Kartje: Philadelphia Eagles have enough talent to complete Super Bowl run
By Ryan Kartje
Last offseason, as the football world rushed to declare the defending champion Patriots an unbeatable juggernaut, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was quietly turning his middle-of-the-pack team into the most complete — and well-constructed — roster in football.
He signed receivers Alshon Jeffery (1 year, $9.5 million) and Torrey Smith (3 years, $15 million) to help Carson Wentz in the passing game. He inked bargain deals for former first-round slot corner Patrick Robinson (1 year, $775,000), veteran defensive end Chris Long (2 years, $4.5 million) and running back LeGarrette Blount (1 year, $1.15 million). He moved down 25 picks in the draft to trade for defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and then traded a third-round pick and wideout Jordan Matthews for cornerback Ronald Darby.
Singularly, the moves seemed solid, if a bit unspectacular. Collectively, however, they would prove brilliant, as each of those acquired players have made their presence felt somewhere along the Eagles’ unlikely road to Sunday’s Super Bowl.
The final piece of that puzzle came months later, with a trade for Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi. But the impact of Roseman’s masterful offseason was already clear. Philadelphia’s passing game took a mammoth leap forward. Its three-headed backfield went on to rush for the third-most yards in the league. The offensive and defensive fronts became arguably the best in football, and its secondary, once its greatest weakness, stabilized.
The Eagles lost just one game before December, with a dominant point differential of +160 through 12 weeks. They were surefire Super Bowl contenders — the best, most complete team in the NFL.
And then, Carson Wentz got hurt in a Dec. 10 game against the Rams.
The NFL’s best team was suddenly without its best player at football’s most important position. With one torn knee ligament and one long limp to the locker […]