In defense of the offense … as it stands now.
I know it's fashionable – and it's fair -- to wonder what the Eagles are going to do to address the offensive side of the ball in this offseason – to date, they've retained quarterback Nate Sudfeld in free agency, decided not to extend a tender to restricted free agent running back Corey Clement (he remains an unrestricted free agent), and saw running back Jordan Howard (Miami), wide receiver Nelson Agholor (Las Vegas), and swing tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Detroit) leave via free agency. Left tackle Jason Peters remains an unrestricted free agent, so there's that, too.
This is part of the plan, the Eagles insist. They entered free agency with modest dollars under the $198.2 million 2020 salary cap – they had the 19th-most money available among the 32 NFL teams when free agency began, according to OverTheCap.com – and yet they added a Pro Bowl cornerback in Darius Slay and a rising star in defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, two blue-chip talents to a roster and a defense in need of them. Nickel cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman adds more talent and versatility at cornerback, Will Parks has a chance to play a significant role as a hybrid safety and Jatavis Brown brings athleticism to the linebacker corps. The defense was the priority in free agency because the Eagles targeted specific players, addressed clear needs, and beautifully managed the finances to make it work this year and not stress the picture in the seasons ahead.
It was, everyone would agree, a job well done.
What about the offense? It's coming; it's coming. To what degree, hey, that's what we're all going to find out. But it's not like the Eagles are starting from scratch here. Taken as a whole, in fact, the Eagles have the makings of an outstanding group as is.
Crazy talk? Not in the least. This is an offense that has three Pro Bowl offensive linemen – center Jason Kelce, right guard Brandon Brooks, and right tackle Lane Johnson – and another two who are highly promising – left guard Isaac Seumalo is a very good player at his position and left tackle Andre Dillard showed great skills in his time there during his rookie season. The tight end position is as good as any in the league with Pro Bowl regular Zach Ertz and third-year man Dallas Goedert forming the most potent 1-2 tandem in the league.
At running back, Miles Sanders heads a three-man group that is young, and there's no getting around that, but we saw in his rookie season how talented Sanders is and how much he and Boston Scott play off of each other in the backfield.
Quarterback Carson Wentz is coming off a 27 (touchdowns) and seven (interceptions) season, and his arrow continues to go up. Wentz is one of the most talented, driven, cerebral quarterbacks in the league.
Yes, I know the wide receiver picture has everyone wondering, and that's fair. The Eagles passed on the wide receivers available in free agency and they didn't execute trades when DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs were moved. Instead, the Eagles expect their own veterans, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, to bounce back from injury-riddled seasons. They've got some young players to develop under new receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.
They have, should they choose, options in what is said to be a receiver-rich NFL Draft on April 23-25.
There is no panic here. Why should there be? The Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, one of the best quarterbacks, a rising standout at running back, two tight ends who are among the 10 best – at least – at their position in the game, and two veteran receivers who have done it at a super-high level in the NFL. Exactly how many offenses in the NFL have all of that combined at this point in the offseason?
That's a whole lot to feel good about. Right now. And the Eagles can add to it in the draft multiple times as they have eight draft picks and plenty of opportunities to continue the talent parade. The Eagles are still scouring free agency and you know that Howie Roseman has the phone lines open for trade opportunities and there remains an aggressive mindset to add top-line talent to the roster.
That includes both sides of the ball and all three phases of the team. In these times of high stress, feel good about your Philadelphia Eagles. This has been a terrific start to free agency and the defense has taken a significant jump. The offense? The Eagles have a lot of good things in place and they're going to make sure that when it's all said and done, the offense is ready to fly high in 2020.