If we’ve learned nothing else about the Philadelphia Eagles since free agency opened on Tuesday, it’s that Howie Roseman wasn’t bluffing. The general manager prepared observers for a cautious approach to the spending period, and two days in, that’s precisely what the Birds’ front office has delivered.
The only big move thus far was signing safety Malcolm Jenkins to a three-year deal worth $16.5 million, passing on far more highly touted—and expensive—options in the process. Otherwise, it’s been nothing but minor moves since the market opened, and even those have been few and far between.
The Eagles have a plan that relies heavily on building through the draft and rewarding those players when they pan out. Roseman laid out the organization’s entire blueprint to free agency in a conversation with CSNPhilly.com’s Reuben Frank in February.
I'd say if there was a player who was kind of in the right age group as a free agent, played an important position who we thought could be around for a long time, we would certainly be open to [a lucrative, long-term deal].
But you see there are fewer and fewer of those players available in free agency, so what happens is good players get great player money, pretty good players get really good player money, and then it throws around the whole structure of your roster.
The guys that you've drafted, they look around and they say, 'Well, this guy they brought from somewhere else, and they're paying him maybe more than he's worth.' So you have to be very careful in free agency, and I think what worked last year was based on the free-agent market. You've got to really make sure you're in line with what the free agent market is and not try to force anything.
Whether you want to blame 2011’s failed spending spree for giving the Eagles cold feet or accept free agency seldom holds the answers, one thing is for certain. This is the organizational philosophy now, and Roseman is sticking to it.