Jeffrey Lurie

Eagles GM Discusses Trading Back, Draft Flexibility, Owner

The Eagles have already made headlines this offseason when they traded the No. 6 pick to the Dolphins for No. 12 and a future first. While the front office might not be done trading, they’re making their final preparations for the draft. Armed with 11 picks, the Eagles have the most flexibility they’ve had in the draft in several years, and executive vice president/general manager Howie Roseman recognizes how crucial it is to be ready for whatever opportunities present themselves.

Speaking alongside executive Andy Weidl and head coach Nick Sirianni during a press conference today, Roseman provided some notable details on why the Eagles decided to trade down, how they plan to proceed with all of their picks, and how the team owner is involved throughout the process (h/t to Dave Spadaro and Vaughn Johnson of the team’s website and Zach Berman of the The Athletic):

On the front office’s logic for trading back from No. 6 to No. 12:

“Flexibility creates opportunity. When you go back and look at things that are hard to acquire, that’s one of the toughest things to acquire, a team’s first-round pick in the following year.

“What we really had to do is sit there and go, who are the 12 best players in this draft that we would feel really good about? Are there 12 players in this draft that we really feel good about? That’s what we’re going to do throughout this draft. If you move back, it’s because you feel like you have a bunch of guys that are the same value and to be really happy getting one and getting the extra volume from that pick. If you move up, it’s because your board kind of drops off at that point.

“You have to feel like you’re getting a premium and we felt like we were getting a premium to do that.”

On the front office’s preparation for the draft, especially considering they’re armed with 11 draft picks:

“The process this year with the coaches, with the scouts, has allowed us to really sit down and talk about a lot of these things and figure out the best way to maximize our 11 picks in this draft. We’re really excited about the opportunity to add to this football team next week.”

On how the team overcame the limitations presented by COVID when evaluating prospects:

“Our coaches did an unbelievable job of taking all the guys that we would have interviewed at the Combine in Indianapolis and would have had here in Philadelphia and interviewing all of those guys.

“So just really appreciative of coach and his staff to take all the time to do that, and we continue to do the other things that we do, the psychological reports, and put ourselves in the best possible situation for next week.”

On whether the Eagles would consider Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, who finished last year with 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns, despite him only weighing in at 166 pounds:

“Good players come in all shapes and sizes, and so we’re not going to discriminate based on any of those things.”

On owner Jeffrey Lurie’s role in the draft process:

“He’s there to make sure that he’s looking through our process, and if he’s got any questions about why we’re doing things, we’re going to go and have those discussions about why the process looks like it does, why our draft board — just based on the descriptions that the coaches and the scouts are giving of this player. He’s taking notes on those. Those aren’t his evaluations, those are based on the coaches and scouts and making sure they fit in terms of what he’s looking for from that value, that spot. If we’re talking about a guy in the first round and we’re talking about him as a role player, he may stand up and say, ‘Wait a minute, is that really what we’re looking for in a first-round pick?’ He’s not saying this is my opinion, this guy is a role player or not. In terms of his role in the draft room, the draft room, 90 percent of the time, the work is done. It’s all done, and you’re just picking them off based on where it is.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jeffrey Lurie Wants Eagles To Prioritize Jalen Hurts As QB1

Rather than the Eagles using their No. 6 overall pick to bring in a potential future franchise quarterback, Jeffrey Lurie wants his team to operate with a Jalen Hurts-centric mindset this offseason.

The longtime Eagles owner would prefer the front office build around Hurts, per Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com, rather than bring in true competition for their 2020 second-round pick. The Eagles were expected to attempt to add competition for Hurts; the franchise’s focus may be shifting.

Following last month’s Carson Wentz trade, the Eagles were linked to potentially adding a first-round quarterback. Hurts started four games as a rookie, and while the ex-Alabama and Oklahoma standout provided a bit of a boost for a slumping offense late in the season, he completed 52% of his passes and struggled in his final two outings. Hurts does provide a rushing component that the Eagles did not have with Wentz, however.

