After a relatively addition-free offseason just a season ago, GM Howie Roseman has gone all out in 2024. He has, at the very least, improved every position of need for the Philadelphia Eagles, minor or massive.
More than anything, that says that he is not keen on letting the Eagles’ winning culture fade. It means a lot in the NFL, and he’s not about to let that go away. He wants to get better no matter what.

Roseman’s Additions

In the opening days of free agency, Roseman most notably helped acquire running back Saquon Barkley, defensive end Bryce Huff, safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and linebacker Devin White.

Photo: Russ Heltman

Having money for the future is important — the salary cap, believe it or not, does actually exist. Backloading contracts and restructuring them does come into play at some point or another, so Roseman has gone all out.

Three of the Eagles’ biggest needs going into the offseason were all pretty apparent: the secondary, running back, and linebacker. There’s still plenty of time (and an entire draft class)  to add more, but Roseman prioritized his team needs while getting younger in the process. It would be one thing to sign veterans for an “all-in” season, but he’s maximizing his window here. Each of these players is relatively young, with Barkley being the oldest at 27.

Getting to what these deals actually mean, let’s first start with Barkley. He was a more explosive back (10+ yard rushes) on a per-play basis than D’Andre Swift, who signed with the Chicago Bears this offseason for a decent sum of money. And he did that behind, arguably, the worst offensive line in football versus Swift doing it behind, arguably, the best. Barkley is the only running back to have a top-10 score in rushing yards over expected (RYOE) in both 2022 and 2023, so he still has a lot left.

Both Huff and Gardner-Johnson are huge, young additions that help the Eagles have long-term hope at their respective positions. Huff has a lot of upside, while Gardner-Johnson is the exact energy Philadelphia was missing last season. The latter was a big culture signing, but more on that in a bit.

White is an athletic linebacker who didn’t have the best season in 2023, but he should still be a solid asset for the Eagles. On a one-year deal, there is little risk involved.

The Importance of Culture

It’s hard to call what happened to the Eagles last season a lack of culture, but it’s clear that the vibes around the team were far lower than they were in 2022 when they went to the Super Bowl. You don’t have to be in the room every day to know that. And the fact that the Eagles dropped six of their last seven games, including their Wildcard loss, probably didn’t help matters.

So what did Roseman do? He brought back an energy player in Gardner-Johnson. Not only was he a really good player for the Eagles when he was there during their run to the Super Bowl, but he gave them a little bit of spice. The Detroit Lions know all about this, especially when he taunted the San Francisco 49ers’ crowd during the NFC Championship when he was up by 13— just to lose anyway.

But that’s the sort of attitude the Eagles need. There was far too much of the cliches last season — every player on the team promised they’d be better the next game and never got better. In an endless loop, the team needed real character and emotion. That was acquired. It might seem trivial, but “vibes” are very real. Look no further than when the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017 — that team was full of “vibes”. Perhaps the best team in that department the Birds have ever seen.

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Not every team needs to adopt the “Patriot Way.” Players need to have fun and enjoy themselves. The Eagles sort of lost their character — that’s what made them special. With Roseman showing belief in his players by adding legitimate stars to both sides of the ball, the Eagles have veteran leadership and character in a player like Brandon Graham, skillful youth in someone like Jalen Carter, and stars in their prime, including A.J. Brown, Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and Jordan Mailata just to name a few.

Having a good, young team with a GM who is willing to make sacrifices to add to that helps build culture. The Eagles lost in the Super Bowl, started out as hot as ever the following season with a 10-1 record, faded, and got much better. They made changes. They have a lot of draft picks to work with. They have the recipe in place to be a good team again. Roseman deserves credit for that.

The Eagles aren’t playing any games this season. They saw what failed just a year ago. Roseman is doing everything to not let it happen again.
Growing as a GM, it is becoming apparent that Roseman could remain with the Eagles for a while. Not doomed to repeat history, he has evolved his entire career. He likely recognized just how influential culture is in football.

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