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Roseman: Busy Week All Part Of The Plan

Posted Feb 28, 2014

Sometimes, everything goes according to plan. That's how this dizzying week played out for general manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles, as the team re-signed a pair of impending free agent wide receivers and extended the contracts of a dynamic duo of offensive linemen. Friday marked the final piece of the pre-free agency puzzle, as the team signed Jeremy Maclin to a one-year deal.

There wasn't much rest for Roseman as he and head coach Chip Kelly returned from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday. A day later, Jason Peters was inked to a long-term deal. Thursday saw Jason Kelce similarly locked up and impending free agent Riley Cooper brought back into the fold. The capper came Friday when Maclin, the 2009 first-round pick, joined the – whatever the opposite of exodus is.

"Obviously, this was our plan here in the last week," Roseman said Friday. "I'd say (we were) cautiously optimistic. When you're this close to free agency, you're always concerned that the player is going to just wait and just say, ‘Hey, I've gone this far, I'm going to wait 10 days.' The players and their agents deserve a lot of credit here. All these guys, their commitment to Philadelphia, their commitment to our organization, they deserve a lot of credit and, really, we talked about it a little, but we have to give more credit to our owner and him giving us the resources to be able to go out and do this sort of thing here and be aggressive to keep these guys off the market and to keep these guys in Philadelphia long term. I think that we all feel really fortunate to have him giving us these resources to dole out to these guys and I know the players feel the same way."

One of the common refrains from Roseman this week has been the emphasis on retaining the high-character players who have helped shape an Eagles locker room that saw the team go from the basement of the NFC East to division champion in one season. While Maclin may not have contributed on the field in 2013 following his torn ACL last summer, the 25-year-old remains a leader in the NovaCare Complex, often by example.

"We're excited to have Jeremy back," Roseman said. "That was our goal when we started here in the offseason. Really, that's been our goal all along is to have him back here. He's a guy we drafted in the first round and we're really excited to see what he can do in this offense. Just the way he's worked every day, watching him, his work ethic, his attitude, his determination, it's exciting to bring him back here.

"The one thing about Jeremy is that throughout this season, the relationship was there. I mean, he was at our games, he was in the building every day so we kind of felt like we were going through the process with him."
 
The week's four roster moves also showcase what has clearly become a priority for the front office. While the unknown can be tempting, there is a certain comfort in sticking with the reliable.

"It goes back to knowing your guys, knowing the people that you have in the building and the people that you're with day-to-day and then having full trust in our medical team," Roseman said. "These are guys that we've been with and you like personally. You do develop a relationship with people and so that's why when we're sitting there in calm times, we try to develop a walk-away price and really figure out the role and where we see these guys. That's what we try to do on every player. I can't tell you that there aren't certain guys who you really just want to have back. You like having them around and they add value to your locker room and really to the chemistry of the building. Jeremy's got a lot of things going for him and when you look at all the things in the plus column, they're attractive, and that's why we were really interested in bringing him back and why we were aggressive in trying to bring him back."

On the field, meanwhile, the Eagles seem to have an embarrassment of riches on offense. With Maclin and Cooper joining DeSean Jackson and the rest of the Eagles receivers, not to mention a stable of impressive tight ends and running backs, the obvious question is whether the Eagles will have enough footballs to spread around to their talented playmakers.

Actually, Roseman explained, that's not the question at all. The real problem is for the opposing defense.

"I put it back on you," Roseman said. "When you have all those guys to defend and you bring in our tight end group and our running back group, it's exciting. We still have a lot of work to do, but that's what we're trying to do here.

"I don't know that we as a personnel staff, as coaches, get into 1-2-3, delineating numbers for receivers. You're looking for good players. When you look at how many offensive plays you have over the course of the season, there are a lot of opportunities to spread the ball around, get people involved. I don't think you have to look further than when you look at the Denver Broncos and how many receiving options they have in their passing game and how big of an advantage that is when you have guys all around the field and you can give different personnel groups. That's what we're looking to do. We're looking to continue to be an explosive, dynamic offense and when you talk about the skills that he has, Jeremy, certainly he adds to that group."

When Kelly was hired last offseason, Roseman and Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie touted the coach's ability as a "program builder." We knew Kelly would be bringing his fast-paced offense to Philadelphia, but it appears his characteristic breakneck speed has rubbed off on the rapidity with which Roseman wrapped things up this week.

So what's next?

"I think we're going to take the weekend and take a deep breath," Roseman said. "We just had a run here with the (NFL Scouting Combine), that's a lot of time that our coaches, our scouts, all of us, spent really nonstop almost 24 hours a day in Indianapolis dealing with things. Then we came back and we had a busy week and so I think we need a minute to catch our breath and then catch up on Monday."

But with free agency just over a week away, just make sure you don't get caught napping the next time Roseman races to his version of the line of scrimmage.

"I wouldn't take anything off the table," he said.

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