Philadelphia Eagles

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: Emergence of Steelers rookie T.J. Watt signals changing of the guard

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NFL Notes: Emergence of Steelers rookie T.J. Watt signals changing of the guard

LATROBE, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick T.J. Watt will take all the preseason snaps he can get at right outside linebacker.

And perhaps most of them in the regular season too, a fact the man he is in the process of replacing isn't fighting.

James Harrison is the Steelers' all-time sacks leader, including a team-high five last season at the not-so tender age of 38.

The now-39-year-old Harrison doesn't care who has the starting spot he's held for the better part of a decade as long as it results in another Lombardi Trophy for the Steelers.

"I'm not worried about it," Harrison said Wednesday. "Whatever they want me to do. I'm 39 years old and still playing football."

Saints: Team replaces 2 doctors after Breaux misdiagnosis
METAIRIE, La. -- Saints coach Sean Payton says cornerback Delvin Breaux needs lower-leg surgery that will sideline him about six weeks and that an initial misdiagnosis of Breaux's injury has sparked a shake-up in the team's medical staff.

Payton says Breaux has a fibula fracture that was initially diagnosed as a contusion. Breaux has missed more than a week of practice and Payton said he had been getting frustrated with the pace of Breaux's recovery, based on the initial diagnosis.

"I certainly was pushing him, based on the information I was getting," Payton said.

The coach said the Saints will replace two orthopedic surgeons and in the meantime receive help from Chargers physicians during joint practices in California leading up to their game Sunday in Los Angeles (see full story).

Patriots: Ageless Brady not slowing down at 40
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Training camp is easier for Tom Brady at age 40 than it was when he entered the NFL in 2000.

Brady, who turned 40 on Aug. 3, was asked how camp with the New England Patriots is different for him now that he's one of the older players in the league.

"I think it's a lot easier for me now than it's ever been," he said. "I feel like my routine's better than it's ever been. When you're younger you don't know what to do, and after 17 years, going on my 18th year I know what to do. I know how to prepare."

Redskins: Safety Cravens undergoes knee surgery
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Su'a Cravens had knee surgery and there's no official timeline for him to return.

Coach Jay Gruden says Cravens had a knee scope to clean out some issues with his meniscus. Gruden says Cravens was injured on the third play of the Redskins' first preseason game last week at Baltimore.

With Cravens out, Deshazor Everett has taken most of the snaps as the first-team free safety and could start there when the Redskins host the Green Bay Packers on Saturday.

Tight end Jordan Reed, who's on the physically unable to perform list with a left big toe injury, isn't expected to play Saturday. Receiver Jamison Crowder, who has been bothered by a hamstring injury, said the plan is for him to play against the Packers.

Packers: TE Bennett ‘the quarterback whisperer’
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Call Martellus Bennett the "quarterback whisperer."

The Green Bay Packers' tight end is with his third team in as many seasons, which means another training camp of building rapport with a new quarterback. He's proven to be productive at every stop.

Bennett is confident he'll do just fine connecting with Aaron Rodgers, even if the veterans might get limited reps together in preseason games.

"I need all the reps I can (get) with Aaron -- practice reps, game reps, meeting room reps. Any rep I can get with him I'll try to get whether it's just whispering to him, try to be the quarterback whisperer," the always-entertaining Bennett said. "Over-communicate and over-rep every single thing we could possibly do."

Doug Pederson, Sean McDermott have same Coach of the Year odds

Doug Pederson, Sean McDermott have same Coach of the Year odds

In a complete and utter shock, Bill Belichick is Bovada's favorite to win NFL Coach of the Year. 

Belichick is 7/1 to win the award, followed by Oakland's Jack Del Rio (9/1) and Green Bay's Mike McCarthy (10/1).

Despite the expected success of the Patriots, Belichick doesn't seem like a great bet because his team is so loaded. Anything short of 14-2 would probably make it difficult for Belichick to win the award for the fourth time. (He took it home in 2003, 2007 and 2010.)

Carolina's Ron Rivera and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin (12/1) round out the top five.

Doug Pederson is toward the bottom at 33/1, in a tie with nine others, including first-year Bills head coach and former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

The reigning Coach of the Year, Jason Garrett, is 20/1 to repeat. If the Cowboys are able to win the NFC East with Ezekiel Elliott suspended for six games, he might deserve it.

The longest odds, 50/1, belong to Todd Bowles (Jets), Jim Caldwell (Colts), John Fox (Bears), Adam Gase (Dolphins), Hue Jackson (Browns), Marvin Lewis (Bengals) and Sean McVay (Rams), for reasons that should be pretty obvious.