Philadelphia’s quarterback situation has changed dramatically in recent weeks. The Eagles’ hiring process is believed to have taken on a Wentz-centric tone, with team brass then prioritizing a coach who could revive their since-traded passer’s career. After dealing the quarterback they once traded up for and then extended in 2019, the Eagles may well make a legitimate attempt to determine if Hurts is the answer.

Adding a quarterback at No. 6 would create true competition, but the Eagles may now be in the market for a later-round backup or veteran insurance behind Hurts. Philly could opt to add a wide receiver in Round 1 for the second straight year or auction off its pick to a QB-seeking team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Carson Wentz Fallout: Hurts, Patriots, Pederson

The Carson Wentz era in Philadelphia came to an end today, as the former second-overall pick was dealt to the Colts. However, just because Wentz was sent packing, that doesn’t necessarily mean Jalen Hurts will slide into the starting spot. Sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen that the Eagles intend to bring in “competition” at quarterback, and the “starting job is not expected to automatically go to Hurts.”

The Eagles made a significant commitment to Hurts when they selected him in the second round of last year’s draft, and the former Alabama/Oklahoma standout showed flashes of potential during the 2020 season. Hurts ultimately started four of his 15 appearances this past season, completing 52 percent of his passes for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions. He added another 354 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 63 carries.

It’s pretty clear that Hurts is the heir apparent at the quarterback spot, so this report is probably mostly lip service … teams don’t want their young players to rest on their laurels. Rather, the team is likely looking toward a veteran free agent who will provide some extra motivation to the young signal caller.

Let’s check out some more Wentz-centric notes:

  • The Colts ended up sending Philly a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick. According to Zak Keefer of The Athletic, Indy’s offer “hadn’t changed all that much across 10 days of negotiations.” The Colts front office ultimately believed the compensation was “fair,” and they never intended to “meet the Eagles’ initial demands of multiple first-round picks.” Per Keefer, the Colts understood that Wentz wasn’t their only option to replace Philip Rivers, and the front office was weighing other options while negotiating with Philadelphia.
  • We learned earlier today that the Bears had inquired on Wentz but never made a definitive offer. The same goes for the Patriots. According to Jeff Howe of the The Athletic, New England called the Eagles about the quarterback but lost interest when they heard the asking price. As the reporter notes, the Patriots are unlikely to “overpay for a veteran if it’s not a perfect fit,” especially at this point in the offseason.
  • How did it get to this point between Wentz and the Eagles? ESPN’s Tim McManus writes that the drafting of Hurts may have marked the “beginning of the end,” but there were plenty of additional factors that came into play during the 2020 season. As the Eagles losses and injuries continued to mount, (former) head coach Doug Pederson stripped Wentz of “much of his control over the offense.” As a result, Wentz vicariously lost faith in his head coach and the system.
  • Wentz didn’t just lose faith in Pederson. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Wentz “lost faith in [general manager Howie Roseman‘s] decision making. Wentz held a similar sentiment toward owner Jeffrey Lurie, who supported his GM and the front office’s decision to select Hurts in the second round.

Fallout From Doug Pederson Firing: Eagles, Wentz, Staff

Monday was a pivotal day in Eagles franchise history, as the team fired Super Bowl winning coach Doug Pederson. There’s been a lot trickling out since then, and we’re here to bring you all the fallout from the decision:

