As the Eagles prepare to host the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night, Inquirer Sports columnists Marcus Hayes and Mike Sielski will debate four issues facing the Eagles, today through Saturday.
Today’s issue: Did Howie Roseman have a good year?
» READ MORE: Here is MARCUS HAYES' take
Defending Howie Roseman to Eagles fans often requires one to take some precautions. After praising him, or at least not ripping him, it’s advisable to turn off your social-media notifications. And power down your phone. And close up your laptop. And avoid sports-talk radio. And move to an undisclosed location. Since the aftermath of 2017-18 season, when Roseman was hailed as a genius for building the first Super Bowl-winning team in franchise history, the Eagles’ three-year regression from NFL champions to last season’s 4-11-1 last-place finish dulled his luster.
That, and drafting Jalen Reagor.
There’s no denying that Roseman had a rocky go of it after Super Bowl LII. In 2018 and ‘19, he tried to replicate the formula that had worked so well the year before, acquiring veterans who presumably would fit seamlessly into the locker room and the team’s offensive and defensive systems. Those veterans did not. In 2020, the decision to sign Carson Wentz to a mammoth contract extension turned out to be an exploding cigar. Reagor, Andre Dillard, JJ Arcega-Whiteside: The draft misses have been obvious and well-documented and damaging.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the Eagles having to rebuild in 2022 and write off this season as a 17-game find-out-what-we’ve-got-here experiment. Roseman …
… outmaneuvered the Giants for DeVonta Smith, and even if Micah Parsons — whom, theoretically, the Eagles could have drafted — turns out to be an all-time great, Smith is already the Eagles’ most dynamic offensive player.
… took Landon Dickerson in the second round and Kenneth Gainwell in the fifth.
… re-signed Jason Kelce.
... saw the 2018 draft class — the class that included Dallas Goedert, Avonte Maddox, Josh Sweat, and Jordan Mailata — begin to bear some serious fruit.
… saw the cornerback he signed in 2020, Darius Slay, become a Pro Bowler and the quarterback he drafted in 2020, Jalen Hurts, become a team leader and earn the benefit of the doubt as the long-term starter.
… traded a sixth-round pick for Gardner Minshew, which gave the Eagles a solid backup quarterback, helped them beat the Jets, and improved their Top Gun meme game.
… hired Nick Sirianni, who led the Eagles into the playoffs in his first season as their head coach, a feat that Dick Vermeil, Andy Reid, and Doug Pederson didn’t accomplish.
... acquired three first-round picks in this year’s draft, which provides the Eagles plenty of capital and flexibility to improve themselves.
These laurels don’t erase all the mistakes of Roseman’s recent past. One could argue that they don’t even erase most of those mistakes. But the Eagles are 9-7 and going to the postseason, and their future looks a lot more promising than it did 12 months ago. Roseman deserves credit for that. Did he have a good year? Yep. He did.