PHILADELPHIA – Doug Pederson did his job. The Eagles coach somehow mined nine wins from a team that seemed to suffer at least one key injury in each week, and he found a way to cobble together a band of practice squad players to win crucial games and the NFC East title.
Now, it’s Howie Roseman’s turn. Like Pederson, the Eagles general manager has his hands full.
He has 14 unrestricted free agents that he must decide whether to offer a contract or let go. He has players such as safety Malcom Jenkins and tight end Zach Ertz who will be looking for raises. And he has players under contract, such as Alshon Jeffery, that he may try to find a way to not bring back. Then there’s the draft preparation, and the Eagles are expected to have 10 picks, including the 21st overall selection in the first round.
First, though, come the free agents.
“There’s a lot of free agents on this football team,” Ertz said during the players’ locker room clean out on Monday. “I can only speak for myself and fact of the matter is that no one knows what’s going to happen, with me or with anyone. Probably the only one who knows for sure is (quarterback) Carson (Wentz). It’s been an incredible seven years for me here. I want to be here forever. I hope I’m able to be here forever.
“Whatever they’re going to decide they’re going to decide, but it’s been a heckuva run. I don’t ever want it to end because it’s been so much fun. I’ve grown so much here, my family’s grown so much here. So I can only speak for myself: I’m looking forward to next year playing here.”
Ertz has two years left on the contract extension he signed in 2016. He has base salaries in those years of $6.4 million and $8.2 million but salary cap hits of more than $12 million each season.
The tight end talked as if he expects a contract extension of some kind.
“We’ll see,” he said. “Obviously it’s a business. I understand that. Philly is where my heart is. They know that. We’re going to do everything we can to get it done.”
Ertz also made it sound like he could be traded.
“I have a lot of individual goals from a career standpoint here that I feel I’m extremely close to attaining,” he said. “In terms of team success, I feel like we’re close. I never want to play for any other team. The most important thing is winning championships for this city.
“The feeling you get playing here is second to none, understanding the fans, understanding the passion. People say it’s tough playing here, I’m like it’s not tough playing here. It’s amazing when you win. It’s a little harder when you lose but when the season is over, they’re proud always of their teams.”
Here are the Eagles unrestricted free agents:
Running back Jordan Howard.
Cornerback Jalen Mills.
Cornerback Ronald Darby.
Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill.
Left tackle Jason Peters.
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
Quarterback Josh McCown.
Safety Rodney McLeod.
Receiver Nelson Agholor.
Defensive lineman Vinny Curry.
Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.
Defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway.
Tight end Richard Rodgers.
Offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
These are the Eagles exclusive rights free agents, which are players who have played wo seasons but can remain property of the team as long as that team makes them a one-year tender offer for the minimum salary:
Punter Cameron Johnston.
Receiver Deontay Burnett.
Cornerback Craig James.
Running back Corey Clement is a restricted free agent, which means the Eagles can tender him an offer and another team has a right to match that offer and sign him but would have to surrender a draft pick commensurate with the tender amount.