Every year around this time, ESPN puts out “offseason grades” for all 32 NFL teams. The entire report card is formed by Mike Sando, who provides commentary from anonymous league executives, evaluators, and coaches. You can check out the entire thing via ESPN In$ider.
The Philadelphia Eagles earned a “B-” grade this year. Here’s why:
The Eagles seemed to operate with purpose when they kept together their offensive line, maneuvered to add a left tackle of the future in first-round pick Andre Dillard, replaced Michael Bennett with Malik Jackson, added an explosive element with DeSean Jackson and beefed up their backfield with runners Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders.
”Losing Bennett and [Chris] Long both in one offseason is going to hurt,” an evaluator said. “They drafted [Shareef] Miller and brought back Vinny Curry to address it, but I just feel like on the edge, there is going to be some liability. Their defense played so well the year they won the Super Bowl and I just don’t see them having that again.”
There wasn’t much Philly could have done to keep No. 2 quarterback Nick Foles. His departure brings even greater awareness to how Carson Wentz-dependent the Eagles are becoming. That dependence will grow after Philly pays him.
The Eagles selected five players in the draft, a relatively low number hurt by the 2019 third-round pick they traded to Detroit for Golden Tate. Research by Nick Korte of overthecap.com shows Philly can get a 2020 third-round compensatory for Foles and a fourth-rounder for Tate, which is good, but something else in the projections stood out.
The Eagles’ signing of Andrew Sendejo could cost them a 2020 fourth-round comp pick they could have received for losing Jordan Hicks, making Sendejo a player to watch as the season approaches. If the Eagles hold onto Sendejo, the net loss between his value and Hicks’ compensatory value would be among the largest for any signing in free agency this offseason.
- Sando was a tough grader for this activity. Only one team finished in “A” territory and that was the Indianapolis Colts (A-). Eight teams finished ahead of the Eagles while five were tied with Philly for a “B-” grade.
- The first paragraph nicely sums up the Eagles’ key offseason additions. I’d agree that Howie Roseman operated with purpose. He deserves praise for adding weapons for Carson Wentz while ensuring there are no gaping holes on the roster. For these reasons, I’d bump the Eagles up to at least a “B” grade on this scale.
- Losing Michael Bennett and Chris Long in the same offseason does hurt, though. Those guys were still playing at a high level in 2018. Out of 109 edge defenders graded by PFF’s pressure rate, Bennett ranked 21st and Long ranked 35th. The veteran duo combined for 15.5 sacks, 35 quarterback hits, 67 quarterback hurries, and four forced fumbles. That’s a lot of production out of the window.
- The cupboard is hardly bare at the defensive position. Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Vinny Curry project as quality contributors in 2019. But there’s also reason for concern. Graham, 31, only had four sacks last season. Sacks aren’t everything and I think he’ll be better in 2019 since he won’t be coming off a May ankle surgery like he was last year. Barnett improved from Year 1 to Year 2 and he even might take another leap in Year 3 but he’s still recovering from the torn rotator cuff he suffered last season. Curry, who soon turns 31, was limited to 2.5 sacks in 12 games last year. Not unlike Graham, he was playing through injury. The Eagles are hoping he’ll be healthier this season. Assuming they can stay healthy at this spot, I think the Eagles will be OK. But I’m not sure about the depth beyond those top three. Guys like Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Joe Ostman, and Shareef Miller have upside but they’re far from proven commodities. Given how critical an elite pass rush was to Philadelphia’s Super Bowl success in 2017, it’s fair to be concerned about the Eagles’ edge rushers.
- Hey, look! The Andrew Sendejo comp pick consideration is making the mainstream. That last line really puts things into perspective. The Eagles would be losing a significant amount of value by keeping Sendejo on the roster past Week 10. He’ll need to be really good and important to this team to justify potentially losing that 2020 fourth-round compensatory pick.
- Around the NFC East: The Dallas Cowboys earned a straight “B” grade, which was good for the best mark in the division. Washington tied with the Eagles for a “B-” grade. Unsurpisingly, Dave Gettleman’s New York Giants finished last with a “D” grade. The Giants received the second worst overall grade; only the New York Jets (D-) finished below them.
- How would you grade the Eagles’ offseason?
Grade the Eagles’ 2019 offseason.
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