In 2023, the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense started to struggle mightily around the second half of the season and was, overall, a poor unit.
While GM Howie Roseman partially addressed it in free agency, it is still by no means an elite group.

With the addition of Saquon Barkley to an already stacked on-paper offense, that unit will have to lead the way in 2024.

The talent is too great for it not to.

Eagles’ Spending Disparity

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The difference in spending for the Eagles’ offense versus their defense is almost comical to look at. Each of their top-six highest-paid players on an average annual value (AAV) basis plays on the offensive side of the ball. Of the 11 possible players who can be on the field at once for an offense, eight of them (72.7 percent) have an AAV of over $12.5 million.

Roseman is spending an absurd amount of money on the offense, and that’s a good thing. Just based on that alone, that group has to be dominant all season long. From skill positions to the offensive line, everyone is getting paid the big bucks to play great. It leaves a much-to-be-desired unit on the other side of the ball.

A salary cap does exist in the NFL, so the only real way to get around this is to have lesser-paid defenders play above their pay grade. Generally, pay corresponds to the upside and even consistency of a player. The lack of star power and depth on the Eagles’ defense was part of their demise last season, coupled with some inconsistencies on offense, which is a big reason why it will have to be better.

High-Caliber Offenses Win Games

In the NFL, there is definitely a talent discrepancy between the good and bad teams. The good news for the Eagles is that they are a very, very good team. Several of the teams on their schedule have nowhere near the talent they do. That alone should give them double-digit wins, assuming Jalen Hurts doesn’t suffer a long-term injury. At full health, the Eagles simply have too much talent to lose more than they win.

Being well-coached and having great depth can be huge assets to NFL clubs, but at the end of the day, talent means more than anything. That is the case for essentially every sport in the world. All of the other aspects of football are secondary to talent.

Philadelphia might not have the same superstar talent on their defense that they might have in their 2017 Super Bowl run, but they have put together perhaps the best offense in their entire history. There are top-end players everywhere. As a collective, they should victimize the less fortunate.

Perhaps more than any league, the bad, average, good, and great teams are separated in the NFL. Looking at the rosters, it’s not really hard to see why this is the case. The difference in talent is usually the most significant thing to note between the great and the average, and even the great and the good. Coaching and “heart” can take teams far, but talent takes them farther. It’s not the only thing that matters, but Super Bowls aren’t won without high-class players in this day and age.

But What About the Playoffs?

In the playoffs, pretty much every team has elite talent. Being the San Francisco 49ers, for example, doesn’t have as many benefits because it’s hard to make the playoffs without being a legitimately good team, let alone win a game or two in them.

If a team makes the playoffs enough and they are able to keep their team largely intact, they will naturally go on a run at some point. It hasn’t paid off for teams like the Buffalo Bills or Dallas Cowboys yet, but eventually, it will. It’s all but inevitable that they will get over their postseason woes.

For the Eagles, every season is a fresh one. 2023 might have ended a bit sour, but they are a completely different group now. They should have as good of a chance as anyone to go to the Super Bowl and win the thing as long as they are playoff-bound. Even if it’s not this season, this Hurts-led juggernaut should do some damage in the playoffs like they did in 2022. Now is as good a time as any to make something happen.

The Eagles have an entire draft to address their defensive needs, but even a generational class won’t change their status.
Philadelphia is led by their offense, and that’s okay. If they want to win, the skilled guys will have to take charge.

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