To keep a team in constant contention requires knowledge of who to sign in free agency and the draft.
But often overlooked are the decisions made by teams about which free agents to retain, and the Philadelphia Eagles currently find themselves with 10 unrestricted free agents.
With so many areas to address on the team, the right moves here could very well determine whether the Eagles will have too many holes—or enough depth to make a deep championship run.
Here's a look at each of the 10 Eagles free agents.
While Abiamiri usually plays well when he is healthy, that is a rarity for him. Abiamiri is a very injury-prone player and any progress that he makes is derailed consistently by his inability to stay healthy.
With great depth already at the defensive line now, Abiamiri should be cut.
Ronnie Brown never quite developed into the dynamic second back behind LeSean McCoy. But the Eagles are without a bruising back and still struggle in short-yardage situations.
Unless salary cap reasons say otherwise, the Eagles would be wise to keep Brown just for his versatility. As long as he is taught not to fumble the ball at the goal line anymore.
King Dunlap's play has been very inconsistent over the years.
Whenever he has gotten chances to start he has often struggled. But Dunlap has great strength and great size. He has great potential going forward.
With the Eagles' offensive line being unreliable the past few seasons, any depth should be retained if possible.
Derek Landri has played well at times for the Eagles, but his ceiling is only so high.
He is a situational player for sure. And with great depth along the defensive line, the Eagles will need to make room for other positions of need, or find superior talent at the D-line.
It would make the most sense to allow Landri to walk.
Trevor Laws was a bit of a disappointment for a second-round pick, but Laws has played significantly better in 2011 and has been an excellent situational guy for the defensive line.
Despite the bull-rush of Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, rotational players are a must.
Especially a player of Laws' talent.
This seems like a no-brainer.
Mathis was one of the most consistent linemen the Eagles had all of last season and can arguably be considered a snub for the Pro Bowl. Many experts proclaim him as the best left guard in football.
Todd Herremans is also an excellent left guard, but the Eagles currently have him playing right tackle. The more talent on the O-line the better, to give Michael Vick as great a chance of bouncing back in 2012 as possible.
While Parker has had many successful seasons in Philadelphia, most of those were the result of playing beside Trent Cole. Parker lacks a strong motor, and when he is needed to play multiple downs he struggles and tires easily.
Parker is also getting up there in age, as he is currently 33 years old. To clear cap space, the Eagles would be wise to allow him to walk so they can better address other areas of their roster, such as the linebacker position.
No one could have predicted the tragic injury to Leonard Weaver in 2010 which will likely be career-ending. But Schmitt has filled in pretty well as a replacement.
Schmitt is not as impressive running the ball, nor is he impressive catching it.
But as a blocker he is a solid option. Reliable fullbacks are hard to find and a solid one like Schmitt should be retained if possible.
The Steve Smith signing was perhaps one of the biggest disasters of the offseason.
Smith showed poor hands and a lack of toughness and drive to win, being infamously tackled in that one game by an invisible defender.
Whenever Smith has gotten chances in the Eagles offense, he has not succeeded. He was also extremely overpaid by the Eagles organization.
Do not bring him back. Ever.
It may be unfair to say the Vince Young signing was also a failure, just as the Steve Smith signing was.
Few expected Young to beat the New York Giants. He did not play horribly against the New England Patriots, but he did have a dreadful game against the Seattle Seahawks, and his four interceptions were unacceptable.
Reid chose to go with Young over the young and inexperienced Mike Kafka as Vick's backup, likely due to Young's superior talent and track record for winning games. But Reid certainly regrets the decision now.
Bringing back Young would not be a huge mistake, as there is still the potential to resurrect his career. But it would be a better option to move on from him and groom Kafka as the backup.