Philadelphia Eagles News

Optimistic View Of Eagles' Roster Outlook


INDIANAPOLIS -- If you walk into the NovaCare Complex and go up the stairs, through a short hallway with historical photos of the franchise's past on the walls, take a left at the atrium, and then a right after another short hallway, you would walk directly into the office of Howie Roseman.

It's a corner office with a view of the practice fields and the stadium complex and it is very well appointed and welcoming and, in its way, aggressive. As Roseman sits at his desk facing a big-screen television, he can look to his right and see the Eagles' roster on the wall.

This is something that changes on nearly a daily basis during the season based on tweaks to the depth chart and roster moves, but for now, it sits as a bare-bones look at the positions and the names at those positions.

Amid the pre-free agency questions (hysteria?) Roseman faces as he makes his media rounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, it is important to remember the wall chart in his office. That chart represents what the Eagles have *on the roster, not what they *may lose in the upcoming free agency period.

The narrative right now is to speculate on what is going to happen when the league year begins on March 14. It's also important to remember, as the Eagles gird up for 2018, what the Eagles know they have returning.

"There is no doom and gloom," Roseman said. "It starts with our core guys. We sat here last year and we said, 'Our franchise defensive lineman, Fletcher Cox, we need him to step up and we have tremendous faith that he will step up.' We have him under contract. We have our franchise quarterback (Carson Wentz), who is working his butt off every day to come back better than ever. Let's not forget the fact that this guy put us in position to have home-field advantage, that this guy was around the team in that quarterback room helping Nick (Foles) every day. We have a franchise quarterback and we have the Super Bowl MVP under contract. We have a young, third quarterback (Nate Sudfeld) that we are tremendously excited about.

"We have guys under contract at the running back position who were tremendously productive, Jay (Ajayi) and Corey (Clement). Zach Ertz is under contract for a long time. Go along the offensive line – JP (Jason Peters), Wiz (Stefen Wisniewski), (Jason) Kelce, Brandon (Brooks), Lane (Johnson) – these guys are all under contract and they're not free agents after this year. You talk about the wide receivers and being able to extend Alshon (Jeffery), Nelson (Agholor) stepped up, we had a veteran presence there with Torrey (Smith)."

Roseman continued talking about the defensive line, which is deep and talented and, while there are going to be some contract challenges – Beau Allen is a free agent and Brandon Graham enters the final year of his contract, for example – has the makings of being really, really good if the team had to line up on March 15.

The secondary looks extremely promising and could be even more so with the development of second-year cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas and the continued improvement from Jalen Mills.

"It's exciting," Roseman said. "There are a lot of positives, but at the same token …"

Yes, yes, "at the same token there is a lot of work to do." We get it. It's part of the business. The Eagles aren't going to come back the same team as the one that won the Super Bowl, but they are, right now, a very good football team.

Just remember that as you read and hear about all the players who could leave in the weeks ahead. This is a business and there are going to be some players who realize that they can play elsewhere for more money, and then it becomes their decision whether to leave for greener pastures. The Eagles cannot keep everybody. That's just the way it's going to work.

But don't allow that narrative to obscure the exciting focus of this picture: The Eagles have a whole lot more coming back for 2018 than potentially will depart. And as Roseman and the Eagles explore "creative" ways to keep as many "good players" as possible, they're also looking to add players. The Eagles are going to be aggressive in their pursuit of improving the roster because that's how it works in the NFL and that's the way Roseman has always operated.

"We're going to work hard. We're going to find the next crop of young, and veteran, players with free agency and we're going to build the roster the same way," head coach Doug Pederson said. "Guys are going to come and guys are going to go. That's just the way this business works. At the same time, we're going to put the pieces together and make our run again, hopefully, to Atlanta (site of Super Bowl LIII)."

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