Howie Roseman addressed reporters at the 2020 NFL Combine on Tuesday afternoon. Here are the biggest takeaways from what the Philadelphia Eagles’ executive vice president/general manager had to say.
Jason Peters returning was not ruled out
Peters, who turned 38 years old last month, is currently set to be a free agent when the new league year begins on March 18. Roseman wouldn’t say if the Eagles have a decision on re-signing him.
“Yeah, I think as it pertains to all of our free agents, I think it’s important as we go through this process we keep an open mind with everyone and try to figure out as we get more information. A big part of this week is accumulating information, that’s what he’ll do here.”
“Obviously, when you’re talking about Jason Peters, you’re talking about a Hall of Fame player, a Hall of Fame person, someone who’s very special to us, and played at a really high level last year. So, we’ll go through all those decisions this week, and that’ll kind of be my stock answer as it goes for every free agent we talk about here.”
Earlier this offseason, Roseman emphasized the Eagles’ need to get younger. He also admitted that being too loyal to some of the team’s veterans has been a “weakness” for him. It’s hard to understand how Roseman could say those things and then also bring Peters back for another season.
Not to mention the concern level with Andre Dillard serving as a backup for another season. The Eagles traded up to select Dillard in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Dillard turns 25 this season; he’s on the older side for a second-year player. It’s time to turn the page. But given that JP has so much clout in the organization, it remains to be seen if the Eagles will actually move on.
“Andre getting that experience certainly at left tackle was huge for him. We’re very confident in his abilities to be a really good player. But it’s a good problem for us to have, that we have a lot of these offensive linemen that we think are good players and that can play. It’s an o-line deficient league. And I think we feel fortunate that we have these good options and that it’s not the flip side and we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to go going forward, that we have a lot of good options to choose from.”
The Eagles are in a “retool” and not a “total rebuild”
Roseman was asked if the Eagles plan to make all 10 of their (projected) draft picks.
“I think there’s two parts to that when we sit here. When you look at the teams who’ve won the Super Bowl, there’s also a veteran component to the team. So we’re not talking about a total rebuild, we’re talking about a retool period and injecting some youth. We’ve got a lot of highly paid players on our team; good players, that’s why we paid them. So, you have to supplement them with some good young plays. And then we know that no matter how good you are in the draft, there is a hit and miss rate. It’s just the nature of the beast. And so the more draft picks you have, the better chance you have at hitting on guys, and we really haven’t had those. Now, we did it for a reason. We sacrificed the draft picks because we were in a win-now mode and fortunately we won. But at the same time, now, some of the repercussions of that come forward and we’ve got to make some tough decisions. As we sit here, I’d love to say that we’re having 10 picks [made], but there are moments in the last two drafts where guys were within reach [...] that we wanted to move up [to get] and we just didn’t have the ammunition to do it. So, if there’s a guy, still, that we think is incredibly high valued and we can go get him, we can’t take that off the table.”
The Eagles are trying to balance being competitive in the short-term with also keeping a window in mind. Roseman later talked about how the team previously viewed as 2017 though 2019 as a window and now they’re trying to move the focus from 2020 through 2022.
Expect the Eagles to be active in free agency
The Eagles were more reserved in free agency the past two offseason as they made an effort to collect compensatory draft picks. It doesn’t sound like that’ll be the case again this year as the team has around $44.6 million in cap space to work with.
“I think because we have 10 picks over a two year period, we felt like — and we paid Carson, and we have a lot of highly paid players on our team — we felt like we needed a year where we were going to have double digit draft picks. And so I look at it that some of those guys we released during the season [L.J. Fort and Andrew Sendejo], they were good players. And they were good players that they went to after they came to us. But for us, going forward, to have those picks was important. And sitting here now knowing that and feeling like we’re going to have 10 picks, we needed that amount of guys.”
“Now, when we look at it, I think the scenario changes a little bit. If we can get the right free agents, we’re not in a mode where we’re trying to find the undervalued, older guys that we tried to find the last couple of years. And, going forward, we’re trying to build this over a period of time. We’re not kind of in this one year window. We talked about it again in January, about looking at this ... 2020, 2021, 2022 ... in this three year period of getting guys who part of it. Kind of similar to how we looked at free agency in 2016 and 2017.
The Eagles added a number of notable starters (Brandon Brooks, Rodney McLeod, Jeffery, Torrey Smith, etc.) in the first two years of the Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz era. The Eagles have a number of roster holes (see: wide receiver and cornerback) they’ll be looking to fill this offseason.
No timetable given for Alshon Jeffery’s recovery
Jeffery suffered a Lisfranc injury in December. Will he be able to contribute in 2020, assuming he’s even on the team?
“We’re not going to get into timetables on injuries but I think when you talk about Alshon, the most important thing for Alshon is getting him healthy as quickly as possible.”
My interpretation of this quote: “We want Alshon to get healthy as soon as possible so it’s easier to move on from him.”
No update on Malcolm Jenkins’ contract demands
Jenkins said he’s not returning to the Eagles on his current deal. Here’s what Roseman said about where things stand with Jenkins:
“Malcolm’s been a great player, a great person for us. As it relates to contract negotiations with all of our players, those are things we’ll try to keep in-house and have honest conversations with all our players.”
The guess here is the Eagles and Jenkins eventually reach some kind of agreement. But we’ll see.
Medical staff changes
Roseman confirmed new Eagles director of sports medicine Tom Hunkele and new Eagles director of sports performance Ted Rath will oversee their respective departments in Philly. This is part of the Eagles’ effort to avoid being decimated by injuries for the fourth year in a row.
Howie denies making coaching staff hirings
Doug Pederson denied Jeffery Lurie was involved in firing Mike Groh; the Eagles’ head coach said he has “complete control” over his staff. Roseman was also asked about his involvement in the coaching staff.
“That’s all Coach Pederson. He makes those decisions.”