A Good Sign

Posted: May 9th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Pro football is a business. We don’t always focus on that. We follow the Eagles for life, while players come and go based on business decisions. Mostly, anyway. There are some exceptions and the Eagles tend to do well in those situations. Just look at this offseason.

The Eagles traded for DeSean Jackson, but he wanted to come back to Philly. This was his preferred destination. He’s reportedly wanted to come back here for a few years. The circumstances just finally worked out.

Vinny Curry came back to Philly after the Bucs cut him. He is from the area and that certainly is a factor, but Curry didn’t even bother talking to other teams. He couldn’t wait to get back to Philly. Heck, he didn’t want to leave in the first place.

Tim Jernigan re-signed with the team, and at a reduced rate. He was on the market for a while. We don’t know if he talked to other teams seriously, but he decided staying in Philly was best for him.

Brandon Graham didn’t even test the market. He signed a reasonable deal and will likely finish his career as an Eagle. Graham had no interest in leaving, but wanted to make sure he got good money out of his final big contract. He probably would have gotten more on the open market, but got enough from the Eagles that it allowed him to stay, which was important to him.

Ronald Darby decided he wanted to play in Philly this year. He did look around a bit and saw this as his best option. He’s coming off an ACL injury and didn’t get the offers he wanted, but I still wondered if he might go elsewhere.

Rodney McLeod took a pay cut to stay here. Like Darby, he’s coming off an injury and that took away any bargaining power.

When someone leaves the Eagles, it is a player they usually aren’t all that interested in keeping. The team wasn’t willing to commit big money to Jordan Hicks so off he went. Nick Foles wanted to be a starting QB. That wasn’t going to happen here, so off he went. Golden Tate wasn’t in any long term plans, so off he went.

Philly has become a place that players want to be. The money has to be right, but the Eagles aren’t like some other teams that have to out-bid others to have any shot. Players genuinely want to be here.

Jeffrey Lurie gets a lot of credit for running a first class organization. Some owners obsess on the bottom-line. Lurie is more focused on winning. He spends big on the facilities, the front office staff, the scouting staff and the coaching staff. He invests big money in the team’s website. Lurie wants a good product, on and off the field.

Doug Pederson is important as well. He’s quickly built a good reputation around the league. I think players see him as a players coach and also as a genuine guy. I’m sure many of them love the fact that Pederson is a former NFL player and that gives him a unique perspective.

Don’t overlook the Carson Wentz factor. Players want to go somewhere there is a franchise QB. That means you have a chance to win big.

Eagles players seem happy. You know Lane Johnson is having a good time all the time. Jason Kelce’s speech had to really connect with the underdog players of the league. How could they not love that? Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox always seem to be smiling. The Eagles seem to have a lot of fun. I think that matters to players.

There is also the Malcolm Jenkins factor. The Eagles let him speak his mind and fight for his causes. Some teams try to tell their players how to act. That’s not the case in Philly. Lurie and Pederson let the players be individuals. They are supportive of the players.

I’m not trying to tell you the Eagles are perfect and every player in the league is dying to come to Philly. But I do think the Eagles are one of the teams that players do want to play for. Great city. Passionate fans. Strong owner. Smart, aggressive and fun coach. Winning organization. There really is a lot to like.

Some of you won’t see this as a big deal. I’ve been a fan for a long time. Back in the late 90’s, players would use the Eagles as a threat. Free agents would go to their first stop and negotiate with their preferred team. They would then have a visit scheduled with the Eagles, but with no intention of actually signing. They just wanted to use the Eagles as leverage in negotiations. And it worked for several guys.

Those were dark days.

So now when I see players who really want to be here, that gets my attention.

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