Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, and Doug Pederson all met with the media at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix. There was no groundbreaking news. There were no surprise revelations. When the most exciting bit of news is that the Eagles will have joint practices with the Ravens, you're not exactly on the edge of your seat.
It was good to hear all three men speak. One thing really stood out to me. All of them are on the same page. There really is a shared vision when it comes to the Eagles.
Lurie had nothing but praise for quarterback Carson Wentz. That might seem like an obvious thing, but I'm not sure all owners really appreciate their great players. Lurie has been in charge of the Eagles since 1994. He's been able to watch some great quarterbacks, but he's also seen plenty of lean years. Now that Lurie has a great player in Wentz, he makes sure to embrace that. Lurie also understands the importance of having a franchise player who is committed to winning.
"When you draw it up, he's exactly what you want. Highly competitive, Type-A personality. Demanding. Very smart. Obsessed with winning and winning big. Respected by everybody," Lurie said. "Can't draw it up much better."
Not all young quarterbacks have that same mentality. It is easy for a young quarterback to get caught up in the limelight and lose his focus on football. Wentz hasn't done that and Lurie understands just how important that is.
The Eagles focused on getting a franchise quarterback from the time Lurie, Roseman, and Pederson started working together in 2016. Roseman aggressively maneuvered the Eagles up to the second spot in the draft so they could draft Wentz. That meant trading away veteran players and draft picks. No one hesitated. They wanted their quarterback. They needed their quarterback.
From the day Wentz was selected, the Eagles have focused on putting him in a position to succeed. The coaching staff and roster were built around him. They understood if Wentz turned out to be the player they expected, there would be some complications. The biggest one is paying him.
The Eagles will be giving Wentz a mega-deal sometime in the next year or so. This is a good problem, but the Eagles know they must have young players on rookie contracts when they gave Wentz his new deal.
In order to get that young talent, the Eagles knew they would need to stockpile draft picks, which is what they have done for 2019 and 2020. Lurie talked about this in Phoenix. He understands what is being done and the thinking behind it. I can't stress enough how valuable it is to have ownership, management, and the coaching staff on the same page.
They are trying to win now, but also have an eye on the future. There is a plan in place. There is structure.
The Eagles believe in investing heavily at quarterback. They gave Chase Daniel a big contract in 2016. They replaced him with Nick Foles in 2017 and paid him big money as well. He got even more money in 2018.
Some people were critical of the Eagles for spending so much on backups. The Eagles agree that quarterback is a critical position and not the place to skimp on salary. Get the best players you can afford. That philosophy paid off in a big way with a Super Bowl in 2017 and a playoff win in 2018.
Beyond quarterback, the Eagles believe in building up the line of scrimmage. If you're going to have a valuable asset like Wentz, you must protect him. The Eagles have invested a lot of resources in the defensive line, as well. That's what Jim Schwartz needs to make his defense successful so they give him the right pieces.
When Chip Kelly had control of personnel back in 2015, the Eagles spent big money on free agent running backs and traded a star player for an inside linebacker. Thankfully, the Eagles understand that's not the way to go. Spend your resources on the line of scrimmage.
Winning in the NFL doesn't happen by accident. Teams are more similar in terms of talent level than most people realize. When you have good ownership, good management, and good coaching, the players play better and you win games.
The Eagles' shared vision led to a Super Bowl in 2017 and almost getting back to the NFC Championship Game last year. We'll have to wait and see what's in store for 2019.