NFL Free Agency 2012: Eagles Moving in the Right Direction

Manav KhandelwalAnalyst IIMarch 18, 2012

The Eagles are following a trend set by teams like the SB champion Giants.
The Eagles are following a trend set by teams like the SB champion Giants.Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

After a 2011 offseason in which the Eagles brought in a bunch of outside players, including Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin and Jarrad Page, it's a good sign that they have decided to spend this free-agency period re-signing and extending their own players.

It shows loyalty, a trait that isn't often associated with the Jeffrey Lurie/Joe Banner front office.

In the last three days, the Eagles have re-signed receiver DeSean Jackson and guard Evan Mathis in addition to extending the contracts of long-time Eagles Todd Herremans and Trent Cole.

It is a practice that Andy Reid is unaccustomed to; he's gotten rid of long-time greats Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins and Jon Runyan in similar ways, and while two of those three weren't very productive after their Eagle careers, it's always good to see an organization bring back its own superstars.

Fans invariably begin to question an organization's integrity when it spends an entire offseason signing overpriced free agents—even if a couple actually pan out—and fail to sign a player who is being paid 10 percent of what he should be.

The re-signing of these players, hopefully, will reshape the Eagles' broken image and hopefully motivate players like D-Jack to start performing at a higher level.

In addition to simply being a good PR boost for Philadelphia, it follows a trend paved by many of the last decade's Super Bowl champions. If you look at last year's champions, the New York Giants, many of the players who led them to that victory were homegrown.

The following players were all drafted by New York or brought in within their first year: Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Eli Manning (draft-day trade with San Diego), David Diehl, Victor Cruz (signed as un-drafted free agent), Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw.

All of those guys represented the core of the team, and there are more examples of homegrown talent leading teams to Super Bowls. When you look at the 2010-11 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, their top three players—Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Greg Jennings—were all drafted by the Packers.

It's a trend that should be followed, which is why it so inspiring to see the Eagles administration signing long-time stars and allowing them to continue thriving in Philadelphia.

The Eagles have only one more task remaining: sign running back LeSean McCoy. Since they've shown a willingness to re-sign players, why not lock up your team's future and avoid a Jackson-like situation?

If history is a sign, then what the Philadelphia Eagles have done in the first week of free agency leads me to believe that we're on the right track in what's been called the "Year of Reckoning" for Andy Reid.

Let's just hope history repeats itself.