Since 2016, I've predicted what the Philadelphia Eagles' next calendar year would look like (in stick figure form), based mostly on logic, and mayyyyybe a little inside knowledge here and there.
First, a recap, and then we'll lay out 2023:
On December 1, 2015, with the Eagles' season still underway (but already over for all intents and purposes), I was already in offseason mode:
How'd we do?
- They did indeed continue to suck.
- Jeffrey Lurie fired Chip, to the surprise of most.
- They hired Doug Pederson, who wasn't a retread in the traditional sense, in that he wasn't a formerly fired coach getting his second crack as a team's head coach. But at the same time, he was kind of retread'y, in that he was an Andy Reid disciple. It was certainly a "boring" hire, at the time. I feel like I should at least get half-credit here.
- All those guys are indeed gone, though it took a little longer than anticipated for a few of them, like Sam Bradford, who almost made it to the 2016 regular season as the Eagles' starting quarterback. Thank you, Vikings.
- They did indeed draft a savior quarterback, but I'm so mad at myself for not including Wentz. I would take my first look at him a week later, and instantly loved him. Had I watched him sooner, he'd have been in there. But certainly, the premise of quarterback being the focus of the offseason was correct.
- And they did continue to suck in 2016, but, you know, with a quarterback who (at the time) the fan base could feel good about for the future.
Sooooo, 5.5 out of 6? Is that fair?
Fearing I wouldn't top the previous year, I'd have preferred to retire this bit on a high note, but I gave the people what they wanted. I'm glad I did:
- They did indeed free up a lot of money to prepare for a free agent splurge. And yes, I know I had Jason Kelce in there, but shut up.
- They did indeed let Nolan Carroll, Stephen Tulloch, Bryan Braman, and Bennie Logan walk in free agency. I remember getting a lot of grief for including Bennie, but that was a pretty easy call, in my view.
- They did indeed sign a couple receivers, and I even had both of them (Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith) included in my picture.
- They did indeed draft a couple of corners in Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas.
- There were no major contract extensions handed out to players already on the roster. In fact, they even traded away Jordan Matthews, who appeared in that box.
Soooooo, 6 of 6?
In 2018, I could only go down, and that I did.
- Trey Burton, Beau Allen, and Patrick Robinson did indeed move on.
- Nick Foles was not traded, and he remained in Philly.
- The Eagles did indeed have an unsplashy free agency.
- Jason Peters played another year, which I guess was unknown at the time.
- Wentz was hampered, and while good at times, his season did not go as everyone would have hoped.
- Half right on this one.
So, 3 right, and 2 half-right? 4 out of 6? Good? Good.
In 2019, the Eagles should have listened to me a little more.
- Foles walked, and I got the team right.
- The Eagles should have been more willing to let some of their own go last offseason. Guys like Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Darren Sproles, Richard Rodgers, and Timmy Jernigan should not have come back.
- They did at least get rid of guys like Mike Wallace, Haloti Ngata, Chris Maragos, and Corey Graham.
- Not adding defensive line talent in a loaded DL draft was a huge surprise to me at the time. Instead, they ended up with Andre Dillard, Miles Sanders, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
- It took a little while, but Wentz did indeed have a bounce-back year, leading the team to the playoffs with a 4-0 finish.
- Half right here.
- Alshon was pretty clearly cooked, in my opinion, and injured, and for some insane reason that I still can't understand to this day, instead of having him begin the season on the PUP list, they had him occupy a spot on the active roster for nine weeks, as he didn't play in a game until Week 10.
- The Eagles did move on from most of these guys, with the two exceptions being Jason Peters, who they just couldn't detach from, and Rodney McLeod (which now looks like a reasonable enough decision).
- They did indeed go after Chris Harris and Byron Jones, but those guys landed elsewhere. Instead, they pivoted to the trade market, landing Darius Slay, and subsequently giving him a big contract extension. I say this one counts.
- They drafted Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins.
- The one vet they shouldn't have let go, they let go. Would the team have been as much of disaster as it was in 2020 with Malcolm Jenkins? Maybe not.
- I was pretty confident the rest of the NFC East was trash, and I was right! Little did I know the Eagles would be even more trash.
I'd say 2.5 is fair? Was I losing my fastball? Or were the Eagles just doing illogical things? You can decide on that.
As soon as the offseason began, action was fast and furious, with a rift growing between the team and Wentz, as well as Doug Pederson's firing. And so, by the time I had thought about doing this yearly post, a lot of stuff had already happened, and it was sort of too late. Again, my apologies.
- Despite the Eagles' endorsement of Jalen Hurts as the Eagles' starter during the offseason in 2022, they did indeed seek trade opportunities at quarterback.
- They eventually settled on Hurts, and holy crap are they lucky Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson didn't want to play in Philly.
- The Eagles didn't have the kind of cap space to go buck wild in free agency, but after an offseason of shopping in the bargain bin, I figured Howie would be itchy to get back in buyer's mode, and they'd sign a few starters at mid-range money, which they did in Haason Reddick, James Bradberry, etc.
- They traded up for Jordan Davis in the first round.
- Based on things I had heard at the time, I thought Jonathan Gannon was going to land a head coaching job (most likely with Houston), but it didn't happen. I was a year early on this one, but for the purposes of the calendar year projections, I was wrong.
- I didn't think the Eagles would be Super Bowl contenders when I published last year's version of this in 2022, but I did believe that they would continue to grow as team, and thought they would have more quality wins than in 2021. They did indeed continue to grow as a team, but I way undersold it.
And finally, my 2023 calendar year projections:
- There is only one quarterback in the NFL with a contract with an average annual value of more than $50 million. That's Aaron Rodgers, at $50,271,667. Several quarterbacks are going to join him this offseason in the $50 million club, and Jalen Hurts will be one of them.
- The Eagles are going to lose a whole lot of free agents this offseason. In the case of most of the players likely to score big money this offseason, lean "go" more than "stay." And actually, if I had the chance to start my stay/go series over from the beginning, I might change some "stay's" to "go's."
- If the Eagles can't even afford to keep their own good players, they're not exactly likely to sign any outside guys to big contracts either.
- The Eagles have a couple of first-round picks, at 10th and 30th overall. They do not have any picks in rounds 4, 5, or 6. Expect them to trade back from their 10th and/or 30th overall picks. I just can't imagine Howie Roseman content to do nothing for the first five hours on Day 3 of the draft. He's going to want more picks.
- As noted above, the Eagles are going to lose a bunch of good players this offseason, in addition to the losses they've already suffered to their coaching staff. They're also going to have a harder schedule in 2023, and they are extremely unlikely to match their injury luck in 2022. Expect a dropoff in regular season wins.
- They'll still make the playoffs, and maybe even break the long streak of NFC East divisional champs repeating, but I don't think they'll be playing for the Super Bowl in Vegas.
I believe the 2023 Eagles will still be good, but it will also be a "get cap healthy" speedbump year, and they'll be poised to more aggressively compete for a Super Bowl in 2024 and beyond. I also believe that this is a logical approach, if indeed my projections are correct.
Follow Jimmy & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @JimmyKempski | @thePhillyVoice
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports
Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader