The Philadelphia Eagles made a lot of moves when free agency started last week. This is nothing new for the Eagles, given their aggressive pursuit of players in the last few years. This time, the difference is that Philadelphia isn’t pursuing big stars and isn’t being aggressive on purpose, according to general manager Howie Roseman on March 19.
According to Comcast SportsNet’s Geoff Mosher, Roseman spoke at the NFL’s annual owners meetings on March 19 and stated that the market helped the Eagles make their early moves. He wasn’t aiming to find a starting cornerback like Cary Williams and a linebacker like Connor Barwin, yet the market made them affordable enough to go after anyway.
The days of aggressively overpaying for the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jason Babin appear to be over for the Eagles. Now Philadelphia is building more for the future than for just making a big splash -- or at least that is how Roseman put it.
Roseman explained that the Eagles won’t get “just a one-year guy” with any future moves. Instead, they want players who have “a future as we build this program.” There aren’t many contributors left who fit that bill in free agency, so the Eagles are likely turning their attention to next month’s draft.
The free agent market let the Eagles sign players on the relative cheap and build up depth in valuable positions. But despite having $18 million left in cap space, according to Comcast SportsNet's Reuben Frank, Philadelphia will probably use much of it for its next draft class.
The Eagles really can’t afford to do business as usual, since splashy free agents helped destroy them and the Andy Reid era. Signing the likes of Williams, Barwin, Patrick Chung, Bradley Fletcher and James Casey may not set Philadelphia on fire, yet it fits Roseman’s plan to a t.
Now that the market is drying up, Roseman and Philadelphia will likely move to phase two of rebuilding the roster in the draft. They could get sidetracked if more valuable, affordable free agents become available in coming weeks, but that appears unlikely at the moment.