The latest edition of the Eagles Live Podcast with Dave Spadaro focused on the state of the Eagles' defensive line. Of course, the headline that dominated the week here at the NovaCare Complex was Fletcher Cox signing a new six-year extension, a deal that will keep him in an Eagles uniform through at least the 2022 season.
Spadaro caught up with Howie Roseman to get his reaction to the mega deal getting done, but also to discuss how the Eagles' defensive line is shaping out as the team gets ready to begin 2016 Training Camp.
"You're able to have a 25-year-old star player in this scheme, a star person under contract for the next seven years," Roseman said of the deal. "It's really important that we have this going forward, that we have that guy to build around and feel great in terms of leadership and playing ability."
Making this deal work was something that both the Eagles and Cox have been trying to accomplish for the better part of the offseason, but with any deal of this significance, patience was crucial in order to make sure that both sides came out happy.
"Well it's always hard to pull the trigger when you're talking about the kind of money that we're talking about, but we looked at where the game is going and where contracts have been and how we can build and it was hard to envision a scenario in which he wasn't here," Roseman said. "So the longer we waited, we felt like because of his production and the closer he got to free agency, the more it would cost, and that was kind of our perspective as we went through the offseason."
So what does the deal mean for the Eagles moving forward in terms of remaining cap space? Roseman admitted that the front office will face some limitations in how they handle contracts moving forward, but it will be worth it in the long haul to keep the young, core players inside the NovaCare Complex.
"When you talk about our cap situation, it's going to be different than it's been in the last few years," Roseman said. "We knew that to be a good team, we have to keep our own players, our good young players, and you also have to add to the mix. So hopefully by doing a lot of these deals early we get the opportunity to keep more players here because we do them a little early, but it's certainly going to be a challenge here in the next 12 to 18 months.
"I feel like we've got the right players here to keep long term, and there are still some more we'd like to invest in long term, but it's the building blocks of what we're trying to accomplish long term, at the same time looking at this year, but understanding that there's a long-term perspective."
Listen to the entire podcast to hear more from Roseman plus hear from Cox, defensive line coach Chris Wilson, defensive end Connor Barwin and ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.
After breaking down the biggest Eagles news of the week, Fletcher Cox's contract extension, Fran Duffy spoke with Matt Harmon of NFL.com about the wide receiver position, getting his thoughts on what to expect from the group in Philadelphia during the 2016 season.
Harmon takes an in-depth look at receivers around the league, calculating their Reception Perception, which provides information regarding a player's route percentage, success rate against coverages, alignment data and more. In turn, this information gives Harmon a better understanding of the wide receivers who are the most successful in the NFL.
Duffy specifically asked Harmon about Jordan Matthews and his role in the Eagles' new offense under head coach Doug Pederson. Harmon believes this will be an interesting season for the third-year wideout, one that will help determine his best fit on the field.
"For a younger guy, he's been pretty productive from a raw stats perspective, but it does feel like we're at a crossroads for him, especially with the news that Doug Pederson said he's better on the inside," Harmon explained. "He's good on the outside but better on the inside, which has been a big debate about him really going back to when he was drafted. Can he play on the outside or is he better in the slot? Can he only function in the slot?
"I think the Reception Perception verdict on him from earlier in his rookie season was really kind of indicative that that's the role he really should play. He had a below-average success rate against man coverage, but a well-above-average success rate against zone coverage. He was also better than you'd expect getting off press coverage but of course he's not face press coverage very often in the slot.
"To me, at the end of that rookie season, I was like this is a guy who fills this role very well. There's some belief with some of his techniques against press coverage that he can function on the outside, but I think that so much about player evaluation is identifying what they do well and then asking them to continually do that."
While it's clear the wide receivers will have different roles this season in the new scheme, Harmon still believes Matthews would be most productive in the slot. He also feels that is something Pederson has begun to realize as well.
"I think even just after a few OTA practices it seems that Pederson is catching on to the fact that this is a guy that had a very specific designed role in Chip Kelly's offense and he might be best in that role. Again, there's nothing wrong with that," Harmon said. "He's a second-round pick with good, athletic measurables and a productive collegiate history, but I think so far what we've seen of him is he kind of is what he is. That's not bad. He's a valuable part of the passing game."
Also on the Eagle Eye In The Sky Podcast:
Chalk Talk at 4:09
2-Technique with Jaylen Watkins at 26:30
Saturday Scouting on Mike Martin at 29:27