February 26, 2020
The Philadelphia Eagles are highly likely to be spenders in free agency this offseason. That is something we kinda-sorta already assumed, given that the Birds have $40-plus million in cap space and holes at wide receiver, cornerback, linebacker, and maybe-soon-to-be safety, but Howie Roseman essentially confirmed on Tuesday at the NFL Combine that the Eagles will be opening their metaphorical wallet.
“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," Roseman said (h/t to BLG on the transcription). "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."
So what does all that mean?
• Over the last three offseasons, Roseman tried to exploit an undervalued market in older players. We called it, super-clever alert here, the "old guy strategy." The "old guy strategy" worked incredibly in 2017, when guys like Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Patrick Robinson, and others helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl. In 2018 and 2019, that strategy failed pretty miserably. In 2020, Roseman said that he will be shopping for longer-term answers instead of older dudes who would only help in the short term.
• The Eagles won't be chasing compensatory picks in 2020. In 2019, because they were in line for third-, fourth-, and fourth-round picks for the losses of Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, and Golden Tate, respectively, the Eagles did not want to sign other players who would offset those losses, thus canceling out incoming comp picks. Their two biggest offseason acquisitions — DeSean Jackson and Malik Jackson — did not count toward the comp pick formula, since they traded for DeSean Jackson, and they signed Malik Jackson after the Jaguars released him.
In 2020, the Eagles don't stand to gain much in the way of valuable draft picks for the losses of outgoing free agents, as we explained in greater detail a couple weeks ago. As such, they will be free to sign whoever the hell they want, since they have nothing to gain in the comp pick market. This is a bad development for my personal brand, but the right direction for the team in free agency.
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