The Eagles’ front office received a lot of guff for the failures of last season in what was viewed as a mad dash to stockpile talent, as opposed to building a team gradually, in the post-lockout madness following a 10-6 season. But that group, including former team president Joe Banner, also deserves praise for the job it has done putting itself in an excellent financial situation.
Even after pricy deals for QB Michael Vick, RB LeSean McCoy, WR DeSean Jackson, CB Nnamdi Asomugha and others, the Eagles are well under the salary cap for 2012 (by more than $16 million) and in a great position to lock up talent for the long haul, something this organization has done better than almost any in the NFL the past decade.
“It’s no different than before with (Donovan) McNabb, (Brian) Dawkins, (Jon) Runyan, (Brian) Westbrook, the core of the guys from the last (generation),” Eagles GM Howie Roseman told PFW on Friday. “We wanted to keep the core group of players together. So the philosophy (in the present) was the same: Let’s try to keep our core together so we can have another long run of success hopefully.”
Their top priority appears to be WR Jeremy Maclin, who has two years left on his rookie deal. Although Maclin hasn’t yet burst into stardom, he has performed very well his first three seasons, even last year when he battled a mysterious ailment that was feared to be something very serious.
It’s quite possible that the team and Maclin come to an agreement on a long-term deal prior to the start of the regular season. That would fit the Eagles’ m.o. of trying to sign players just on the cusp of stardom and keep them through their prime years at reasonable rates, although McCoy clearly broke out before earning his big contract.
Roseman sidestepped a question of which Eagle — Maclin, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DT Antonio Dixon or someone else — might be next to earn an extension. “Our priority has always been, and hopefully will continue to be, to keep our young, talented players in Eagles uniforms and watch them flourish in them,” Roseman said.
It’s not clear if talks have begun with Maclin and the Eagles on such a deal, but if they have not already, they soon likely will. The Eagles believe he’s in line for a big season in 2012. If Rodgers-Cromartie bounces back after a so-so first season in Philly, he’d be likely to be locked up after the team let Asante Samuel go for pennies on the dollar this offseason. And if DT Mike Patterson’s long-term health prognosis following brain surgery is not good, Dixon might be locked up — if he shows he’s in better health than a year ago, when he showed up to camp out of shape.