ESPN recently revealed their annual offseason grades for all 32 NFL teams. The entire report card is formed by Mike Sando, who compiled input from “more than a dozen decision-makers around the league.” You can check out the entire thing via ESPN In$ider. This year, the Philadelphia Eagles were given a “C+” rating. The explanation:
The Eagles lost their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after shredding New England’s defense in the Super Bowl. They traded away their 2018 first-round pick in a deal that netted Baltimore’s 2019 second-rounder. They acquired defensive lineman Michael Bennett and cornerback Daryl Worley, only to release Worley following his arrest on charges that included DUI (they kept Bennett after he surrendered on a felony assault charge and denied wrongdoing).
”Do you think the locker room is better than last year, the same or has gotten worse?” an evaluator asked.
The implication was that adding outsiders such as Bennett and Mike Wallace while subtracting past contributors such as Vinny Curry, Mychal Kendricks and Brent Celek could throw off whatever it was that helped the Eagles claim their first victory in a Super Bowl. But does a Super Bowl champ ever return intact? Personnel challenges almost always await.
”They are trying to be a little bit like New England, tapping the last out of Bennett, the last out of [Haloti] Ngata,” an exec said. “You can understand why they got rid of guys on a case-by-case basis, but collectively, I might have wanted to keep the group together another year.”
- Take this activity for what it’s worth. Last year at this time, the Eagles earned a “B-” grade. That “B-” effort ultimately translated into Howie Roseman winning Executive of the Year. Oh, and the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
- Speaking of last year’s grades, the insiders pretty much got everything wrong!
An analytics director who remains unconvinced on Carson Wentz
Whoops. Convinced now?
New receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith probably will not grow together with Wentz for years to come
One for two.
I did like some of the pieces they added, including the little running back [Donnel Pumphrey]
A word of warning from another evaluator: “Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are injury-prone guys. They will be injured.”
Jeffery did suffer a torn rotator cuff, so he was injured, but he didn’t miss a single game. Smith didn’t miss a game, either. His issue was effectiveness more than availability but he really stepped it up in the playoffs.
- I think the insiders are off-base once again this year. I wouldn’t be concerned about locker room chemistry. The leadership of this team is still very much in place. Hell, it might actually be even better given that Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos, and Darren Sproles will be more involved now that they’re getting healthy.
- The “I might have wanted to keep the group together another year” line is silly to me because it ignores the Eagles’ cap situation. They didn’t have the option to keep everyone because they’re already paying a lot of good players. It’s unfortunate they had to lose some nice role players such as Patrick Robinson, Trey Burton, etc. but it’s not like those guys are totally irreplaceable. This roster still boasts a lot of talent and depth.
- I’d give the Eagles something like a B+ or A- for this offseason. It wasn’t a really flashy offseason due to their cap situation, but that’s OK. The biggest move was obviously acquiring Michael Bennett. Adding him to a pass rush unit that generated the most pressure in the NFL last year is going to be fun to watch. At the very least, he should help offset releasing Vinny Curry. And he might even be better. Speaking of potential upgrades, Mike Wallace should give the Eagles more than Torrey Smith did last year. He’ll also cost less than Smith would have. Signing Corey Nelson gives the Eagles a much more cost-effective option at weakside linebacker. Drafting Dallas Goedert gives Doug Pederson another weapon to utilize on third down and in the red zone. Bringing Sproles back was a no-brainer since he’s (probably) still one of the better punt returners in the league and obviously can make some things happen on offense as well. Overall, a bunch of pretty solid moves for the reigning Super Bowl champs.
- Another thing to weigh when grading the Eagles’ offseason is their preparation for the future. Wentz’s mega-contract could come as soon as next offseason. The Eagles are tight against the cap so draft picks will be more valuable than ever. And thanks to some moves made this offseason, Philadelphia is projected to own 11 selections in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Eagles are well-equipped to restock after this season.
- Somehow, 19 teams finished with better grades than the Eagles. Only eight finished with worse. Four other teams also finished with a “C+” grade.
- Around the NFC East: Washington was the only team to finish higher than the Eagles with a straight “B” grade. The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants only got “C” grades.
Grade the Eagles’ 2018 offseason.
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