"The new normal," as head coach Doug Pederson calls it, is an intention to be a Super Bowl-contending team for many seasons to come, for the Eagles are not interested in being "one-shot wonders" as keepers of the Lombardi Trophy. To that end, the significance of extending the contracts of Pederson and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman through the 2022 season, announced on Sunday, provides the organization an opportunity to keep "the new normal" a realistic goal for years to come.
"We are thrilled to solidify continuity in our organization's leadership with the extensions of Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman, whose collaborative partnership helped deliver our city its first Super Bowl Championship," said Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie. "Doug and Howie are committed to the success of our franchise by ensuring that we remain competitive, both in the short and long term. That unified vision for the future of our team is what gives us the best chance to win moving forward."
Success starts at the top, and success is achieved through stability. Lurie knows that as well as anyone in the league, having overseen both ends of the equation during his time in Philadelphia. Ray Rhodes lasted four seasons. Andy Reid was here for 14 years. Chip Kelly had three campaigns to get it right before his way was deemed wrong.
Following the 2015 season, Lurie reassembled the football front office, returning Roseman to the power position in charge of football operations and personnel after his "hiatus" during the Kelly years, and then going out and hiring Pederson as the head coach.
The organization then turned its attention toward cleaning up the salary cap situation, trimming the roster of misshapen pieces and focusing on the NFL Draft. It all worked out beautifully, didn't it? Roseman and his staff, Jake Rosenberg leading the way, put the Eagles back in a good position relative to the salary cap. Roseman traded away running back DeMarco Murray, cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso, and acquired the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft. Pederson and Roseman and the coaching staff performed their due diligence scouting the quarterback prospects and struck gold in Carson Wentz.
That was just the beginning of a two-year transformation that ended with Pederson and Roseman taking turns holding the Lombardi Trophy high minutes after the Eagles defeated New England 41-33 at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4 to win Super Bowl LII.
As that Super Bowl chapter ends – although the celebration certainly continues with Eagles fans – the franchise is starting anew with the goal of winning again and again. To do so, stability is critical. And by keeping Roseman and Pederson as a team with the new contracts, the Eagles took important steps to do just that.
It was a busy Sunday for the Eagles after a power-packed Saturday that featured the Enshrinement of Brian Dawkins into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 in Canton, Ohio. First, they announced the signing of veteran safety Corey Graham to a one-year contract, welcoming back Graham after his contribution to 2017 as a third safety. It wasn't a surprise that Graham was signed – the possibility was discussed as far back as draft weekend – and now the Eagles have shored up one of their few question marks on the roster. Graham's experience and knowledge of the defense give the Eagles a reliable third safety which allows coordinator Jim Schwartz the flexibility to move Malcolm Jenkins into the quasi-linebacker role where he excels, with Graham teaming with Rodney McLeod at safety. It's a "Big Nickel" personnel package that gives the Eagles enough size to battle against the run and enough coverage players on the field to match up in the passing game.
Later, the Eagles hold the first of two public practices at Lincoln Financial Field with the fans excited to see the team in action for the first time.
The lesson here with the Roseman/Pederson news is that the NFL is a place where fortunes can change in a hurry. Roseman had worked his way up the NFL's personnel ladder since joining the Eagles in 2001 and then was summarily cast to a background role during the Kelly years. Instead of sulking, Roseman reinvented his skill set, created out-of-the-box ways to make himself better and was right there, and ready to go, when Kelly's tenure ended.
Pederson certainly wasn't a unanimous thumbs-up when the Eagles hired him. The truth is, many mocked the hire. He's proven those doubters wrong.
As Pederson says he is "married" to Wentz in the long term, he and Roseman are joined at the hip as the Eagles move forward. They work terrifically well together and they know what works for the other. It won't be all smooth sailing for the Eagles, but neither Roseman nor Pederson have had easy careers. They've earned every bit of their success.
And now they are aligned for even more success. The Eagles have a good, talented roster with a lot of young players who have bright futures. This is a team that should be in contention for years to come. Taking care of the long-term picture in personnel/football operations and at the head coach position ensures the Eagles a long run of stability, and that equals victories and that means, hopefully, more Lombardi Trophies to enjoy in "the new normal."