Gone are the days when in 2011 the Philadelphia Eagles went on a free agent spending spree and proceeded to win just 12 games over the next two seasons. This Philadelphia Eagles team led by General Manager Howie Roseman is going on a different type of spending spree; that’s keeping the club’s high producing, quality players at key positions.
In a move not necessarily unforeseen by some (check this article from a week ago) on Wednesday, the Eagles signed their starting left tackle Jason Peters to a five year $51.3 million dollar deal. Peters more than deserved the contract extension as the big native Texan remains one of the league’s best tackles bouncing back from a ruptured Achilles tendon in the 2012 offseason. It was an impressive comeback, and Peters was clearly the best offensive lineman for the Eagles. He was crucial in protecting the blind side of young quarterback Nick Foles, and paving the way for LeSean McCoy’s outstanding year.
Roseman and the Eagles weren’t done with Peters, though, as they inked a seven-year $37.5 million contract with center Jason Kelce and a five-year $25 million deal with free agent wide receiver Riley Cooper. Both Kelce and Cooper were key parts of Eagle’s head coach Chip Kelly’s offense who won the NFC East division going 10-6 and setting a franchise record scoring 442 points in his first year.
Riley Cooper is not necessarily a speed burning receiving threat, but he’s big and strong, is an effective blocker, and can win the ball in the air. He also developed a nice chemistry with Nick Foles last season. I wrote in mid January that the Eagles should make re-signing Cooper a priority, and it’s good to see that they did.
Kelce is a steady force in the middle anchoring the middle of Kelly’s offensive line. He’s not a vocal player but one who can be counted on to produce. Chip Kelly had this to say about Kelce in a statement he released,
“Jason is the epitome of the type of player we want around here, both on and off the field. He’s tough, extremely intelligent and is a leader by his actions and by his words.” He continued, “His athleticism is something that really sticks out when you watch him play. There aren’t many centers that can get down the field like he does.”
Contract talks between Philadelphia and free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin are ongoing, but again those negotiations signal that the club’s attitude of building from within. Roseman had this to say on Thursday afternoon,
“A lot has changed here since the 2011 season, I don’t think that’s a secret. We’ve changed a lot of things here and I think we’ve changed our philosophies starting with that offseason. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to continue to add good players, but I’m proud of the process that we’ve had the last couple of seasons.” He continued, “We certainly haven’t arrived and I’m not patting anyone on the back. I think we have a good process and a plan. It’s not just for next season. It’s not just for 2015. It’s to try to set ourselves up to contend for a while.”
It’s a different type of buying spree for the Eagles this offseason, and a welcome one for the Eagles faithful who do not want a repeat of that 2011 free agency class.
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