Roseman: Eagles have enough room for FA, but are building for future

Roseman: Eagles have enough room for FA, but are building for future

INDIANAPOLIS -- It was a joyous day in late July of 2011 and Howie Roseman -- then a second-year general manager -- made a beeline toward the training camp sideline at Lehigh University. He wanted to personally deliver the good news. 
 
The Eagles landed Nnamdi Asomugha!
 
In what quickly became a longstanding example of buyer's remorse, the Eagles at least won that day in the later-than-normal free-agent period thanks to the lockout. They signed the biggest free agent on the market to fill their most glaring deficiency. 
 
These days, the Eagles and Roseman have a different approach to free agency. 
 
"It's nice to win press conferences in March," Roseman said Wednesday, just off the podium from his press conference in the Indiana Convention Center at the NFL combine, "but for us, we're trying to build something."
 
Unless they make more moves to free up space (very possible), the Eagles will have around $12.5 million of room to work with when free agency opens on March 9. On Wednesday afternoon, Roseman said $12.5M still gives them enough flexibility to be players in free agency. 
 
It's just that being a player in free agency means something different to the Eagles now than it did a few years ago. A lot of that has to do with the situation the team is in. And it requires some honesty. 
 
The Eagles have a good building block in Carson Wentz, but they're not one big free-agent acquisition away from being a contender. 
 
"I think it goes to, 'What is our ultimate goal and how do we get there?'" Roseman said. "And some of that is you have to take some short-term pains. And hopefully, when you do that, you get the long-term gains. And again, we keep going back to this, but it's the way we think. 
 
"When you have a quarterback who's 24 years old and you have a defensive tackle who's 26, you want to do something so that two, three, four years from now, when maybe you have that opportunity to add the missing piece or one piece, you have that flexibility. When you want to re-sign some of these guys coming through these next couple of drafts, you have that flexibility. Whereas now, does it makes sense?

"Are we in a position where if we sign this one guy, does it put us over the top? And we have to be honest about that."
 
Wednesday's talk at the combine seemed to fit into the same idea Roseman talked about in his end-of-the-season press conference, when he said the Eagles' goal is to be a team that wins 13 games and not just 10. He said the Eagles desperately want to get to a point where they're not just in the playoffs but a favorite, playing at home. That only happens with a long-term plan in place. 
 
Roseman gave a history lesson on Wednesday. He remembered 2010, when the Eagles were planning on turning the keys over to Kevin Kolb until he got hurt and Mike Vick took over and they were "maybe a shoestring tackle away from maybe beating the Super Bowl champions (the Packers)." So of course they went big in free agency: the Dream Team. 
 
In 2011 and 2012, the Eagles had a 30-plus-year-old quarterback in Vick under center, so time wasn't standing still. Then in 2013, they won 10 games and decided to push things, according to Roseman, who then said they haven't been in this position, with a young franchise quarterback in place, since Donovan McNabb was around.  
 
Last offseason, the Eagles signed guys like Brandon Brooks and Rodney McLeod, who weren't the biggest fish in the free-agent pond, but were young enough to continue to grow with the Eagles. Ideally, those are the kind of signings the Eagles want. 
 
"I think you have to adjust your thinking a little bit to what you have and what you need," Roseman said. "Certainly, we're not sitting here saying we're one player away and if we sign this one guy, it's going to put us in a position to get over the top. So we're going to try to build it piece by piece and be aware of the risks involved. That doesn't mean we're not going to take some risks or do something to get through the moment at certain positions. But that's our plan."

NFL Notes: Raiders reward Derek Carr with record $125 million deal

NFL Notes: Raiders reward Derek Carr with record $125 million deal

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Derek Carr and general manager Reggie McKenzie never doubted the two sides could reach a long-term contract agreement to keep the quarterback with the Raiders before Carr's self-imposed training camp deadline.

Carr was open about how much he wanted to spend his entire career with the organization and after a decade searching for a franchise quarterback the Raiders weren't about to let a player they drafted and developed leave just as he was becoming a star.

So the two sides were able to agree on a five-year, $125 million extension that makes Carr the NFL's richest player, at least temporarily, and won't hinder the team's ability to give its other young stars like AP Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, receiver Amari Cooper and guard Gabe Jackson new contracts before they hit free agency.

"I think that both sides wanted it to get done," Carr said Friday. "It was two family members just figuring out how to get along, and we did. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not just to take every single dime that we could."

Carr will still get plenty. The $25 million per year in new money is the richest contract ever in the NFL, beating out the $24.8 million a year Andrew Luck got from Indianapolis. That could be surpassed with Detroit's Matthew Stafford and Washington's Kirk Cousins in line for new deals soon.

But Carr is not worried about that and the Raiders are pleased to have the face of their franchise under contract through 2022 as they prepare to move to Las Vegas in 2020.

"From the outset, both sides wanted the deal done, and I felt our guys did a great job getting together and hammering it out," McKenzie said. "We both wanted the same thing. That part was easy. We could tell that Derek wanted to be here. And we let him know, without a doubt, that we wanted him here" (see full story).

NFL: Prosecutors appeal Hernandez's voided murder conviction
BOSTON -- Massachusetts prosecutors on Friday appealed a court ruling that erased former NFL star Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction in the 2013 killing of a semi-professional football player.

Hernandez's conviction in the fatal shooting of Odin Lloyd was voided after the former New England Patriots player killed himself in prison. Under a long-held Massachusetts legal principle, courts typically erase the convictions of defendants who die before their direct appeals can be heard.

Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn III filed an appeal with a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court on Friday. He called the rule "archaic" and said it "does not serve the public interest."

"A defendant who commits suicide should not be able to manipulate the outcome of his post-conviction proceedings to achieve in death what he would not be able to achieve in life," Quinn said.

Hernandez's appellate attorneys, John Thompson and Linda Thompson, could not immediately be reached for comment. A message was left at their office in Springfield.

Hernandez took his own life in April days after he was acquitted in a separate, 2012 double slaying in Boston.

The legal principle known as abatement ab initio, or "from the beginning," holds that a conviction should not be considered final until an appeal in the criminal case can determine whether mistakes were made that deprived the defendant of a fair trial.

In their appeal Friday, prosecutors argue that some states have moved away from automatically erasing convictions when defendants die before appeals can be heard. More than a dozen states allow appeals to continue even after death and only dismiss convictions when the appellate court finds that a new trial would have been warranted.

Prosecutors said courts should strike a balance between the rights of defendants and the rights of victims. Lloyd's mother fought back tears after a judge voided Hernandez's conviction in her son's killing.

Michael Vick's father arrested on drug-ring charges

Michael Vick's father arrested on drug-ring charges

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The father of former pro-football star Michael Vick has been arrested on charges of being involved in a drug ring.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that federal authorities arrested 55-year-old Michael Dwayne Boddie on Thursday. A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday in Newport News alleges that he and 11 others conspired to sell heroin.

Boddie is being held without bond until a Monday detention hearing. He was assigned a court-appointed attorney.

Lawrence Woodward, an attorney who's represented both men over the years, did not respond to requests for comment. The federal prosecutor's office declined to comment on the case beyond the charges.

Vick rose to stardom with the Atlanta Falcons before serving prison time for running a dogfighting operation. He played for the Eagles, Jets and Steelers before announcing his retirement in February.