Be like the Flyers, Eagles.
March 9, the start of free agency, is almost upon us. There is arguably no other time during the NFL offseason more compelling than when free agency arrives as fans of all 32 teams have their eyes glued to their televisions hoping that their favorite team will be able to pick up that top-level superstar who could come right in and turn their team into an immediate contender.
But what happens when that superstar turns out to be a free agent bust and ends up not being worth the mega deal he and the team agreed to?
Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last season, the Eagles brought in star running back DeMarco Murray to help the team’s offense hit an elite level. Fast forward a year and Murray put up atrocious numbers as the team’s featured back and wants out of Philly. That five-year, $42 million contract isn’t looking too great for the Eagles right now.
And let’s not forget about the 2011 Eagles team that spent big money on players like Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin and, of course, Vince Young, who dubbed that 2011 squad the “Dream Team.”
The Eagles have been failures in free agency in recent years and it’s time the team took a step back and looked elsewhere for inspiration.
They don’t have to look far, either.
The Philadelphia Flyers, though they’re a hockey team, are the quintessential example of how to build for the future. Flyers General Manager Ron Hextall has singlehandedly rescued the team from salary cap Hell and turned them into a team on the rise by trading away players who no longer have a place in the team’s future plans for draft picks.
Last offseason, the Flyers were uncharacteristically quiet. Instead of looking to free agency as a “get good quick” scheme, they spent their money on re-signing their home-grown talent and bringing in low risk, high reward players such as Michal Neuvirth and Radko Gudas. Now, the Flyers have a decent amount of cap space and have a stockpile of draft picks in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
The Flyers realize good teams are built internally and the Eagles seem to be following their lead. This offseason, the Eagles have given extensions to Malcolm Jenkins, Vinny Curry, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Lane Johnson; all of whom have been proven commodities to the team. For long-term success, the Eagles must continue this trend of locking up the in-house personnel before going out and spending big money on free agents who may or may not pan out.
The Flyers are doing all the right things to ensure future success and the Eagles must do the same.