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Roseman, Eagles Keep Building A Roster

There isn't a whole lot of time to relax for Howie Roseman, although now would seem to be the right moment. From the time the Eagles hired Doug Pederson and laid out the offseason plan, Roseman has been on the go through free agency and the NFL Draft.

It's really been an engulfing offseason for Roseman and the Eagles. They've hired a new coaching staff and reorganized the front office. Roseman and his staff signed eight players on the roster to new contracts, released a couple of veteran starters, made a total of four trades, signed 11 NFL veterans to free-agent contracts, drafted eight players and are working on signing a post-draft crop of rookies.

Whew. Exhale.

Well, maybe not.

Phase 2 of the offseason continues. Draft picks must be signed. Teams around the league are releasing veterans, and the Eagles have their eyes open. A rookie minicamp arrives in less than two weeks. There is a contract situation with defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to be addressed.

"There is still a lot of work to do," Roseman said.

And there has been a lot of work done. The Eagles have changed a lot since the 2015 meltdown. Did they fix everything? That's tough to do in such a short period of time.

"We knew we couldn't do everything. When you look at really good teams, it's going to be built over a few-year period of time, especially now just kind of how we're building it," Roseman said. "We knew that it wasn't all going to come this offseason. But our priority list was to keep the main thing the main thing. Look at that depth chart and when we got to Training Camp and look at that quarterback position and be really excited about it. I think that was our first conversation. We're extremely excited about what we have there when you talk about Sam (Bradford), Chase (Daniel) and Carson (Wentz) and, shoot, our fourth guy (McLeod Bethel-Thompson) is slinging the ball around pretty well, too.

"And then it was the O line, going in and reinforcing the offensive line. We added Brandon (Brooks) and (Stefen) Wisniewski in free agency, we drafted two guys, we've got a couple of guys coming in here after the draft that we're real excited about that we had good, draftable grades on as well and then you flip it over, D-line, and we re-signed Vinny (Curry, defensive end), bringing those guys back adding to the defensive end position."

The Eagles loaded up on the offensive line, the secondary, they think they added a franchise quarterback (for the future) – they hit on just about every spot on the roster. It's a continuing shaping to get down to the final 53 players in September. There is a long, long way to go, but for the most part the Eagles have now what they're going to take into the regular season.

How many of the rookies are going to instantly impact this football team? Which of the veteran free agents will make that smooth transition and start right away and play at a high level and upgrade the performance of a team that has collapsed in each of the last two Decembers? Consider the investment the Eagles made in free agency, retaining Bradford to start at quarterback, bringing on board safety Rodney McLeod and linebacker Nigel Bradham and cornerback Leodis McKelvin, all of whom should be starters in Jim Schwartz's defense. And on offense, in addition to right guard Brooks, the Eagles think wide receiver Rueben Randle will contribute heavily and that both wide receiver Chris Givens and cornerback Ron Brooks will be important pieces on their respective sides of the ball.

It hasn't been a total roster makeover for this football team; rather, it's been a progressive mix with short-, mid- and long-range goals in mind. The Eagles haven't thrown away 2016 and, in fact, expect to contend in the NFC East and the postseason. There are some issues to resolve here – Bradford remains away during this voluntary Phase 2 and Cox's contract picture is complicated but, Roseman says, will get done – and those are issues that many NFL teams deal with during the course of the offseason.

Maybe, then, there isn't going to be any time for Roseman to sit back and take a deep breath. The roster is a continuous work in progress, and as much as the Eagles have accomplished in the months since the 2015 season ended, there is a lot of ground to cover before the Eagles are where they want to be.

"That's just the nature of this thing," Roseman said. "You're always trying to build and improve and see what can be done."

The move up in the draft to select Wentz is the headline grabber, and the Eagles came away impressed with everything the young man offered in the many hours they spent together before the draft and the day after the draft when Wentz visited Philadelphia and wowed everyone with his poise and likeability. He is the long-range prospect and, likely, the player by which this entire offseason will be judged.

"He's got all the traits in his body to be a great player, but it's going to take time, he has to develop the right way," Roseman said. "We talked about this in the draft room: It's going to take all of us, all of us, to make sure that he's a good player. But we're really excited and as our fans saw when he got here, he gives you great comfort when you're around him that he's going to do whatever it takes, that you're going to be able to follow his lead."

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