  • This all has been “boiling” since last offseason, when owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman pressured Pederson to fire offensive coordinator Mike Groh, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. A source told McLane that Pederson actually threatened to quit over it, but Eagles brass didn’t take it seriously. We noted in our initial writeup yesterday a report that “Pederson was sick of people telling him what to do.”
  • To that end, Lurie was apparently “underwhelmed” by the staffing suggestions Pederson made for the 2021 season when they met last week, a source told McLane. Pederson apparently wanted to promote from within, as McLane reports he wanted to promote QBs coach Press Taylor to offensive coordinator and to “bump up defensive line coach Matt Burke to defensive coordinator.” Clearly Lurie was more inclined to bring in bigger names from outside the organization, and it sounds like this was a sticking point in the ultimate divorce.
  • Finally, McLane points out in another tweet that Roseman will now be on his fourth head coach (third that he’ll hire), after Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, and Pederson. McLane writes that “Pederson and Roseman had decreasingly seen eye to eye on personnel.” Roseman is turning into somewhat of a polarizing figure, but he clearly has a lot of power.
  • One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind when the decision came down was what it meant for Carson Wentz. It might be good news for the former second overall pick, as a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that the firing “significantly increases the chances” of Wentz staying in Philly next season (Twitter link). We had heard just before the end of the regular season that the relationship between Wentz and Pederson was fractured beyond repair, and this could be a sign that Lurie and Roseman believe Wentz should be the quarterback in 2021. The increased likelihood of Wentz returning was confirmed by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who added that had Pederson been retained Wentz would’ve wanted out (Twitter video link).
  • Lurie released a statement through the team explaining the decision and thanking Pederson, which you can read via this tweet. Not surprisingly, he said Pederson will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame.
  • The Eagles also tweeted a statement from Pederson, thanking the team, the city, and the fans.
  • We’ve already heard the team is interested in Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, but Lurie also said at his press conference explaining the decision that assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley would be a candidate for the job. Staley is very popular in the locker room and a number of former players immediately voiced support for him on social media, but that still seems like a pretty big long-shot.

Eagles’ Doug Pederson “Fully Confident” He’ll Return

Doug Pederson is not on the hot seat, according to Doug Pederson. The Eagles head coach says he is “fully confident” that he will return in 2021, despite the team’s disappointing season.

[RELATED: Eagles’ Doug Pederson On Hot Seat]

I feel fully confident to be the head coach of the Eagles in 2021,” said Pederson, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since his inaugural 2016 season in Philly. “The thing I’m most proud of this football team, we have been in the postseason three of the last five years since I’ve been here and that’s pretty good.”

We have won a championship here. We have gone through a season where a lot of our veteran guys are not playing due to injury. We are playing with a lot of young players. There is always going to be evaluation in the offseason and my job is evaluated as well. I fully expected to be the coach next season and I welcome the opportunity to get things right, get things fixed and take this team into next season.”

Depending on how the season finale goes, the Eagles will finish either 5-10-1 or 4-11-1. Either way, it’ll the worst report card in Pederson’s five years. In that span, the Eagles have invested serious resources in quarterback Carson Wentz, only to watch him regress dramatically in 2020. Now, owner Jeffrey Lurie will be left to decide whether Pederson — a Philadelphia hero, not long ago — is the right man to lead the Eagles moving forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Zach Ertz: I’m Not Sure If Eagles Want Me Here

Sep. 13: Rapoport says that Ertz and GM Howie Roseman got into an animated and heated discussion after a practice this week (video link). That discussion took place in front of several players, leading Rapoport to speculate that Ertz’s future in Philadelphia may be even more in doubt.

In a subsequent tweet, however, RapSheet said that the exchange also included owner Jeffrey Lurie and ended on a professional note. So clearly there is some tension there, but the situation does not appear to be beyond repair.

Sep. 10: Eagles tight end Zach Ertz says he wants to stay in Philadelphia, but he doesn’t “know for sure if that feeling is mutual,” (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Talks recently broke off between the Eagles and Ertz, who characterized the process as “frustrating at times” and “difficult.”

Ertz is believed to be eyeing numbers similar to those achieved by George Kittle and Travis Kelce, who pushed the TE ceiling to $15MM per year. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ last offer to the 29-year-old was reportedly worth less over the next four years than Austin Hooper‘s four-year, $42MM Browns deal. Of course, it’s important to note the framing of those numbers – Ertz has two years to go on his current deal, so the mashup of old money and new money isn’t exactly fair.

