On this week's episode of the Eagles Live Podcast, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman joined Dave Spadaro to talk about what lies ahead for the team this offseason. The two touched on a number of topics, from the organization's approach to free agency to Roseman's relationship with first-year head coach Doug Pederson.
So far this offseason, the Eagles have extended the contracts of four core players – Brent Celek, Vinny Curry, Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson - leading the league in NFL in new deals for homegrown players. Roseman touched upon both the importance and the pragmatism of doing this during his sitdown with Spadaro.
"If we're going to build (with those players), why not get it under control now?" he asked. "When (Coach Pederson) evaluated the team, these are guys we knew we didn't want to leave here, whether they were free agents this year or next year ... It's all part of having a plan not only for 2016, but having a plan going forward."
One player who has clearly established himself as one of those players around whom to build moving forward is defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. The 25-year-old finished second on the team in tackles (104) in 2015 and led the Eagles in sacks (9.5), tackles for loss (16.5), quarterback hurries (32) and forced fumbles (3). He has one year remaining on the deal he signed as a rookie.
"We want him here long term, there's no question," he said. "He's someone who's incredibly important to this franchise, and someone who we have every intention of being here for a long time."
A common theme throughout Roseman's appearance on Eagles Live was the extent to which he and Pederson are working in tandem in their attempt to build a perennial playoff contender in Philadelphia.
"He starts with tremendous communication and leadership ability," he said of Pederson. "He's brought a bunch of coaches who feel the same way, and we're feeding off their energy. This is the time of year when we're in here (every day), and it's fun to come to work. We understand that there will be obstacles that we have to go through, but it's fun doing that all together.
"When you get yourself into the tournament every year, you have an opportunity to win double-digit games, and get in there, and go on a run. Historically, those are the teams that end up winning it."
Earlier this week, the first important offseason window opened. As of February 16, teams are able to designate Franchise or Transition Players and they have until March 1 to do so.
For the Eagles this offseason, fans have wondered whether or not a tag will be used on quarterback Sam Bradford, who is scheduled to become a free agent. However, many people don't realize there are three different kinds of tags the team could potentially utilize.
On the latest Eagles Insider Podcast, Fran Duffy, Chris McPherson and Alex Smith explained these tags and what it would mean if Philadelphia chose to use one on a player.
"The exclusive tag, which means if you tag a player, so if the Eagles tag Sam Bradford, no other team can negotiate with him and that's going to be the most expensive tag," Smith explained. "Looking at some of the estimates right now, and these are from NFL.com, it would cost 19.6 million dollars for one year to use the franchise tag (on a quarterback). Once a player signs that tag, it's fully guaranteed."
"There's the non-exclusive tag, which means that they can sign an offer sheet from another team ... If the Eagles don't match, then they would get two first-round draft picks. Then the transition tag, which is the cheapest option, gives the Eagles a chance to match any offer sheet, but they wouldn't get any compensation for it."
Because of the importance of the quarterback position, Philadelphia will have a big decision to make regarding Bradford. If it decides to use a tag, it could have a few different meanings.
"The big thing you want to take into account is all that does is extends the window to get an extension done or to get some kind of compensation and work out a deal with another team in the NFL," Duffy noted. "I think that's what you're looking at now if you look at the franchise tag."
Also on the Eagles Insider Podcast:
Three-And-Out at 1:59
Mailing It In at 27:08
In the latest episode of the Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast, Fran Duffy caught up with Eagles legend Mike Quick to discuss the wide receiver position. What does Quick look at when first evaluating young receivers today? He says it's pretty simple.
"I like to watch a guy run, watch how well he runs, watch how comfortable he is running," Quick said. "That, to me, says a whole lot and just simply running routes, getting in and out of his cuts. How much is he stressed in doing that? Is a guy running 100 miles per hour to run each route? Is he running under control?"
According to Quick, a lot can be determined by a player's running abilities. However, he also noted that some of the game's best receivers have a gift and use it to help them reach an elite level. Ball skills are game changers.
"When you've got ball skills, you are still able to make plays because you have skills," Quick said. "You know how to adjust your body to the ball. I watch guys who have the ability to slow up and have a defender run up on them, on their back, so that they can catch the ball at a certain position. That's ball skills.
"I watch guys who can hold a defender off with one hand and make sure that their defender has to go through them, that he can't get to the ball and then at the last instant, they extend and make the catch. That's having ball skills. That's a lot different than just catching the ball. I think anybody can catch a ball. I can teach anyone to catch a ball, but the ball skills, some of that stuff is just a gift that guys have."
Also On The Eagle Eye In The Sky Podcast:
Chalk Talk with Mike Quick at 4:37
Two-technique with Seyi Ajirotutu at 27:38
Saturday Scouting at 30:41
With the NFL Scouting Combine just around the corner, Chris McPherson, Alex Smith and Fran Duffy talked about the six players who have the most to prove in Indianapolis on the Journey to the Draft Podcast presented by AAA.
1. LB Myles Jack - An athletic freak, the former UCLA star suffered a torn meniscus which prematurely ended his college career. This week, Jack told reporters that while the knee is healthy, he will only do interviews, the bench press and the medical checkup in Indianapolis.
2. DL Robert Nkemdiche - "Nkemdiche has a lot to prove," said Duffy. "Off the field, he has to talk about some of the transgressions and issues he's had. Athletically, he has a chance to really prove himself. And measurement wise, is he going to come in below 290 pounds, is he going to come in above 310?"
3. QB Trevone Boykin - "He's got some character issues that he'll certainly have to work out with teams during interviews," said Smith. "But also, is he a quarterback? I think he's got a couple of different things he'll have to prove in Indianapolis."
4. CB KeiVarae Russell - "He's got tremendous size at 6-1 and a little over 200 pounds, but athletically he should test really well," said McPherson. "You put those two together and wonder why he's not being discussed as a higher pick."
5. RB Derrick Henry - "Teams are going to be asking, 'How do his knees look? How do his feet look?'" said Duffy. "When you carry as much weight as he does at the running back position, that's going to be big ... Also, how athletic is he and does he have the ability to make defenders miss at the NFL level?"
6. LB Eric Striker - "The big question with him is where he fits in the defense," said Smith. "He was an edge rusher at Oklahoma, but is he a defensive end, a defensive tackle, a linebacker? I definitely think one area where he'll impress teams is the interview process."
Also on the Journey to the Draft Podcast presented by AAA:
Draft Buzz at 2:45Mr. Relevant with Dane Brugler of CBS Sports at 21:45Unofficial Visit with Eric Striker at 41:20On the Clock at 45:45Draft Mailbag at 58:00