The Philadelphia Eagles lost to the defending Good Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday within the Wild Card spherical of the NFL playoffs. That’s shimmering. They weren’t supposed to be there in essentially the most important web page.
The Eagles had been supposed to be rebuilding in 2021. This turned into once, finally, the year wherein they’d traded away one-time franchise quarterback Carson Wentz but not the cap hit his guaranteed money left at the abet of. That contributed to a league document $62 million in pointless cap characteristic this year. Philadelphia got here into the season with roughly 1/Third of its spending room dedicated to avid gamers who weren’t on the roster by midseason and still made it to the postseason.
That's shimmering. Now comes the arduous phase; sustaining this momentum into 2022.
The Eagles thrived, in phase, thanks to a cozy agenda; they splendid played one playoff team after Week 7 and went 9-2 towards teams that failed to qualify for the postseason in a 9-8 marketing campaign. Philadelphia also succeeded resulting from first-year head coach Slash Sirianni played to his strengths and went towards the grain of a scuttle-heavy NFL. Sirianni, completely working out the energy of his blocking and quarterback Jalen Hurts’ tempo, engineered an offense that ran for extra yards than anyone and averaged 190 speeding yards over its final 10 games.
On Sunday, the agenda acquired more challenging and the Bucs took away these running lanes. The Eagles’ unparalleled season plan stopped working. They'd nothing else to provide Tampa Bay.
Hurts threw for 258 yards, one landing, and two interceptions. 118 of these yards and the TD got here after the Bucs took a 31-0 lead into the fourth quarter. He turned into once unable to develop performs when it mattered and on the total looked undecided of his throws downfield.
It turned into once a nerve-racking efficiency from a participant who also can impartial own been restricted by damage but finally failed to return thru. That leaves a clear accumulate 22 situation in Philly. Ought to still it steal into the Hurts ride for Yr 3, or will own to it initiate buying for an exit approach?
Hurts led an offense that threw for extra than 300 net yards twice and not up to 200 10 cases. He ran for extra than 50 yards per sport but ranked 22nd within the league in passer ranking, sandwiched between Davis Mills and Ben Roethlisberger. His legs made him a center-of-the-road passer when it got here to general price, primarily based on Next Gen Stats’ anticipated functions added model, charted here helpfully by RBSDM.com
We already know he has the scuttle safety other quarterbacks would possibly presumably perchance perchance splendid dream of. So how can the Eagles construct around him?
There’s a solid market of frail huge receivers who would possibly presumably perchance perchance abet upgrade a jam of need, including Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, and presumably even Davante Adams. Philadelphia can’t own enough money any of these guys resulting from restricted cap characteristic. One more $22 million in pointless money is on the books for subsequent season. Their estimated $13.6m in spending room ranks 22nd-most within the league.
The Eagles can tackle the jam at a receiver-heavy draft, the build they’ll own three first spherical picks — Nos. 15, 16, and 19 — thanks to outdated trades. They’ve selected a Day 1 wideout each of the final two years with the end result ranging from disastrous (Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson in 2020) to promising (DeVonta Smith in 2021). Plucking Jameson Williams or Chris Olave with a sort of picks would possibly presumably perchance perchance give the team a badly-wished playmaker to pair with Smith and Dallas Goedert (and create characteristic for Quez Watkins to skim) while offering the upside of a future WR1.
That would possibly presumably perchance perchance be a boon for the emerging younger QB. Hurts’ 9 air yards per scuttle turned into once the fourth-deepest designate within the league and his 14 percent inappropriate throw rate turned into once third-lowest. Questions live about whether or not he would possibly presumably perchance perchance withhold that with extra volume — he threw 62 fewer passes than Jared Goff this season regardless of taking part in one extra sport — but it’s determined he’d be with a receiving corps that didn’t fall extra than 5 percent of this throws.
Philadelphia would possibly presumably perchance perchance also gaze Sunday’s loss as a reason to develop its Plan B at quarterback — an practical possibility for a team that drafted Hurts in 2020 regardless of having Wentz signed thru 2024. The Eagles’ passing sport had a little-pattern uptick with Gardner Minshew at the abet of heart. The Jaguar castoff’s success would possibly presumably perchance perchance provide evidence of brighter days for the Philly aerial assault.
Minshew will continue to exist the roster as a viable, cheap QB2 for no lower than one extra year. He also can impartial own firm. After drafting a flawed but inviting quarterback in 2020 general manager Howie Roseman would possibly presumably perchance perchance manufacture it again in 2022. The upcoming chop of rookie QBs is with out doubt one of many weakest in years, but the Eagles would possibly presumably perchance perchance opt to turn a sort of first spherical picks into a lottery ticket at the abet of heart.
Who’d fit the invoice? They've the ammunition to commerce into the tip 10 and take a man esteem Kenny Pickett, though that seems esteem a destroy of resources for a team with holes to maintain. Quarterbacks currently anticipated to final till the unhurried younger of us consist of Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell, and presumably Matt Corral.
Willis, who performs at 6’1 and 215 pounds correct esteem Hurts did in college, would be a attention-grabbing pickup. He’s a dual-threat QB whose legs carry him out of effort, correct esteem the Eagles’ incumbent. He had worse passing stats than Hurts regardless of taking part in towards low-critical FBS competition at Liberty University, but you would possibly presumably perchance perchance also additionally argue he had enormously much less proficient receivers to throw to and blockers to determined a characteristic than the individual that played his college ball at Oklahoma and Alabama.
Would the Eagles wade abet into the fray by picking up the Christian college model of Hurts? It’d be unparalleled (and, honestly, fairly dang laughable), but it’d enable the team to abet the basis of a playoff playbook intact. Would Sirianni proceed for a extra traditional pocket passer to conform his offense? Or turned into once the success of his bustle-heavy sport enough to investigate cross-take a look at one other year of handoffs-and-scrambles to characteristic up occasional deep shots?
Right here's a tricky enviornment to be in, but Philadelphia is before agenda in its rebuild and can own to own several alternatives to recuperate in 2022 even with out oodles of salary cap characteristic. Hurts has proven he’s able to being a playoff quarterback, with some abet from a cozy agenda. He also confirmed he’s not able to winning a postseason sport on the road with out extra abet.
In the destroy, Roseman and Sirianni are staring down a correct enviornment to own. Their team can be triumphant even with out the sort of excessive octane passing sport that’s propelled the bulk of 2022’s contenders. Now they wish to determine if Hurts would possibly presumably perchance perchance be that sort of quarterback. And if they even need him to be in characterize to secure abet to the playoffs subsequent frigid weather.