Eagles Free Agency: The Band Breaks Up
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Page turned.
The 2017-18 Eagles will "walk together forever" (trademark Fred Shero) after capturing the first Lombardi Trophy for the City of Philadelphia but now it's about turning a special season into something more for Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas.
And the last thing you can do in professional sports is allow sentimentality to keep you standing still.
“It’s not like we can just bring the band back together and expect the same result,” Roseman explained to reporters at the NFL's recent Scouting Combine.
“It’s hard to avoid looking at those guys, guys who did unbelievable things for your football team and have unbelievable character, and separate it from what we need to do going forward,” Roseman continued. “By the same token, this is a unique position for us, and certainly for me personally, in the fact that we need to make these decisions coming off a championship year. But we want to get better. We want to continue to be in a position to get better, and we’re going to have to make tough choices."
On the first day of the 2018 league year, those tough choices started to become official and the band was officially broken up.
The triggerman of the most famous play in Eagles history [the Philly Special], Trey Burton, and well-liked defensive tackle Beau Allen used the Super Bowl win in their walk years to garner significant contracts in Chicago and Tampa respectively.
The best nickel cornerback in football last season, Patrick Robinson, was nearing an extension before the tampering began and an inability to dot the I's and cross the T's hurt Philadelphia when New Orleans swooped in with more guaranteed money.
The longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia, tight end Brent Celek, was already released to garner $4 million in salary-cap space and the retirement of veteran punter Donnie Jones actually kicked in. Further cap space was created by restructuring All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson's deal.
Furthermore, the trades sending receivers Torrey Smith to Carolina and Marcus Johnson to Seattle were rubber-stamped.
Incoming were two veteran Pro Bowl defensive linemen -- Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata -- another cornerback in Philadelphia native Daryl Worley as well as a new linebacker in Corey Nelson.
Meanwhile, Roseman somehow cobbled enough money to keep valuable LB Nigel Bradham with a five-year deal which could mean as much as $40 million for the Jim Schwartz favorite.
All but Ngata was made official shortly after the new league year started at 4 ET.
Ngata, an aging five-time Pro Bowl selection, will be delivered once dominos regarding the future of defensive linemen Vinny Curry and Chris Long, as well as perhaps linebacker Mychal Kendricks, are tipped over in the coming days.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen