The Eagles and Howie Roseman seem to have a plan: Surround Carson Wentz with as much talent as is physically (and financially) possible.
They put their money where their mouth is in signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith — two of the best wide receivers available in free agency. So much of their money was spent that as of Monday the team stands more than $5 million over the salary cap spending limit.
According to reports all across the NFL, the team is intent on giving Wentz— entering his sophomore NFL season at age 24 this fall — even more weapons.
“We’re excited about the draft; we’re excited about the next few weeks here to look at what we have, see if there are opportunities to add to our team,” Roseman said when free agency began,”and then go into the draft and really be able to take the best available player.”
The key words there are “best available.”
The team desperately needs a cornerback. It also really needs some help on the defensive front after the team let Bennie Logan walk and cut Connor Barwin. But the team has worked out the biggest offensive names in the draft in recent weeks, and has welcomed players like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Mike Williams to visit in recent days.
They’ve had record-setting 40-yard-dash artist John Ross to town as mock drafts project Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey to the Eagles with the 14th overall pick.
The Birds are seemingly comfortable trusting the defense to mastermind Jim Schwartz, filling in the pieces with late round picks and undrafted free agents and spending as much capital as they can on weapons for Wentz.
And another sleeper position in this draft is offensive line. As the Eagles add weapons and build an offense for years to come around Wentz’ strengths and weaknesses, they’ll need to get younger up front. It’s an issue Roseman is well-aware of.
“I think you go back to how we started this, and we believe in the lines and building along the lines,” Roseman said.”It would be a disservice for us to not also talk about our offensive line because it starts up front, and if he doesn’t have time to throw, it doesn’t matter who we have on the outside.”
With a deep pool of cornerback talent, all signs point to Philly taking the best offensive weapon left on the board when the Eagles are on the clock, followed by cornerback help in the middle rounds (though some big name defenders have visited as well incornerbackMarlon Humphrey and linebackersReuben Foster and Ryan Anderson).
Whether it’s a winning strategy will be unknown for a few years — but this offseason is the beginning of the “build around Wentz era” — for better or worse.