The Eagles have spent the offseason looking to build upon the foundation that was set last year when Chip Kelly became the first rookie head coach in franchise history to lead the team to a division title. Prior to free agency, the Eagles solidified the nucleus of the team by signing five players, including offensive linemen Jason Peters and Jason Kelce, to new deals. Once free agency kicked off two weeks ago, the Eagles jumped into the fray signing four new players, trading for running back Darren Sproles and re-signing Nate Allen and Donnie Jones.
This week, the NFL is hosting the Owners' Meetings in Orlando where among other things the teams will vote on the rule proposals for the 2014 season. General manager Howie Roseman met with reporters and addressed a wide array of topics. Here is an overview of what Roseman discussed ...
On the status of wide receiver DeSean Jackson: "He's still under contract. For us, until there's anything to report on our players, that's where we are.
"I've always been open and willing to talk to (the media) and our fans, and I think if it's appropriate other than speculation, I'll be happy to do that. Obviously, the only thing we care about is winning. We want to win. We are very fortunate we have an owner (Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie) who gives us the resources to do it. I think if you look, even now, where we are in team spending this offseason, it's high. We're going to be aggressive. We're going to do whatever it takes."
On whether the team will sign a backup quarterback: "That's a position we've always talked about having a lot of depth, a lot of competition. ... If there was an opportunity to add a player who we thought added competition, was a good player, we'd have to look at that."
On the culture of the locker room that is being cultivated: "It's going to be a constant mission for us to have the right culture and the right chemistry, but when we looked at last year it was really the first year in that process. It was a great learning experience for us about what we had, what we needed. ... Certainly, that takes time. It's the most important thing that we're trying to do is develop that and develop a core group of players that we can go with for a period of time. I think that's something that is constantly evolving."
On the philosophy of the decisions made in free agency: "For us, it's all about making sure that the guys that we're paying the money to are a fit in our scheme. That we're not just paying because they can do something well, but we're not going to maximize their talents. It's because we have a limited amount of resources. We have a limited amount of (draft) picks. We have a limited amount of money to be able to build our team. ... We're trying to build a culture. We're trying to build cohesion.
"If you're going to pay a guy that sort of money, what is he going to do in your scheme and how do you project him moving (forward)? You can't sign a player in free agency based on what they've done. You have to plan for what they're going to do, and how are you going to use them and how are you going to change what you're doing with a particular player, and does that make sense? … I think there are a lot of factors involved in it, but in college there are a lot of good players and then there is also the time that you take for a negotiation and it doesn't always work out. You're bidding against 31 other teams that have walk-away numbers, so in free agency, that's kind of how we look at it."
On the addition of Malcolm Jenkins: "What we were looking for specifically at the safety spot was we were looking for a quarterback for our defense. We were looking for a safety who could do a variety of things. The way we play defense is different than the way other people play defense. First off, our most important function is making sure we get the players that fit our scheme.
"He's 6-feet. He's over 200 pounds. He's got over 34-inch arms. He's got a lot of length. He has ability to come down and play the slot with a corner background at both Ohio State and New Orleans. He has ability to play in the deep end and then cover a tight end. He can do a lot of things that we look for in a safety, so our scheme is different than others with what the responsibilities are. In a lot of schemes, the safety's primarily responsibility is the run game and making sure the fit for the run game is right.
"You add to it that he was a team captain and, obviously, when we talk about building culture and chemistry and the words that go with Malcolm, the leadership that comes with him is obviously a huge plus and something we were looking for."
On the contracts doled out to players across the league in free agency: "A lot of teams had cap room, and I think there was more cap room in the league than there has been in the last couple of years. In the market, I think there were a lot more teams that were signing their own players early. There's a lot of competition for the top players in free agency and you try to figure out where you are on those and then it's just what we talk about a lot, trying to make sure we keep our own draft picks and save money and sometimes you look at it and it's kind of hard because you try to be aggressive, but we spent a lot of money on our own players this offseason, and that was really our primary focus in free agency, signing those guys. When you look at those contracts, we were aggressive in trying to keep them off of the market, even if was a year early, but when you get to the free agent market, you sometimes forget what you did two weeks ago."
On the addition of Darren Sproles: "For us, it was all the things that he brought to the table. You talk about his ability to be a dynamic space player with the ball in his hands, whether it's catching the ball or running the football. We've had a churning of the return position, and when we went back and looked at his returns this year and looked back in the past and saw what we thought he can do, we still think that he's a dynamic returner and every time he's got the ball in his hands, defensive coordinators and special teams coaches have to game plan for it. We saw it firsthand on more than one occasion.
"Add that to the leadership that he brings. We have a young offensive skill position set and he has off-the-charts leadership, off-the-charts work ethic, off-the-charts character, certainly a fit for us in our scheme offensively and special teams. We feel like because of the way he gets touches more in space than around the line of scrimmage, so getting hit more by linebackers and defensive backs rather than big 300-pound linemen, that certainly helps him."
On Michael Vick signing with the Jets: "It was very important to Mike that he was legitimately going to have an opportunity to start. I think we all appreciated his honesty and him being upfront with us with what he's looking for, and we said from day one that we can't compete with that. I don't think this is just a money issue for Mike. For him, it was about the opportunity and what he wanted to do."