February 27, 2024   4 MIN READ

Youth To Be Served

Roseman Vague On Reddick Return, Bullish On Youth


ITB PHOTO: Eagles EVP Howie Roseman answers questions at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Eagles played several young players on defense last season, and paid the price in the exchange of youth vs. experience as the team plummeted from one of the NFL’s best defenses in 2022 to one of the worst.

Although personnel chief Howie Roseman said Tuesday he planned to be aggressive this offseason to assemble another championship contender, he didn’t strike an optimistic chord about the team’s best defensive player returning while also forecasting another youth movement.

Roseman and head coach Nick Sirianni, at their podium interviews in Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine, maintained a very vague stance on the status of Pro Bowl pass rusher Haason Reddick, whose 27.5 sacks over the past two seasons are tied for fourth-most in NFL.

Reddick, who seeks a new deal, has been given permission to seek a trade as he and the team try to evaluate the market for the 29-year-old edge rusher who turns 30 this season and has one year left on his deal.

“Haason, obviously, an unbelievable player for the Philadelphia Eagles, local kid, great success story .. love having Haason,” Roseman, the team’s longtime executive vice president of football operations, said. “Anything you’re trying to do, you’re trying to blend obviously what you’re trying to do this year and how you’re gonna look in the future. I think that’s the hardest job.”

The future of the Eagles’ defensive line arrived over the past two seasons, with the Eagles using three first-round picks over the past two NFL Drafts on defensive linemen – defensive tackles Jordan Davis (13th overall, 2022) and Jalen Carter (ninth overall, 2023) and edge rusher Nolan Smith (30th, 2023).

All three played at Georgia and won national championships there.

Roseman said Sirianni has the green light to further develop his youth nucleus into 2024. He also said he looks to “be aggressively going after” upgrades, which suggests Roseman has his sights set on big-ticket additions to the secondary after the Eagles ranked 31st last year in pass defense.

Smith, whose long, slender frame along with edge speed and athletic testing compare favorable to Reddick’s, played just 188 snaps last year – 16 percent of the defense. He has been viewed as a potential successor to Reddick, which Roseman didn’t downplay.

“That goes back to the point about younger players,” Roseman said when asked about the team’s second-year vision for Smith. “[He was] One of the guys who played well in the playoff game, maybe giving him more time throughout the year. He’s got all the right tools in his body, he’s got the right mentality. At the same time, he’s got to go out and show it.”

Sirianni said Reddick “has been awesome for us the last two years,” but also expressed uncertainty about the former Temple star and South Jersey native’s return.

“I don’t how that’ll play out,” he said. “Hopefully, he’s an Eagle.”

Despite his comments on the development of building blocks, Roseman also made it clear that 2024 wouldn’t be a transition year – for the defense or the team.

He acknowledged some mistakes last offseason in personnel decisions to fill holes from major free-agent losses and insisted that his objective is field a championship contender.

“I don’t know that I think about it, other than, how do we improve?” Roseman said when asked for his viewpoint on the team’s 1-6 record down the stretch, including a playoff road loss to the Bucs in the first round.

“How do we get better as quickly as we can? Luckily, we’ve gotten to a point here where the standard is trying to compete for world championships. That’s really what we’re trying to do. Its clear to me we weren’t good enough to do that this year, so I’ve got to do whatever I possible can to do better.”

– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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