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March 28, 2023

9 takeaways from Howie Roseman's media availability at the NFL owners meetings

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Howie Roseman Bears Eagles Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman.

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman spoke for around 15 minutes at the NFL owners meetings on Monday. Here are my nine biggest takeaways.

1) Did the Eagles have the opportunity to match the offer Chauncey Gardner-Johnson got from the Lions, and if so, why didn't they?

"I think that when you go back to the start of free agency, we talked to his representatives about bringing him back here, and we also talked about the fact that we have limited resources," Roseman said. "It's no secret that sometime relatively soon we want to extend our quarterback, so our roster building is going to turn a little bit from a quarterback on a rookie deal to a quarterback hopefully on a long-term deal — not that we have anything done or anything — but obviously our goal is to keep Jalen here for a long time.

"And so at some point you run out of resources. We were very clear that at some point we were going to have to go in a different direction. Those first couple of days, we tried [to bring Gardner-Johnson back] and then we pivoted. I think that's one of the most important things in free agency. You can go in with a plan but you have to be able to pivot and have other options and not get stuck with nothing. So I think at that point, that's where we went and when we pivoted that was kind of where it ends."

When pressed for an answer on whether the Eagles were given a chance to match the Lions' offer, Roseman said, "You know what? I don't really know. We talked so much. I'm trying to think. He may say yes. I know really know specifically if he said 'Hey I have this [offer].' I think at that point in time he was ready to move on."

My take? Maybe Gardner-Johnson's representatives gave the Eagles the opportunity to match, maybe they didn't. It probably doesn't matter, as he was going to be unhappy with his deal at that point and the Eagles likely felt it best not to bring back a player who felt disrespected by his level of pay.

2) The Eagles want Jalen Hurts in Philly, long-term (duh)

We already know this, but just to reiterate, Roseman said, "We want him here long-term. Obviously, he's going into the last year of his deal, and so that's going to be a priority for us."

3) Do the Eagles have any urgency to get a deal done with Hurts before other eligible quarterbacks (Joe Borrow, Justin Herbert, etc.) get theirs done?

"At the end of the day we're not looking to do anything other than what's fair for us and fair for our players," Roseman said. "I think that dynamic about what everyone else is doing, we have to do what's best for us. I don't know that we necessarily spend a lot of time thinking about when we're doing it based on other teams. We want to do things based on our time."

4) Was Howie surprised he was able to bring back James Bradberry and Darius Slay?

"I think that if you were to ask me a month ago I probably wouldn't have expected to get some of these guys back, which I think is a good thing. Again, I think it speaks to the idea that you can go into free agency with a plan and you have to be able to pivot and understand what the values are and where it's different [then you anticipated], and as long as you have a value on a player and you're comfortable with that valuation going in that direction, because it's hard to get deals done. 

"You have a lot of other teams bidding on these players, so when you have an opportunity to get a deal done with a player that you think is a good player and has good character and you feel like the price is fair on both sides you have to be willing to make those decisions or you're left with nothing."

5) With the transition from Jonathan Gannon to Sean Desai at defensive coordinator, is Howie starting from scratch in terms of knowing what kinds of traits Desai will prioritize at each position?

"I don't think so," Roseman said. "I think that a lot of the things that Sean wants to do are things that JG wanted to do. I think that there's a lot of carryover from those positions. I don't think it's dramatic."

6) Is the fact that the Eagles lost both starting linebackers and both starting safeties a reflection of how the team values those positions, or was the market for those players too expensive?

"I think it's probably a combination," Roseman said. "Especially in a year that we understand that our resources aren't as plentiful you want to keep your priorities in line. And so for us on defense it's going to start with the defensive line and the cornerback position.

"I think that when we look back at what we did here, it was consistent with what we think, but that doesn't mean that T.J. Edwards wasn't a heck of a player. He was a homegrown player. We don't want to lose a guy like that. But for us, when you have a limited amount of resources, you have to make sure that your priorities are taken care of."

7) The Eagles like Marcus Mariota's mobility

"When you look at Marcus, you're talking about an elite athlete who has really good tools as a passer," Roseman said. "We're hoping that he doesn't have to take the field other than in mop up duty, but I think we can run our offense if Jalen caught a cold or something and Marcus had to play. I've always had a lot of respect for him as a player and as a person and just think it's a good fit."

8) The Eagles' other outside acquisitions had some common themes, as many were first-round picks, many have significant injury histories, and they all came cheaply. What were the Eagles looking for in terms of adding value players from the outside?

"I think that when you're looking at these one-year contract guys, I think we want high upside guys. We want guys who have traits in their bodies, guys that we liked at some point in time.

"We like these high upside guy lottery tickets, and understanding that they have to prove it. They have a chip on their shoulder. They have talent. It hasn't worked out perfectly for where they are and if you can hit on some of those guys it can be mutually beneficial."

9) How does Howie feel about the defensive tackle position?

"We drafted Milton Williams in the third round because we really liked him," Roseman said. Eh, Howie liked him. Tom Donahoe, not as much.

"We traded up for Jordan Davis because we really liked him.

"I don't think I understand the [sometimes negative public perception] of Fletcher Cox. I think Fletch is a great player. He had seven sacks. I don't know how many defensive tackles in the league had seven sacks last year but not many. He took less money to come back. He was offered more. So I think when you talk about him and the type of player he is, all you have to do is turn on the tape and watch him and see the power he plays with. He's a unique guy.

"That doesn't mean we're done [adding defensive tackles]. We have some young guys too that we're excited to see, but it's a priority position. When you start with those guys — and we have a long time until we play our next game — I think it's a good start."

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