The rule of thumb in the NFL is to process very quickly and keep what's directly ahead of you the important focus. You know, the 24-hour rule. With that in mind, and fresh off the conclusion of Super Bowl LVI (congratulations to the Rams), we welcome you to the 2022 NFL season. It doesn't "officially" begin until March 16 when the league's business year starts at 4 PM that day, but for all intents and purposes, it is already underway.
Every team is 0-0. Every team is already deep in its look at the salary cap and how to best manage the $208.2 million projected ceiling. The roster evaluations are deep into the process. Free-agent targets are already being discussed. And then there is the NFL Draft, the all-consuming weekend that teams value above all else in the roster-building process.
So, that's where we are. It's 2022, and the Eagles are in a position of power for an exciting offseason ahead – the Eagles have some wiggle room under the salary cap, they have a young and talented roster that reached the playoffs in 2021, and they have a draft weekend highlighted by 10 draft picks, nine of them in the first five rounds included picks 15, 16, and 19 in Round 1.
"For us, what we are doing right now is we are evaluating our team and continuing to figure out ways to build," Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager Howie Roseman said back on January 19 at the end-of-2021 joint press conference with Head Coach Nick Sirianni sitting next to him.
"We are not happy about the fact that our season ended in the playoffs. We want to build a team that has home playoff games, gets to play in front of our fan base, and really build a team that gets a bye. Those opportunities, those assets you talk about, allow us to continue to build and really helps us add good players to this team. Our job is to look at everything, to evaluate every position, every player. We do that not only for right now in this moment, but we also do it so we have information when players become available at any position."
As the Eagles gather this week at the NovaCare Complex, where they've been since the season ended, they will continue to A) Evaluate the current roster based on the 2021 season; B) Examine the offensive and defensive schemes; C) Dig deep into the salary cap and making projections for 2022 and the seasons beyond; and D) Prepare to address the roster via free agency, the NFL Draft, the trade market, and the waiver wire route.
In other words, it's the calm before what's going to be a fun and terrific storm as the Eagles launch into 2022.
The Eagles were 9-8 in Sirianni's first year and they installed the pilings of the foundation and established a culture under the direction of his five core values. A locker room that had a strong mix of established veterans combined with younger players bonded to turn the '21 season around and reach the postseason. They now understand what it takes to win consistently in the NFL and they have a sense of just how far away they are from being a team that makes a deep run year after year in the postseason. A team that started the season committing too many mental mistakes, mostly penalties, took Sirianni's "one percent better every day" message literally.
Just how far away are the Eagles from being a Super Bowl team? We saw from both the Rams and Bengals that wall-to-wall discipline, sound coaching decisions, and players focusing on doing their jobs is a winning formula. A little bit of luck helps as well, but that's an intangible that is hard to anticipate.
Anyway, it's that time of the year again, when every team is back to the baseline and all equal. Those in the business call it the grind and here we are, all 32 teams on the first rung of the 2022 ladder. A celebration will be held in Los Angeles later this week and we all know the thrill of victory. It's a feeling the Eagles want to experience again in the very near future, and with that, the work commences behind the scenes as Roseman and Co. put together the 2022 plan to move the Eagles forward.