Howie Roseman has had a busy off-season.
Since the Eagles painful loss to the New Orleans Saints in the final moments of the NFC Divisional playoff game, Roseman, Joe Douglas and the rest of the player personnel staff have been working hard to try and get the Birds back to the Super Bowl. And, based on the moves made so far, it certainly looks as if they’ve put together a roster that is capable of doing that.
By my count, Roseman and Co. have made 27 moves of consequence this offseason. Below is my ranking of them, starting with the least impactful for the 2019 season and ending with the most impactful.
28. Signed LB Paul Worrilow to a one-year contract through 2019.
With the signing of L.J. Fort, Zach Brown and potentially T.J. Edwards, Worrilow will have to excel in special teams to stick with the team this season.
27. Selected QB Clayton Thorson with the 167th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The quarterback position is always an important one, and Thorson is Doug Pederson’s first developmental QB selected through the draft. That said, unless a catastrophe happens to Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld, Thorson should not even sniff the field in 2019.
26. Acquired DT Hassan Ridgeway from Indianapolis in exchange for the 246th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Ridgeway was a former 4th round pick by the Colts in 2016 and played three seasons there, six six starts, 41 total tackles and 4.5 sacks. At the moment, he might not even make the team as he sits behind defensive tackle behind Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and Tim Jernigan, and will have to battle it out with Bruce Hector and Treyvon Hester for a roster spot out of camp.
25. Eagles sign undrafted free agent LB T.J. Edwards.
The Wisconsin star didn’t get drafted, and there is a reason for that. In a weak class for linebackers, the college star doesn’t have the athleticism that knocks your socks off. But he made plays in college and is seen as the UDFA most likely to make the team this summer.
24. Signed K Jake Elliott and LS Rick Lovato to one-year contracts through 2019.
There really wasn’t much of a doubt that Elliott would be back this year, but it’s always good to have a clutch kicker on the roster. Even if he does miss the occasional extra point.
23. Agreed to a re-worked contract with S Rodney McLeod through 2019.
When McLeod went down last year, it took two months for the secondary to figure things out. Having a healthy McLeod back starting opposite Malcolm Jenkins will go a long way to fortifying a deep, if unspectacular, secondary.
22. Signed TE Richard Rodgers to a two-year contract.
Rodgers won’t see the field much on offense, with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert getting most of the reps. But Rodgers would step in if there is an injury, and he’s a reliable special teams player as well.
21. Selected DE Shareef Miller with the 138th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
With the retirement of Chris Long, the Eagles fourth-round pick could provide some real value as part of Jim Schwartz’ edge-rusher rotation. He’ll battle with Josh Sweat for time, and the Eagles hope he makes it an interesting battle.
20. Selected OT Andre Dillard with the 22nd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Dillard’s selection was an absolutely huge move by Roseman and Douglas... for 2020 and beyond. For 2019, the hope is Jason Peters will play the majority of snaps and, if he doesn’t, Halapoulivaati Vaitai might be the next man up, unless Vaitai is traded before the season begins. Dillard’s the left tackle of the future, but not the present.
19. Claimed S Blake Countess off of waivers.
18. Agreed to terms with S Andrew Sendejo on a one-year contract.
The Eagles have some interesting decisions to make with their No. 3 safety spot. They claimed Coutess off waivers and gave him a decent contract for a reason, and if the Birds release Sendejo, they most likely get a fourth-round compensatory pick back. Sendejo has a chance to be the more impactful player, but those draft picks are gold.
17. Selected WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside with the 57th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The big question is whether the big-bodied wideout will beat out Mack Hollins for WR4. If he does, he could move up these rankings.
16. QB Nate Sudfeld signed his RFA tender.
Obviously, we could be talking a LOT about Sudfeld if Carson Wentz suffers another injury this year. The Eagles are really rolling the dice with the unproven youngster to be the back-up QB of an offense with Super Bowl aspirations.
15. Agreed to terms with CB Ronald Darby on a one-year contract.
It was a bit of a surprise that Darby came back, but his inability to stay on the field consistently hurt his market. He should be an important part of a unit that may not have a superstar but has a significant number of competent players.
