ESPN recently revealed their annual offseason grades for all 32 NFL teams. The grades are formed by Mike Sando, who compiles input from “15 NFL executives, coaches and evaluators.” You can check out the entire thing via ESPN In$ider. This year, the insiders gave the Philadelphia Eagles a "B-" rating. Here's their explanation.
An analytics director who remains unconvinced on Carson Wentz ultimately said he projected significant gains in production for the second-year Eagles quarterback based on Philly's offseason moves. New receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith probably will not grow together with Wentz for years to come, but their combined 2017 cap charge is less than what Jeffery earned on the franchise tag last season.
"I did like some of the pieces they added, including the little running back [Donnel Pumphrey] who broke Marshall Faulk's records at San Diego State," a personnel director said. "I think everything there will move toward being more productive, especially on offense. We will see what happens on defense, if they can just hold up on defense."
A word of warning from another evaluator: "Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are injury-prone guys. They will be injured."
Jeffery has missed games across multiple seasons. Smith, 28, has not. The four games he missed last season are the only regular-season games he has missed in his career. He did undergo hernia surgery early in his career.
Thoughts and notes
• The Eagles earned a “B” from NFL insiders over the past two offseasons. Now they’re slightly worse this wear with a “B-” grade. Oh no!
• Nine teams earned better grades than the Eagles. 15 teams had worse grades. Philadelphia is tied with eight other teams with a "B" rating.
• The “analytics director who remains unconvinced on Carson Wentz” must work for the Browns, right?
• Alshon Jeffery is only here on a one-year deal, yes, but it’s premature to say “he probably won’t grow with Wentz for years to come.” The Eagles can easily retain Jeffery if they make him the priority next offseason. And he only turned 27 this offseason so he figures to have plenty of good football left.
• Torrey Smith is clearly a different story. He’s essentially here on a one-year deal; he only received $500,000 guaranteed. But given the team option years in his contract, it’s still possible he could last if he plays well in 2017.
• Kind of funny the NFL insiders would highlight Donnel Pumphrey as one of the Eagles’ biggest offensive additions. Nothing against Pumphrey, but the fourth-round pick doesn’t really project to have a huge role as a rookie.
• Injuries are definitely a concern with Jeffery. Can’t argue there. Still a really intriguing talent, though.
• Pretty funny how Sando called out the NFL guy who inaccurately said Smith, who has barely missed any playing time, is injury prone. Kind of makes you wonder what else they’re getting wrong!
• This explanation from ESPN wasn’t particularly insightful. It basically just said: “Wentz might not be good and the weapons the team got him might not end up working out.” Cool, thanks.
• If I had to sum up the Eagles’ offseason and give a grade, I’d say the team did a nice job of prioritizing the acquisition of weapons for Wentz. That was the number one focus. I would have had more issue with Philadelphia’s offseason had they not signed LeGarrette Blount. Addressing the running back position was important.
The Eagles also made an effort to solidify the trenches, which is always smart. The team re-signed Stefen Wisniewski and added Chance Warmack in free agency. On defense, Philadelphia selected Derek Barnett with the No. 14 pick overall pick and added a very nice piece in Timmy Jernigan.
For all the positives to be said, it’s still fair to wonder if the Eagles did enough at cornerback. They spent two high draft picks on the position (Sidney Jones and Rasul Dougals) and signed Patrick Robinson, yes, but the group still looks like the team’s biggest weakness headed into 2017.
• Overall, I think a “B-” grade is too harsh. I’d go with at least a “B+” rating. Now that I’ve corrected this great injustice, feel free to continue with your day.
Now it's your turn. How would you grade the Eagles offseason?
Grade the Eagles' 2017 offseason.
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