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March 16, 2023

Eytan Shander: The Eagles are winning the offseason and instilling confidence in the fan base

The Eagles are winning the NFL offseason and are primed for another Super Bowl run, writes Eytan Shander.

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Howie Roseman Eagles Open Practice 080722 Claggett Colleen Claggett/PhillyVoice

Eagles GM Howie Roseman back in August 2022.

It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

The impending re-signing of Darius Slay is a culmination of years of hard work to finally reach a point where we can collectively say, “There’s nothing wrong with our Eagles.”

Do you understand the magnitude of this? You can tell your barber, friend, co-worker, or parent that you have no legitimate concerns about the Eagles, and actually believe it. This team comes fresh off a Super Bowl loss and is restocking players like they are a five-year dynasty. Players want to remain here, finish their careers here. All in taking less money at the current market value. Even some  like Slay  with maniac agents who couldn’t care less about a player’s ties to a city.

Instead we had one of the best 180s in the offseason as it looked like Slay was gone, and is now back. It could mean the end of C.J. Gardner-Johnson, but much like the loss of Javon Hargrave, this one won't sting in the slightest. The return of Slay is big for a bunch of reasons that have way more to do with just Slay.

The Eagles nearly won the regular season and playoffs, and have turned around to secure nothing changes. Running it back isn’t easy in a sport like the NFL unless there’s a willingness to do so. Bad teams can dangle a big paycheck with less or no state tax, but it’s way more than that keeping players here for the Eagles.

Remember when winning the offseason was a mark of disgrace? Daniel Synder and Jerry Jones would load up on talent in the offseason only to see it fail miserably in the regular season, sometimes not even making the playoffs.

You don’t have to worry about that for at least another year. It’s March 16 and your bill for the upcoming season has already been comped. The Eagles are guaranteed to walk into the playoffs so long as Jalen Hurts remains healthy. There is no other QB in the NFC who is as good as Hurts right now. The o-line returned one of the best centers in the game and continues to bolster depth. The defensive front didn’t lose guys like Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox  so as to keep it from being a massive youth movement.

Yes, the return of Slay is big for the defensive backfield, but it represents a want to remain on a team — inside a culture. The Eagles are set up better right now than any other team in the NFL  outside of maybe KC.

Teams that lose the Super Bowl aren’t supposed to be right back! 

Guys look at this huge stage as a chance to make a bigger check  usually elsewhere. But if it’s another team, city, fanbase, or QB to coach – guys like Cox, Slay, Kelce, and Graham want to be here. That’s saying everything about who this team is, its personality. Guys like each other. They want to work together. They want to win for Jalen, not in spite of him. Nick Sirianni lets these guys breathe, be themselves, and puts them in amazing positions to score a lot of points.

Howie Roseman can forfeit this year’s NFL Draft and the team is still the favorite to come out of the NFC. Drafting at this point is a luxury rather than a source of desperation. I have never felt like this about any team since the 2008 run by the Phillies. 

Even with this year’s Phillies or Sixers teams, there are glaring issues that need to be addressed or luckily overcome before these teams return  or simply make  the final series. We just aren’t used to this, right? We talk a ton of junk on social media or to the random Cowboys fan who lives in your building, but even then, there’s this inescapable feeling that something will go wrong.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell how a celebrity is feeling unless they go on some seven-tweet rant about their life breaking down. It’s not easy to read motivations behind decision-making, especially with professional athletes and money factoring in those choices. The Eagles players who decided to return to this team, knowing they have immediate impact on the field and in the locker room, show us via their actions that they 100 percent believe in this team. They believe in everything.

Jason Kelce can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants for the rest of his life. He chose to come back and play this grueling game of football for  we think  one more year. All of those fun things he can do as a current player he can do as a former player, but it’s remaining within this circle that keeps drawing these guys back. Even newcomers like Slay.

They feel wanted and accepted and are made a part of the community. It’s a fascinating thing to see and you need each person pulling his respective weight in this. Roseman, Hurts, Sirianni, fans, Jeffrey Lurie, Slay and others. There is room to improve. There always is. But the Eagles have absolutely zero flaws right now.

This is what a well-oiled machine sounds like. This is what winning the offseason truly looks like.

Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

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