Well, the worst kept secret in Philadelphia is out: the Philadelphia Eagles have dealt the assumed franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz, to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 second rounder that can potentially become a first. Not quite the dazzling haul that general manager Howie Roseman gave up to get the touted quarterback prospect back in 2016. In an offseason where the coach that brought the team’s first Super Bowl, Doug Pederson, was shown the door, and the quarterback you were supposed to build around, Carson Wentz, was dealt for pennies on the dollar, questions remain. Where do the Eagles go from here, and is there any hope that they won’t be in the NFC East’s cellar for the next few seasons?
Who Gets the Blame?
In a season where the Eagles weren’t winning many football trophies, fans across the Delaware Valley were asking how a team that won the Super Bowl three years ago and entered this season with so much hype could fall flat on their faces. While the easy answers center around the coaching and the play on the field, and plenty of blame can be laid at Coach Pederson’s feet and Carson Wentz’s regression, it doesn’t tell the full story. While the focus was on a coach that couldn’t seem to adapt to a rapidly changing game or a QB that couldn’t seem to make adjustments and was trying to do too much, the man who put the roster together, GM Howie Roseman, should receive a lion share of the blame.
How Roster Construction Failed the Eagles
Howie Roseman built a Super Bowl-winning team with veterans, football mercenaries, an MVP first half from Wentz, and then the ultimate Philadelphia underdog story with Nick Foles leading that improbable Super Bowl run. However, in the years since, Roseman’s approach to filling holes across the roster meant more veterans on big money. In the cases of Alshon Jeffery, immovable contracts acted as anchors on the team. With aging veterans not delivering and getting injured, the team was forced to turn their depth to keep seasons afloat. Which then exposed another deficiency of Roseman’s tenure as the GM: poor draft returns.
Good Teams Are Built in Free Agency, Dynasties Come Through the Draft
While proven quality players can be found in free agency, you’ll have to pay a premium to get them on your team, thus stretching your salary cap and putting yourself in a corner. Successful teams make the most out of the draft picks they have at their disposal and identify players that can become contributors. While no team will hit on 100% of their draft picks, you do have to hit a good number of them to build a consistent winner. While Wentz, Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert, Isaac Seumalo, Jalen Mills, and Avonte Maddox panned out in their own respects, other draft returns have not been good. Detractors will point to the Andre Dillard, J.J Arcega-Whiteside, and Jalen Hurts picks as head-scratchers when there were other clear positions of need or better players at the same position. The fact the Hurts will most likely take over for Wentz this coming season does not erase the fact that other options available when they made that pick could have helped boost the team. When your talent evaluation process doesn’t hit on the high draft picks, you put your team behind the eight ball long-term.
Where Does that Leave the Eagles Now?
As the Eagles circle the wagons and lick their wounds of losing their once-franchise QB and the only coach in franchise history with a win in the Big Game, the Eagles have decisions to make. Their 4-11-1 season netted them the sixth pick in the 2021 draft, but given their recent draft history, is the confidence there to believe they will hit with this pick and the picks they got from the Colts? Do they pick the best available player to help Jalen Hurts succeed? Or do they try to find another quarterback to build around? In an offseason with this much uncertainty, the Spike’s Trophies team doesn’t have the easy answers.
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