Howie Roseman did not know the exact reason why he was given additional responsibility earlier this offseason, but all of his hard work, dedication and experience over the past 12 years with the Eagles prepared him for the moment.
Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie and Joe Banner had already agreed after the conclusion of the 2011 season to put in place a succession plan that would allow Banner, the team's longtime President, to become a Strategic Advisor. They knew that Roseman was ready to take full command of the salary cap and contract negotiations while Chief Operating Officer Don Smolenski was more-than-qualified to become the team President.
The Eagles were shifting to a more traditional football model where there would be a coach in Andy Reid, a general manager in Roseman and a team president in Smolenski who was not involved in football operations. Banner, who had been team President for nearly 11 years, was renowned as one of the league's top executives for his success in both the business operations as well the football operations of the franchise.
Roseman's performance in assembling the current team this offseason just cemented what Lurie and Banner already knew. That Roseman, a young star at just 36 years old, was set to put his own signature on the team.
"I think I felt incredibly prepared based on the experience I had, the way that they brought me into this organization doing salary cap, doing contracts, and doing some pro personnel and doing college scouting," Roseman said. "This was obviously an opportunity I had looked for my whole career, so to be in that moment and to give me those responsibilities and also have someone like Joe who I could rely on and talk to, it was just incredible for me, exciting. The offseason was a lot of fun and now we have to go and try to put the best team together and win games and get the excitement of these fans and this city together."
The Eagles successfully negotiated long-term contract extensions for franchise cornerstones like defensive end Trent Cole, offensive tackle Todd Herremans, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and running back LeSean McCoy. Guard Evan Mathis tested the free agency waters, but re-signed with the Eagles. The defense was shored up with the acquisition of two-time Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans. And when the league's best left tackle, Jason Peters, ruptured his Achilles, the Eagles had the salary cap space to net their top free agent target in offensive tackle Demetress Bell to take over. In addition, the Eagles had a draft that was universally applauded that opened with the trade up to get defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
As much as Roseman accomplished, he knows that his greatest challenge has yet to be completed.
"I think the greatest challenge is trying to win a world championship. That's our goal. That's what we're trying to do," Roseman said. "In this sport, at the end of the day, only one team is standing. It's incredibly challenging, but if you're competitive there's nothing better than that. What excites me is thinking about the possibilities of that happening at some point here and working towards that and it's going to be difficult. We've got a really tough division. We've got an incredibly tough conference, but we're really looking forward to the season."
It will be Roseman's first, however, without his mentor in Banner.
"Joe did a phenomenal job for this team and this city," Roseman said. "It's a great opportunity for all of us. Joe's meant a lot to me both personally and professionally. I know people were using 'bittersweet,' I wish we could pick a different word. But we care about him a lot and we wish him all the best. Luckily, he'll be with us here until he finds this other great opportunity."
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider