Don’t expect Howie Roseman’s uncharacteristically quiet start to this year’s free agency period to linger much longer.
The Eagles’ general manager shed roughly $70 million in salary to finally become cap compliant earlier this week and is ready to start spending again. Roseman has typically gotten involved with a top free agent or two the last few years. But with a rebuild on the horizon and money remaining tight, he conceded they’ve taken a more patient approach this March.
They made their first deals of the new league year just before Roseman spoke Thursday morning, agreeing to terms with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Andrew Adams and agreeing to bring defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway back next season.
“In terms of the next couple days and the next couple weeks, every day we’re meeting about the players that are available,” Roseman said during a Thursday news conference. “We’re talking about the players who are available with our personnel staff, with our front office staff, with our coaching staff, and we’re looking to see what the fits will be.”
The “fit” for this upcoming season doesn’t look the same as it has the last few offseasons. The Eagles spent the last several offseasons trying to keep their championship window open. Last year, it resulted in them signing defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, trading for cornerback Darius Slay, and retaining veteran receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson instead of making way for younger players.
Roseman has at times pointed to the Eagles’ 2016 free agency class – which featured Brandon Brooks, Rodney McLeod, Nigel Bradham, and Stefen Wisniewski – as an example of how a rebuilding team can accelerate its timeline with high-upside players. Brooks quickly became one of the best interior linemen in the league with the Eagles, and McLeod has been a reliable starter.
This year, Roseman said they’ll be trying to help accelerate their rebuild once again, even though they’re still not out of salary cap hell.
“We’re looking for guys that we think fit our scheme, that we think fit our culture, and that we think will have an opportunity to be here as we kind of build this thing back,” Roseman said. “If there’s an opportunity to improve our team, we’re going to look at that, and we’re continuing to do that, and I would say if the fit’s right, we’ll do it.
“We’re not in the same position that we’ve been in years past with our cap situation, but we’re hopeful that this is just a short period of time that we’re like that, and we’ll move on, and going forward we’ll have the flexibility back to be able to do that.”
Roseman also hinted that the front office could be aggressive with itsnewfound stash of draft picks. The team got a third-rounder this year and a second-rounder in 2022 that could turn into a first in the Carson Wentz trade. If Zach Ertz is eventually moved, it will likely get them another pick or two.
The Eagles should have 11 picks in this year’s draft, but don’t get too attached to them all.
“We are excited about the amount of draft picks that we have,” Roseman said. “Not only to draft players but also because it gives you capital to go out and be aggressive if you wanted to be, and give you options.”