Renting vs Buying

Posted: April 9th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 7 Comments »

The Eagles have a lot of short term contract situations going on. Alshon Jeffery is here on a 1-year deal. The team traded for DT Tim Jernigan, who is in the final year of his deal. Chris Long essentially signed a 1-year contract. Patrick Robinson and Chance Warmack both came to Philly on 1-year deals. That’s a lot of rentals. Is that a bad thing?

Ideally you want to have a team stay together for several years so the players can develop chemistry. Stability is a good thing. Unfortunately roster changes are a fact of life in the NFL. There is a lot of turnover when there is a coaching change. The new staff has to find players that fit their schemes. There are also some situations where personalities don’t mesh well and that leads to changes.

Doug Pederson didn’t come in with the idea of completely rebuilding the team. He made changes where he felt they were needed. Some coaches go overboard with wanting to turn over the roster and fill it with their guys. Pederson wanted to win more than go on an ego trip so he kept a good number of coaches and plenty of players. He wanted stability.

Still, different schemes require different players. The Eagles made some changes last year and are continuing that process this offseason. They would love to only be adding young players and for those guys to be signing long deals, but that’s just not reality. First, there isn’t enough cap space to sign everyone to a big deal. Also, there aren’t always the right players available to make commitments to. Sometimes you have to rent.

Understand that these situations all are a bit different.

The Eagles wanted Jeffery long term. He and his agent wanted a short deal. Jeffery would love to have a big year and hit the market again next year. The Eagles will talk to him about an extension over and over. They want him to love Philly and realize this is a place to stay.

The Eagles like Chris Long. But reality says he’s 32 and nearing the end of his career. Players take great care of themselves these days so the old timetables are no longer set in stone. If Long plays well, he’ll stay for more than a year. The Eagles would love that to happen, but structured his deal so there is flexibility.

Robinson is here as a band-aid. He has experience and was cheap. Warmack is here for redemption. He’s hoping Jeff Stoutland can save his career.

Jernigan looks like a rental because he is in the final year of his deal. The Eagles were very happy to land him, because he’s young and they think he’s very talented and a great fit for Jim Schwartz’s defense. The Eagles will talk to him about an extension. They haven’t seen him on the field yet, but I think they are willing to roll the dice and sign him to a deal. They would love to have a talented DT to pair with Fletcher Cox. They hoped that would be Bennie Logan, but his price tag and their’s were very different.

Jernigan is younger than Logan and a better scheme fit. He is a good pass rusher and Schwartz places a priority on getting to the QB. I think the Eagles will be aggressive in trying to work on a deal with him. There is risk because he’s an outsider, but Joe Douglas and Andy Weidl were in Baltimore when they drafted Jernigan so it isn’t like the Eagles are flying completely blind.

If the Eagles can find a way to keep Jeffery and Jernigan around, these moves will look even better than they do now. The Eagles are renting them, but they definitely want to buy. All about finding the right price. The deal has to make sense to the Eagles and to the player.

*****

Let’s hope this timetable is accurate.

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  • ChoTime

    I find the one-year deal splurge mystifying and can’t imagine it’s part of an intentional strategy. It just doesn’t make sense for a team building to make the playoffs to make these signings. Alshon is a band-aid covering for years of poor judgment handling WRs. The other free agents are also patching up areas of recurring failure. That is an appropriate use of free agency (see Malcom Jenkins, Darren Sproles), but one-year players are either failures who you’re happy to let go, or guys who then are going to be looking for a payday.

    Maybe this is just something happening in the NFL right now, but it’s just not a good situation for the Eagles IMO.

    • mtn_green

      Read somewhere, this blogs comments, that some cap changes in the next few years are making players and their agents want one year contracts. In a few years there will be more money to throw around.

      • ChoTime

        Yeah, but it’s still an amazing thing to all of a sudden see a bunch of players risking so much on the future, in such a violent and unpredictable sport.

        DF3 said it might be a move to get a bunch of compensatory picks. Not my favorite move, since this team doesn’t draft particularly well.

    • DrGeniusPhD

      The Eagles are making the playoffs next year, and once you’re in, anything can happen.

    • unhinged

      The Chip carousel was part of a fairly major turnover in FO and on the field. Stability (and a fixed ceiling) were hallmarks of Banner, Reid, DMAC and company. The passing of a brilliant field strategist and tactician in Jim Johnson was the beginning of the lights dimming on that era. An ill-advised penchant for rewarding moderate success saw an owner hand more hats, titles and power to an HC who had not earned them. Years of unexceptional drafting, particularly defensive personnel, and the improvement of the division, conference and league saw the window slam shut, and to Jeff Lurie’s credit, he tried to understand what he could do to re-invigorate the franchise and reclaim some stability. I think the hiring of Kelly was in that context. Kelly had a brand, and an impressive track record, and an iconic impact on the college game. Lurie cannot be faulted for having signed him with high aspirations.
      Two lessons that Lurie appears to have taken from his Reid years and his Kelly stint: He wants a stronger FO, less dependency on a HC to run the ship, AND he wants to provide his franchise QB with every
      advantage possible. The high number of short-term contracts has the scent of conservatism that an old hand bears. It is an anti-dream team sentiment…an attempt at improvement w/out the lure of too-high expectations. Somebody pointed out recently how a number of games last season were very close losses. These contracts look like an acknowledgement of the value of tweaking as opposed to overhauling.

      • ChoTime

        I like your overview. Your analysis of the late Reid years rings true. I thought Kelly was a great move that turned out to not work, a swing and a miss.

        Relying on 1-year deals (I say this is general) is not a legitimate way to build a team for any longer than one year. They appear to be turning over maybe 8-9 starters (?). Not sure if that’s really a tweak.

        • unhinged

          I used that term because to me it looks like the core of both offensive and defensive starting units are pretty much intact. I may be missing the 8-9 players you’re thinking of. Logan and Barwin and Carroll on D, where Logan was the only strong player that left a hole. The big change on offense (I hope) will be consistent interior line play. Most folks don’t see Kelce returning, so that is kind of big, but if the replacement is Seumalo or someone else, I think we can expect more grit and punch, without it being a “rented” player. One year is all anybody should need to gauge Jeffrey as a keeper or a transient. He’s got just as much to gain or lose as the franchise. Tim Jernigan is already a keeper in my view. He’s a known entity, and I don’t think he’d have signed on if he didn’t like Jim Scwartz’s scheme. RB and CB have been clear needs for the Birds, but whereas the former is a low priority for me, CB is a big need. I am glad that HR started with the DL, because it is really critical to judge the DB’s in the context of a competitive pass rush. Last year I thought our pass rush was a tad above mediocre. I know that didn’t sit well with Schwartz. If we can get a playmaker at either position DE or CB in round one, I will be excited. If those positions are not in play in round one, I just hope it’s for a future star at any position.
          I agree with your general skepticism regarding one-year deals, but I tie that directly to too many star-free drafts. A one-year deal is a much better option for management, because the stakes are very low. If Jernigan and Jeffrey both impress and are re-signed, that would be a better draft than quite a few under Jeff Lurie’s tenure.