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Roseman Details The Free Agent Moves

Posted Mar 9, 2017

Late in the day, but early in the process of building the 2017 Eagles roster, Howie Roseman is in his NovaCare Complex office, the NFL Network on the television, his cell phone at the ready, a picture of a man calm in the blur of the moment ...

Late in the day, but early in the process of building the 2017 Eagles roster, Howie Roseman is in his NovaCare Complex office, the NFL Network on the television, his cell phone at the ready, a picture of a man calm in the blur of the moment.

It is the start of the NFL business calendar and already it is crazy. The league is turned upside down at this time of the year, and the Eagles are no exception. They seem to always have something going on with Roseman at the helm. He's a wheeler-dealer. He gets deals done.

And the ones he pulled off on Thursday were, well, pretty remarkable. The Eagles agreed to terms with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, the cream of the crop at his position in free agency, on a one-year deal, very rare for the first day of free agency. Hours earlier they brought in wide receiver Torrey Smith with a three-year agreement that is, according to reports, favorable to both sides. They did a one-year contract with offensive guard Chance Warmack, a top-10 draft pick in 2013 who is reunited with his college coach, a guy with an aggressive personality that could very well bring out the best in the talented Warmack. 

Additionally, the Eagles re-signed depth linebacker and key special teams piece Najee Goode with yet another one-year deal, and released defensive end Connor Barwin.

Busy day. Crazy day. And, as Roseman explained, a very good first day of many for the Eagles.

"Our primary goal offensively is to protect our quarterback (Carson Wentz) and then make sure that he has options to help him out. We want to surround him with people who can help him out and get him out of trouble," Roseman said. "We thought by doing this that we started the process. Getting a receiver (Jeffery) on the outside who is big, strong, makes contested catches, can run the route tree that our coaches are looking for in our offense, that's going to help us. Big on big, with Carson and Alshon, is exciting for us. It's a fun thing to look at.

"And then on the other side, getting a guy (Smith) who is coming back to the East Coast and who is a proven guy, he's coming in here to help us. He is an unbelievable team guy and he's going to be a plus in our locker room and on the field."

That both Jeffery and Smith have familiar faces here - Jeffery and his Chicago Bears receivers coach, Mike Groh, and Smith with Joe Douglas, the team's vice president of player personnel scout who was a Baltimore Ravens area scout in 2011, when Smith was drafted in the second round - was part of the thinking, too. 

"Chance was with (offensive line coach) Jeff Stoutland at Alabama and that's going to be a plus. Getting someone that talented, we felt was important for our offensive line. We want to be great there.

"It was a good first day. We've still got a long way to go."

OK, some scouting reports from Roseman on the initial wave of additions to the roster in this offseason and the way it all went down.

On Smith: "The first thing everyone talks about in his speed and that's legitimate. I think the one thing that gets lost a little bit is that he's a big, strong guy. A tough, physical guy. He's strong to the ball. Getting him back to the East Coast, in this system, we think we're going to get the Torrey Smith we saw in Baltimore before he went to San Francisco."

On getting the Jeffery deal done: "It's been obvious we've been in the receiver market and looking for guys to help Carson on the outside and help our guys who are here, too, because we have some talented guys here. The opportunity came to us. We were looking at all of the options at our disposal to get guys who could potentially change the game. Over the course of the last 24 hours, getting involved in his willingness and his agent's willingness to take a shot to come to come to Philly and to believe in the system we have in place and the people that we have in place, I think that's exciting for us. I know our fans are going to be really excited to see him in an Eagles uniform."

On when Jeffery came into the picture: "I would say that, prior to 24 hours ago, we were probably stronger in a different direction, but things come to you and that's why you have to be flexible as free agency hits. I think Alshon was always on our minds. It's just that the chance to make it happen was there. You never say never in this business."

On the one-year deals: "Certainly, when you look at the player's side, it's a chance for a player to go back into the market after one year after you've done really well. Our players get a lot of attention in Philly and when they play well they're going to get a lot of credit. That's one of the draws that we have. In Alshon's case, I think it's an opportunity to show everybody the kind of player he is. With Chance, I think it's a similar situation. His value wasn't what he felt it should be, so he's getting a chance to work with Coach Stout and see what happens. Ideally, you'd like to have longer deals, but we hope they play as we know they can and then we'll talk again."

On not viewing one-year contracts as "Band-Aids:" "You have options at your disposal with both Alshon and Chance. When I was talking about 'Band-Aids' for a young team (earlier in the offseason), I was talking about ideally staying away from adding players who are past those peak seasons. Both Alshon and Chance are young (Jeffery turned 27 in February, Warmack will be 26 in September). Torrey is only 28 years old. Maybe I didn't do a good job of explaining what I meant by 'Band-Aids.' I meant players who are toward the tail end of their careers who are just getting through it. If these guys play well, they're going to have a chance to play in Philly for a long time."

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On Warmack as a player: "He played right guard for the Titans, but for Coach Stout at Alabama he played left guard. So he can play both sides. He's a big, powerful guy who has explosive power. We have tremendous confidence that the player we saw in college, who was taken 10th overall by Tennessee in 2013, will be brought out by Stout, a guy we all have a tremendous amount of faith in."

On the depth along the offensive line: "It's really important for us and we want to continue to add as many quality offensive linemen as possible. We saw in 2016 that we started five different players at right tackle. Having depth up front is part of what we want to do to help Carson and bring out the best in him."

All in all, Roseman has experienced just about everything in free agency. Thursday was something a little unusual, in that the Eagles entered the new business year with a modest amount of room under the salary cap maximum of $167 million. They weren't expected to be major players for someone like Jeffery, at the top of the wide receiver class. It wouldn't have surprised anyone if the Eagles had been silent on Day One and allowed the market to settle.

Uh, no.

"In terms of how this was different, it was more about opportunities of some players who were looking for the right fit, and we happened to be in good position with our needs and wants," Roseman said. "It made a lot of sense for us. We added some pieces. Now we'll try to get through the next few days of free agency and then really focus on the draft and really make that a priority."

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