With the Super Bowl here, Eagles fans are reminiscing about becoming world champions just a year ago. While we can sit here and constantly ask the question of what could have been, there is no time to dwell about the past.
This team had great potential and may have had more talent than the team that had previously won the Super Bowl. The Eagles faced much adversity this year and having moments such as bringing players quite frankly off the street and still make the playoffs was a miracle in itself.
Now it is time to look to next season and what the Eagles need to do to bounce back. Although it may seem funny to say the team needs to bounce back after making the playoffs, there is definitely room for improvement.
The big question for the team going forward is the QB position.
Coach Pederson wasted no time after the painful loss to the Saints to explain that Wentz is the guy going forward. Will the Eagles plan to keep Foles in the locker room, though? The easy answer is “Yes, let’s keep Foles. He is the Super Bowl MVP”. I believe the fair thing to do is allow Foles to explore his options and let him determine his future. He has brought this city together and brought this city something it has never had before – a Lombardi Trophy. He deserves to explore and see what is best for him.
The Eagles also might want to do what’s best for the franchise and that could lead to a trade involving Foles. There have been rumors going around that the Jaguars are a likely landing spot for Foles in a trade and the Eagles receiving either the Jags first round draft pick or their running back, Leonard Fournette. Either option (if on the table) would help out the Eagles instantly by adding a running back of power or getting star talent with the 7th overall pick. Whatever the outcome with Foles is going forward, Wentz needs to be the guy. The Eagles have a franchise quarterback, and if he stays healthy, he will be a future league MVP. Of course, staying healthy is the question for him.
It is clear there is some question around his ability to stay healthy; he needs to make some changes in the way he performs in and out of the pocket. With a full offseason coming up for Wentz, it will allow for him to further develop his skills and continue to work the system that the coaches will be drawing up for the future season.
For the rest of the offense, things are pretty much the same. A few moves the Eagles might look into is getting another receiver to compliment Alshon and Nelson with Golden Tate entering the market this offseason. In addition, they will have to look at is the Left Tackle position. With Jason Peters not being able to play on a consistent basis, the Eagles may have to prepare for Peters not being out there playing on the line.
Defense is just a whole other situation to be looked at.
With so many injuries in the secondary, there are a lot of questions regarding their skills, which seems to be a common theme among the Eagles. The Eagles restructure of Mcleod’s deal solidifies the safety positions with Jenkins and Mcleod. With Mills and Sidney Jones returning from injury this offseason, they will look to have a big impact this upcoming year with another offseason of preparation. Based on the corners that came to fill-in, there will be competition for starting corners and more fight after the draft.
Linebacker could be another issue for them. Jordan Hicks being able to play the complete season was huge for the Eagles and proved he’s a reliable player. Nigel Bradham came up in some big plays at the end of the season and will look to continue to develop his play throughout the offseason. With the other LB position in question, Kamu Grugier-Hill will look to strenghten his place in the starting role. Unless the Eagles are able to sign another linebacker or draft, the position will likely be his.
Lastly, the D-Line will definitely be a focus this offseason. With Brandon Graham going to test the market, we can’t rely on bringing him back. Hopefully with Barnett returning from injury, he will be rushing from one edge. The Eagles seem hopeful to bring back Chris Long as well to possibly compliment Barnett on the other edge, but Long is not a long term plan for the Eagles, so going into the draft the D-Line will be a major focus.
This offseason will be a good test for the front office and Howie. Although they don’t need too many major changes, they have key holes they’ll need to fill if they want to make a run at raising that Lombardi trophy again. Furthermore, the draft will be interesting to see if they make any moves to fill the holes through youth or test the market with the cap they have available.
Till then, we’ll have our calendars marked for March 13th, the day when organizations can submit offers to restricted free agents.