ESPN has released their annual offseason grades for all 32 NFL teams. The grades are formed by a panel of four analysts: Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Mark Dominik, and Field Yates. You can check out the entire thing via ESPN In$ider. The analysts gave the Philadelphia Eagles a "B" rating. Here's their explanation.
"The quarterback situation in Philadelphia has looked like a disjointed mess at times. Why would the Eagles pay big money for Sam Bradford and then pay moderate money for Chase Daniel before going all-in for Carson Wentz with the second pick in the draft?
"What is the perfect-case scenario for them?" Yates asked. "If Bradford plays really well, do you trade him? That makes no sense. If he stinks, you not only cannot trade him, but you paid him $22 million in guaranteed money. The QB plan was very difficult for me to understand."
It wasn't so much a plan as it was a series of events.
"They had no choice at the time but to sign Bradford, and they paid a premium," Polian said. "Then they were able to acquire Daniel as the backup, which was fine. They had solidified the position. Miami hands them a premium pick for guys they didn't want anyway, and now they are able to parlay that into a trade up in three separate transactions to get what they believe is the quarterback of the future. What's wrong with that?"
Dominik and Riddick understood the Eagles seeing a quarterback they loved in the draft and doing what they needed to do in order to get him. Both liked the trade with Miami and supported the decisions Philly made to extend contracts with core players. Dominik and Polian questioned the quality of depth at running back. Riddick thought the Eagles selected too many players with character concerns later in the draft, but if Wentz pans out, few are likely to remember.
"They got rid of guys they didn't want and got back a valuable chip for which it allowed them to go up and get Wentz, the quarterback of the future," Polian said. "Defensively, the people they have by design and the people they added by design fit what Jim Schwartz does very well, so they should be improved there. And if they are, they have a chance."
Thoughts and notes:
• Eight teams earned better grades than the Eagles. 17 teams had a worse grade. Philadelphia is tied with six other teams with a "B" rating.
• The Eagles also earned a "B" rating for last offseason. ESPN then revised their 2015 offseason grades after the regular season and gave the Eagles the worst grade of any NFL team. Whoops!
• To no surprise, most of the discussion here involves the Eagles' quarterback situation. I don't completely agree that it's a "disjointed mess." The Eagles have lacked a sure-fire franchise quarterback since the days of Donovan McNabb. So they set out this offseason to fix that problem. They didn't put all their eggs in one basket. They're not banking on Bradford to stay healthy and suddenly become a franchise quarterback after being mediocre at best for his entire career. They're not asking the 29-year-old Daniel to suddenly become a starter after only starting two games to this point in his career. They're not forcing Wentz into action right away and pressuring him to become the franchise's immediate savior. Rather, they're trying to be competitive in the short-term (Bradford) while realistically planning for the long-term (Wentz). Meanwhile, Daniel is a solid backup to have in both scenarios. It's easy to ask "why did the Eagles re-sign Bradford if they were going to draft Wentz" in hindsight, but no one knew at the time that Philadelphia would be able to trade up to No. 2 overall.
• If Bradford plays really well this season, which isn't likely based on his injury history and career body of work, then the Eagles can always just keep him for next season. If he's average, the Eagles can try to trade him. If he's terrible and has no trade value, the Eagles can easily cut him for a savings of $13 million ($17 million if another team signs him).
• The quality of running back talent on Philadelphia's roster is definitely a concern, as we've highlighted many times before.
• The Eagles may have felt like it was necessary to gamble on players with character concerns late in the draft. Philadelphia surrendered a number of draft picks in the Wentz trade, so they had to figure out a way to compensate for that. Gambling on talented players that come with red flags could be a risk worth taking. If they prove to be trouble, it won't be hard to cut them.
• Jim Schwartz was arguably the Eagles' best addition this offseason.
• In the Dolphins' grade blurb, Riddick said the Eagles "fleeced" Miami in the trade that sent Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso down to South Beach.
• There was skepticism about Howie Roseman's return to power this offseason but he's won back some support. Nearly 75% of Eagles fans polled here on Bleeding Green Nation currently approve of him.
Now it's your turn. How would you grade the Eagles offseason?