+" while the Dallas Cowboys finished last in the division with a "C" rating.