Judging Howie Roseman's Offseason

How did the Eagles GM do digging out of the mess he helped create? The answers begin filtering in when the Eagles hit the field for their first practice of training camp
Publish date:

There is no boundary line separating the NFL’s offseason from the start of a new season, but the opening of training camp feels like the right place to put one.

For the Eagles, that means the offseason ends Wednesday when the first practice of camp begins at 10 a.m.

So, now feels like as good a time as any to examine what general manager Howie Roseman did from a personnel perspective since a most disappointing 2020 ended at 4-11-1.

Remember the outcry that Roseman was not purged with Doug Pederson back in January?

Well, my thinking was he made this mess, let him dig his way out of it.

He may very well have done that.

Here’s what I liked about Roseman’s offseason:

The draft. He maneuvered his way around the board to land another first-round pick in 2021 by dealing with the Dolphins then trading up to No. 10 to be sure he didn’t miss out on one of the five players he had targeted, which was DeVonta Smith, who was the last man standing of a group that included CBs Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn, WR Jaylen Waddle, and TE Kyle Pitts.

RELATED: Maturity Might be the Key to DeVonta Smith's Success - Sports ...

The restructures. Roseman was staring at a salary cap that was about $49 million over compliance when the new league year began in March, with a lot of that due to the Carson Wentz record-setting cap hit of $33.8M.

The GM successfully restructured some 2021 cap-heavy contracts, including those of Brandon Brooks, Javon Hargrave, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, and Darius Slay. It’s a kicking-the-can-down-the-road approach, and the salary cap hits for those players in 2022, especially Slay’s, is massive but was necessary to navigate this year.

The one-year deals: Roseman loaded up with eight players who were willing to sign one-year, prove-it type deals.

Those players are CB Steven Nelson, S Anthony Harris, QB Joe Flacco, LB Eric Wilson, DE/LB Ryan Kerrigan, DT Hassan Ridgeway, S Andrew Adams, and TE Richard Rodgers.

That is some good talent for some really good value.

Here’s what I didn’t like about Roseman’s offseason:

The handling of Zach Ertz: Yes, it’s a business, but Ertz is unhappy and, after giving eight years of his career to the organization and becoming an integral member of the community with his charitable works from him and his wife Julie, his situation should have been handled differently.

He wants out, let him out.

RELATED: 'Great Chance' Zach Ertz Will Play with Eagles in 2021 ...

Maybe that's too sentimental of a way of thinking, but Ertz deserved better treatment after playing through a variety of injuries, including a lacerated kidney and broken rib in 2019’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

He is still on the roster, though, and on Tuesday night he reported to camp, so he will presumably be on the field for Wednesday morning’s practice.

Drafting Landon Dickerson in the second round. The mammoth OL from the University of Alabama may turn out to the Eagles next great center after Jason Kelce, but, right now, it feels like a reach, especially with so many defensive backs still on the board.

Instead, Roseman went with an oft-injured player at No. 37 ahead of CBs Kelvin Joseph (44), Asante Samuel, Jr (47), and safety Andre Cisco (65) rather than address an area of need with players who had high grades in round two.

RELATED: Eagles Finally Get Deal Done with Landon Dickerson - Sports ...

Roseman will tell you he’s not done adding talent, and he may not be. There could be an August trade and waiver wire pickups before the start of the regular season.

Still, it’s been a most interesting offseason for a team that owner Jeffrey Lurie said is in transition.

Did Roseman redeem himself?

How it all comes together begins Wednesday when answers begin to filter in.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.