Over The Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald put together an interesting list of all 32 NFL teams ranked by roster turnover. Several factors were used in determining the list, which you can read more about here.
You might find it interesting that the Philadelphia Eagles rank among the teams with the most continuity (aka fewest turnover) heading into 2017.
30. Eagles - When the Eagles made all those aggressive contract extensions in early 2016 I said that the team was going to be a WYSIWYG team for the next two or three years and they are holding that pattern. The team lost only 0.9% of their snaps on offense and was able to find a way to add Blount, Jeffery, and Smith so they need Carson Wentz to show a big leap this year to get more out of the team. They sacrificed a bit on defense to keep adding to the offense by letting Bennie Logan walk and cutting Connor Barwin, but the defense was a problem either way.
Note that the 0.9% figure was calculated before the Eagles cut Dorial Green-Beckham. DGB played 56.7% of Philadelphia’s offensive snaps last season but he was pretty bad so it’s not like the Eagles are losing much.
As Fitzgerald notes, it’s not a surprise that the Eagles have so much continuity. The team spent the most guaranteed money in the league last offseason to lock in what they deemed to be their core.
Still, that core needed more improvements, especially when it came to the team’s offensive weapons. Carson Wentz now has some legitimate NFL talent to work with in Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and LeGarrette Blount. It’ll take some time to build chemistry with those guys, but even without that it’s easy to figure they’ll be an improvement on last year’s abysmal supporting cast.
As far as the defense goes, I don’t consider Logan and Barwin to be significant losses. They are good players, yes, but Timmy Jernigan and Derek Barnett could figure to be upgrades.
It seems a little funny to think the Eagles didn’t have a lot of roster turnover given all the additions I just listed but you have to put things in perspective. Some teams went through a lot of changes this offseason, such as the Dallas Cowboys.
2. Cowboys - Just based on turnover alone this is the one playoff team that stands to have a major shift. Gone are Ronald Leary, Doug Free, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Barry Church, Terrell McClain, JJ Wilcox, and Jack Crawford with the incoming veterans being Byron Bell, Stephen Paea, and Nolan Carroll. Dallas simply is not in a position, especially with more extensions coming for their linemen, to keep anybody which is a tough pill to swallow for a team that was so good last year. It isn’t that these players are not replaceable, its just that having to replace so many in one year is not an easy thing to accomplish. This is an example of why I mentioned about the Ravens decisions on older guys. Imagine if Dallas doesn’t blow nearly $9 million of cap room on a Greg Hardy, which there was no justification for doing. All this stuff adds up and that money basically would have kept a Leary or two of the guys in the secondary for another year to lessen the blow.
So the Cowboys couldn’t keep some of their good players because they previously spent money on an embarrassment like Hardy. Karma.
It’ll be real interesting to see how the Cowboys fare in 2017 after coming off a 13-3 season. Dallas obviously still has some key pieces in place with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, etc. But the team could be due for regression after losing a bunch of noteworthy contributors.
The offensive line changes are especially notable because that’s typically the Cowboys’ strength and the team’s replacement options are questionable. La’el Collins at right tackle isn’t a sure thing. Jonathan Cooper starting at guard after being cut by the Patriots and Browns isn’t encouraging.
The value of continuity is up for debate. Some might suggest it’s not good that the Eagles didn’t have a lot of roster turnover after going 7-9 last year. Philadelphia did rank tied for ninth in point differential and tied for seventh in turnover differential, however. There’s reason to believe they were better than their record indicated. Staying the course could pay off for the team in 2017.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, seem poised to take some sort of step back. It’s not like they’ll suddenly be one of the worst teams in the league, but the gap between them and the Eagles should close this season.