One table, two men, one message.
Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas faced the media side by side Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after they reeled in the biggest free agent wide receiver on the market, luring Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles with a one-year deal. The two sat at a black table, water bottles and microphones resting on top.
Roseman and Douglas clearly came prepared to Friday’s presser armed with a singular message in mind: the whole team, and staff, matters. And when you’re trying to sign the guys you want, it’s important to use everyone at your disposal.
Especially personal relationships, continuing the tone from last offseason, when Roseman took back control from robotic Chip Kelly and Jeffrey Lurie emphasized emotional intelligence.
“Relationships matter,” Joe Douglas said in a moment of poignance Friday. “Us having guys in the building who have relationships with Alshon, guys like Mike Groh, guys like [director of pro personnel] Dwayne Joseph, he was a guy who was highly regarded in this building.”
Both Douglas and Roseman talked a lot about the importance of having personal connections, and in-person information, about Jeffery (and Warmack, and Smith) when figuring out who to add.
They were taking risks, Roseman said, as free agency often necessitates. But he felt good about the risks because of the guys the Eagles have in the building.
“Joe was in him with Chicago,” Roseman said. “Dwayne Joseph, our pro director, was with him in Chicago. Our wide receivers coach [Mike Groh] was with him in Chicago. Duce Staley, we all know about him in South Carolina. So we had a lot of information on him.
“The history of high-priced free agents [isn’t] good. We’ve looked at that. We’ve had experiences with that ourselves. But when you know the guy really well, and people have been around them, seen the day-to-day, seen how they are in the building, on the practice field, in the meeting room? It’s a huge advantage.
“We feel like we know our players really well because of that. So when guys come from other places and have worked with other guys, and have been able to tell us exactly what they are, it takes some of the risk involved out of it.”
As far as signing Jeffery to a one-year deal, Roseman said it wasn’t necessarily the Eagles’ intent to make him that kind of contract offer. But with the Eagles’... unique cap situation, it made sense to both parties.
“From our perspective, it was a win-win situation,” Roseman said. “When you have guys on one-year deals, you still have options. You have tags at your disposal, you have exclusive negotiation rights before free agency, and for us we thought it was a great opportunity to get a player who’s extremely talented and has something to prove, and wanted to be here.
“Obviously you like to have guys on longer deals, but we also have to look at the opportunities, and we said all along we’re going to try to be aggressive if the opportunity made sense. We just thought the contract made a lot of sense.”
Roseman said he and Jeffery’s camp had in-depth discussions about a lot of different scenarios, but doesn’t have any insight into potential long-term deals with the explosive wideout.
“We feel really confident that, when Alshon gets here and sees the passion this city has for our football team, gets around the people on and off the field, this will be the place he’ll want to be.”
Here are some more highlights from the presser:
Howie, on how he’ll resolve the team’s cap situation
I think from our perspective, the terms from any deal are probably different, because usually when you make these types of deals you’re able to pro-rate. But our cap people, led by Jake, do a great job, a tremendous job of putting us in situations to make us successful. You’ve got to be flexible at these times. I think our situation is tough this year, but as we look out, it continues to improve.
Howie, on whether offensive line moves mean Jason Kelce is gone
No. In fact, the first thing we talked about this morning was the outstanding depth we have on the offensive line. When you look at it, you can say you’re committed to the line, but your actions have to reflect that, and as we looked at our offensive line and the depth we had. We played five right tackles last year. We know we’re going to need those guys. It’s a position, around the league, people are looking for. So we’re excited, and our plan is to keep all those guys.
Howie, on what it means that free agents want to come to Philly
It’s a great compliment to Carson, and I think the rest of our offensive staff, and the team. When we’ve talked to these guys, they’re excited about our offensive line. They’re excited about some of the skill position guys we have here that can help them and compliment each other.
Howie, on the dynamic of working with Joe
Joe and I, we both have a passion. And what Joe and his staff do well is stand on the table for things they feel are important, and having conversations. We’re collaborating about everything, we’re talking about everything, and when you talk to Joe about a guy like Torrey, and what he is, and what he can bring to our football team on and off the field, what his skill set is, how he is every day in practice, and how strongly he feels about that, it makes you feel really good about making a move like this. It’s been a lot of fun, and obviously we’re really excited about the draft and working together on that. ... The past few days have been great.
Howie, on the role Alshon + Torrey can play as mentors
You have guys, Alshon for a guy like DGB, to watch Alshon and to see his skill set, and the traits he has, and for Nelson to get a chance to see Torrey, and see how he is every day. That was one of the big things Joe talked about since the day he walked in, having guys in the room who have done it before to help the players. It was a great example for us, just watching Atlanta and seeing [Vic] Beasley with Dwight Freeney. Those sorts of things, too. They have to be good players, because obviously you have a coaching staff to help guys with those things, but when players also have that leadership and are able to help our other guys, it’s really a positive.
Howie, on the defensive side of the ball
You don’t want to go into the draft having to have something, but by the same token, what we said last week is true: we’re trying to minimize risk, make smart decisions, and if a contract gets out of hand, and we’ve set a number and a price point for it, we’re going to walk away. ... We have to be uncomfortable with some things here. We’re not going to address everything right now, and if there’s a particular position that we don’t address right now, that doesn’t preclude us from doing something before the season starts, and certainly not in the draft.
Howie, on Bennie Logan’s chances of returning
We’re hopeful. Bennie’s a good player. We’re in communication with his representatives, and we’ll see how all this shakes out here.
Joe, on his process setting the free agency board
It’s a process very similar to setting the Draft board. There’s meetings with our pro scouts, and then our coaches. Everyone has a say. There’s lots of reports in the system on these guys. Alshon was a player we talked about.