14. Signed G/C Stefen Wisniewski and QB Cody Kessler to one-year contracts.
This is more about Wisniewski than Kessler. The Eagles are one Lane Johnson PED test away from having a huge hole on the right side of the offensive line, and no one is really sure when Brandon Brooks is coming back. Having Wiz in the fold, someone who knows the offense and knows what his role will be, gives the team the depth they need at the second most important unit on the team.
13. Selected RB Miles Sanders with the 53rd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
It’s unclear exactly what Sanders’ role on the team will be (3rd down back, Jay Ajayi role?), but with Jordan Howard and the enigmatic Corey Clement in the backfield, Sanders has a chance to be the team’s big-play back they didn’t have last year. He’s a legitimate candidate for Rookie of the Year.
12. Signed LB L.J. Fort to a three-year contract through 2021.
11. Signed LB Zach Brown to a one-year contract.
Perhaps I over-value the linebacker position, but when a team has competent linebackers who help create turnovers, it can really make a defense dynamic. The Eagles didn’t have that last year. It’s unclear if Fort or Brown will start beside Nigel Bradham, and if so, how Schwartz will utilize his new toys. But the Eagles went out and got depth and talent at linebacker, which was good to see.
10. Agreed to terms with DT Tim Jernigan on a one-year contract.
Jernigan’s signing was a depth move that gives the Eagles three solid, pass-rushing linemen on the inside. Depth, depth, depth.
9. Signed DE Vinny Curry to a one-year contract.
It’s unclear how much Curry has left in the tank, and it’s interesting the team chose to go with Curry over guaranteeing Chris Long a certain amount of playing time. But if Curry can recapture some of his old glory in a defense that’s perfect for him, he’ll be an important part of the Eagles’ valued D-line rotation. If he doesn’t, the D-line could be in real trouble.
8. Acquired a 2020 5th-round draft choice from the New England Patriots in exchange for DE Michael Bennett and a 2020 7th-round draft choice.
Trading Bennett for nothing more than a 5th rounder seems like a mistake. This could come back to haunt the Eagles this year.
7. Agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension through 2022 with OL Isaac Seumalo.
Seumalo emerged as a key member of the offensive line last year. He’s probably never going to a Pro Bowl, but he emerged as a starter on a playoff team last year and, if something were to happen to Jason Kelce, he’s be the man to take over. Getting him in on a deal that helped clear cap space this year was important.
6. Signed OT Jason Peters to a one-year contract for the 2019 season.
No one is quite sure how much Peters has left, but him being here for one more season is big.
5. Acquired RB Jordan Howard from the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2020 draft pick.
Howard is a better running back than anything the Birds had last year. He won’t rush for 1,000 yards (the Eagles running back rotation likely makes that an impossibility) but he’ll provide good production down by the goal line, on short yardage situations, and is light years better than Josh Adams and/or Wendell Smallwood.
4. Agreed to terms with DT Malik Jackson on a three-year contract.
Jackson and Fletcher Cox on the inside allows Brandon Graham to stay on the outside full-time and gives the Eagles a consistent push up the middle. Could be a nightmare for the interior of opposing offensive lines.
3. Acquired WR DeSean Jackson and a 2020 7th-round draft choice from Tampa Bay in exchange for a 2019 6th-round draft choice.
The Eagles desperately needed a big-play wide receiver and Jackson led the league in yards per catch last year. He’ll miss some games due to injury, but he gives Wentz the best deep threat he’s ever had.
2. Agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension with DE Brandon Graham.
Bringing Graham back was a bit of a controversial decision, but while he doesn’t pile up big sack totals, he’s disruptive against the pass and the run. He’s the most valuable member of the defensive line and anchors a defense that is predicated on pressuring the passer.
1. Agreed to terms on a one-year contract extension through 2021 with C Jason Kelce.
Outside of Carson Wentz, Jason Kelce is the most important member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Spot the lie.