Ertz is set to earn base salaries of $6.7MM and $8.3MM in 2020 and ’21, the final seasons of the five-year, $42.5MM pact he inked in 2016. Overall, that deal averages out to $8.5MM/year, which ranks seventh among TEs. With no guaranteed money to go, Ertz wants a raise, and additional security.

Last year, Ertz racked up 88 catches for 916 yards and six touchdowns – an especially solid stat line given the Birds’ up-and-down season. In 2018, he notched career highs in just about every category with 116 receptions (also an NFL record for TEs), 1,163 yards, and eight touchdowns. A Pro Bowler in each of his last three seasons, Ertz has 525 grabs, 5,743 receiving yards, and 35 touchdowns to his credit across seven pro seasons. Meanwhile, he’s led the team in catches and receiving yards in each of the last four seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bradberry, Jenkins, Lions

Count Panthers head coach Ron Rivera among those who’d like to see cornerback James Bradberry signed long-term.

“He is a guy that I hope we do keep around because he is important to what we’ve done,” Rivera told Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. “We’ve kind of shown that you have to be able to keep that type of a corner around.”

It’s pretty easy to surmise that Rivera is talking about former cornerback Josh Norman, who left the organization following a messy contract dispuit. Since then, Bradberry has been one of the lone consistencies among Panthers defensive backs, so it only makes sense that the coaching staff would want to keep him around. The 25-year-old is heading into the final season of his rookie contract.

“I think I’ve shown that I am capable of being a top corner in this league,” Bradberry said. “I just had to make sure I stayed on my P’s and Q’s, on top of my toes. Did a lot of film study each and every week.”

That commitment has certainly paid off. The former second-rounder had another solid season in 2018, finishing with 70 tackles, 15 passes defended, and one interception.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie played a role in convincing safety Malcolm Jenkins to attend the team’s minicamp. The veteran had previously missed the team’s voluntary workouts, and there was concern that he’d skip training camp in pursuit of a new deal. However, after talking to Lurie, Jenkins was in a better frame of mind. “One of the reasons that I feel comfortable being here,” Jenkins told Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer, “is because of my relationship with Jeff Lurie and understanding that I do feel valued and respected.”
  • The Lions did not waive Michael Roberts as an injured player, meaning there was no injury settlement, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. We learned yesterday that Roberts’ trade from the Lions to the Patriots was called off, and the tight end was subsequently waived by Detroit While a failed physical has been the assumed reason for the failed trade, Birkett notes that different teams’ doctors could have differing opinions.
  • Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton has yet to ink his exclusive rights free agent tender and continues to push the club for a new deal. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes that the player may have been inspired by teammate Alejandro Villanueva, who pulled off a similar move in 2017. “I can’t say if it’s better to sign now or later,” Villanueva said. “But betting on yourself, in this business, usually works.” Fowler writes that the two players have discussed the matter, although Hilton may not see the same kind of resolution as Villanueva.

Eagles Notes: Jenkins, Wentz, Staff

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins did not report to team OTAs earlier this offseason in the hopes of renegotiating his contract. At the first day of minicamp on Tuesday, the veteran defender opened up about his desire for a new deal and said that both sides are still talking, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane tweets.

Though he wants to rework his current deal, Jenkins said he did not consider skipping minicamp, citing his relationship with owner Jeffrey Lurie and the need to be with his teammates as motivating factors for showing up.

Jenkins is under club control through 2020 thanks to a four-year, $35MM extension he signed three years ago, but after the safety market famously stagnated in 2018, it came back in 2019. Jenkins is now the 10th-highest-paid safety in the NFL in terms of total value, full guarantee, and per-year average.

“I’m happy whenever any other player gets paid,” Jenkins said, as tweeted by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Zach Berman. “You start to look at where you are and evaluate your position, just like anybody in any job. If you feel like you’re the best at what you do and there are other people out there making more than you, you want to renegotiate your contract make sure you’re getting the value you should be. Any business and any businessperson should think like that. I think any player should think like that.

