Howie Roseman wants the Eagles to be good. And if his recent actions at the helm of the Philly front office haven’t endeared him to Birds fans yet, his moves Thursday most definitely did.
“We may have to take it on the chin for a year or two here,” the Eagles GM told the media a week ago, addressing what his strategy was to build around Carson Wentz in free agency. “But if we make this right, we can build around [Wentz] for a really long time.”
He sounded like he had the long term in mind, butThursday he addressed the short term.
In a matter of just hours, Roseman turned the Eagles receiving core, the worst unit in football last season, into a juggernaut. More moves are expected to come as the Eagles must shed salary due to being over the cap as of Thursday evening.
Here’s a brief look at Metro’s grades for Roseman’s moves on a busy start to the NFL’s new year:
Signing free agent wide receiver Alshon Jeffery
In 12 games with the Bears last season, Jeffery outgainedthe Eagles’ top wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Matthews will become a more valuable member of the Eagles as their de facto slot receiver while Jeffery is betting on himself as the Eagles WR1.
He turned down a multiyear deal from the Vikings and accepted a one-year, $14 million pact with Philly looking to earn an even bigger payday in 2018. That drive and motivation will make Eagles fans pretty excited as they now have Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Jordan Matthews at wideout with Zach Ertz and Brent Celek in the middle.
What a difference a year makes.
Signing free agent guard Chance Warmack
Warmack was a top 10 pick out of Alabama by the Titans in 2013 and he has 46 career NFL starts. The red flag is a hand injury that cost him most of the 2016 regular season. However, Warmack gives the Eagles offensive line depth, and the chance to move Issac Seumalo to center if Jason Kelce is traded or cut to open up cap space. At $1.5 million, Warmack’s deal is a steal for Philly.
Cutting Connor Barwin
It’s hard to separate the fact that Barwin is a really talented player and a fan favorite — as well as a key member of the Philadelphia community — from the fact that releasing him Thursday made too much football sense not to happen.
His release opened up $7.5 million in cap space for the cash-strapped Eagles as they try and maneuver the rich free agent class. He also has become less of an asset for the Eagles on the field as he thrived much more in a 3-4 defense (especially during his 14.5 sack Pro Bowl 2014 season).
He has a lot of football left and in the right place can be a Pro Bowler again, he just doesn’t quite fit in Philly’s plans as of late.
Signing free agent wide receiver Torrey Smith
Torrey Smith’s recent stats are misleading. He was not used properly during two seasons in San Francisco and the speedy 28-year-old wide receiver spoke out, saying he had a terrible professional experience.
He hails from Maryland (and his wife is a Philly-area native) and would be a fantastic No. 2 receiver. He can stretch the field and has 37 career touchdowns as well as a respectable yards per catch at 17.0 for his career.
At $15 million over three seasons, it’s a pretty solid signing with much better value than the Browns got at a similar player the Eagles were interested in in Kenny Britt.
Signing free agent linebacker Najee Goode
The special teams star and backup linebacker add depth to the Eagles at just over $1 million for a one-year pact. He also has familiarity with the team having played in 45 games with the Eagles. He has the second most special teams tackles of any Birds player.