After two months of mostly behind-the-scenes planning, the Eagles are about to transition into another phase of the offseason: adding, subtracting, and making fairly constant changes to a roster that played to a 7-9 record last season.
With the NFL Scouting Combine here, it's nearly game time, then, for Howie Roseman and his staff.
"Improving the team. That's the goal for all of us. In the matter of a couple of weeks here, we're going to be adding to the team, hopefully, in free agency," Roseman said. "Our scouts have been working hard on this draft since May and we all wait for this time of the year, when you can actually add to the team.
"It's an exciting time. And for us, going to Indianapolis and having a chance to meet the prospects, getting to know them better, as much as possible, from every angle, it's really important. I think we did a good job of that as a staff last year, and I'm excited to keep it going and get better as a football team."
Roseman characterized the 2017 draft class as "deep in certain positions, depending on what positions you are looking for. The Combine helps with adding more information and completing the package on each player."
There have been some reported topics on the table for Roseman and the Eagles, including how they are going to handle some players on the current roster who are scheduled to become free agents on March 9, creating some room within the salary cap, and then going out and adding some players from other teams whose contracts have expired.
- When asked about reports that offensive tackle Jason Peters was first asked to take a pay cut and later that Peters will play this season with no change to his contract, Roseman said, "I would say this about all of our players: You want all of your players back, especially those who have been so productive. When you talk about Jason, he's a Hall of Fame player and there would be nothing better than to have him end his career here. But I'm not going to get into specifics about reports or any player's individual situation."
- On asked if the Eagles offered Peters a pay cut, Roseman said, "We don't talk about our negotiations with any player. That is personal business and I would say the same thing about any player."
- On the team's salary cap situation and his plans looking ahead, Roseman said, "We're going to comply with the salary cap. We're always looking for opportunities to improve our football team, but we also have to be aware of the situation we are in now with regards to the salary cap as well as look forward with our projections. We want to compete for a long time."
- On the two weeks ahead, with the NFL Combine first and then free agency immediately after, starting with a March 7 date that allows teams to negotiate with representatives of pending unrestricted free agents ahead of March 9: "It's one thing to the next. You wake up and get right to work and then don't get to bed until 11 o'clock every night. It's exciting and it's non-stop. We have a great staff and we are ready. Joe Douglas (vice president of personnel) did a great job last week with the meetings within our department getting ready for our work in Indianapolis. D.J. (Dwayne Joseph, director of pro scouting) has done a great job with the pro department getting us ready for free agency. Jake (Rosenberg, director of football administration) has done an unbelievable job preparing us for all scenarios, and Alec (Halaby, vice president of football operations and strategy) helps in all of those scenarios, too. I think we are full bore and we're ready to improve this football team."
Specifics? Roseman wouldn't budge, as befits this time of the offseason for NFL personnel executives. We'll know soon enough, with the offseason action about to heat up in the league, what the Eagles have in mind to improve in the season to come. !