As McLane notes, Jenkins and Lurie have a solid relationship and talks are ongoing, which should signal that a new deal could be in the offing before the start of the season.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • After an injury-plagued 2018 campaign, the Eagles decided to shake up their medical staff in 2019, McLane writes. The team parted way with its head physician and internist, Stephen Stache, and hired Arsh Dhanota to be the chief medical officer. Stache was in the position for just one season and the team saw a 57-percent increase in player injuries from the 2018 campaign.
  • Among the pros of Carson Wentz‘s new deal with the Eagles include the annual cap hit and his future potential, 94WIP’s Eliot Shorr-Parks writes. In his pros-and-cons list, Parks notes that his current average between $26 and 27MM a year would rank ninth among all quarterbacks, a significant value for the potential of the signal-caller, which is a top-five passer. The obvious con is the risk involved with a deal for a player riddled with injuries through his first three seasons in the league.

Seahawks Targeting John DeFilippo As OC

Earlier this week, SI.com’s Albert Breer reported Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is set to be a coaching free agent and could be a candidate for an OC job should he not become the Cardinals’ head coach.

The Seahawks are interested in DeFilippo to succeed Darrell Bevell as OC, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding he will join Brian Schottenheimer as a sought-after interviewee for Seattle — should the Eagles lose to the Falcons today.

The Eagles prevented their QBs coach from speaking with the Jets about their OC job last year, with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reporting Jeffrey Lurie overruled Doug Pederson‘s decision to let DeFilippo do so, but can no longer block him from interviews going forward. Seattle has interest in Schottenheimer but has yet to set up any interviews with candidates. This is the first time in seven years the Seahawks have had an OC vacancy.

DeFilippo played a key role in Carson Wentz rocketing from Division I-FCS product to one-time MVP frontrunner. The Seahawks, who are the first team to have reported interest in the soon-to-be 40-year-old coach as a coordinator, have a franchise quarterback but struggled offensively this season. Seattle had the league’s No. 13-ranked scoring offense this season — its lowest finish since 2010.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FO/Staff Notes: McDaniels, Lurie, Shanahan

Earlier this week, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels pulled himself out of the race to become San Francisco’s head coach. It turns out he might be content to remain an assistant in New England until head coach Bill Belichick retires, at which point he would potentially take over, says Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). There are no indications the 64-year-old Belichick is pondering retirement, however, and Cole adds that McDaniels could leave the Pats after next season if either Tennessee or Detroit fires its head coach. McDaniels’ goal is to work with a general manager with “strong personnel skills,” per Cole, and he’s familiar with both Titans GM Jon Robinson and the Lions’ Bob Quinn. Those two were longtime members of New England’s front office before departing for their current jobs last offseason.

Elsewhere around the NFL…

  • Since the Eagles brought an end to the Chip Kelly era late in 2015, owner Jeffrey Lurie has taken on a more active role with the franchise, league sources told Tim McManus of ESPN.com. For instance, it was Lurie who pushed to re-sign quarterback Sam Bradford last offseason and Lurie who denied the Jets permission to interview quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo for their offensive coordinator vacancy earlier this month. One reason for Lurie’s involvement is head coach Doug Pederson‘s inexperience. Pederson, who’s fresh off his first season as a sideline leader, told reporters in December that he had weekly meetings – “very positive” ones, he added – with Lurie and de facto GM Howie Roseman.
  • The Falcons probably won’t let offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan take any of their position coaches with him if he accepts the 49ers’ head coaching job, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com hears (Twitter link). Maiocco reported Wednesday that Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel was a candidate to become Shanahan’s defensive coordinator in San Francisco, but that now appears unlikely.
  • The Jaguars are set to hire Jason Rebrovich as their assistant defensive line coach, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Jacksonville will be Rebrovich’s third stop under head coach Doug Marrone. He previously served on Marrone-led staffs at Syracuse and in Buffalo.
  • The Colts will not bring back wide receivers coach Lee Hull next season, relays Caplan (Twitter link). The ex-college coach lasted only one year in Indianapolis.