It’s OK to be green with envy but not ready to wave a white flag at the Philadelphia Eagles.
Not only are the Eagles favored to win Super Bowl LVII and capture a second championship in the last five years, but they’re poised to be a problem for the ascending Giants for a long time. In other words, the Empire State Building better stock up on Eagles-colored light bulbs for years to come.
If it feels like nothing ever goes wrong for the NFC’s second-winningest franchise of the 22nd century that could be because the Eagles fired a future Hall of Fame coach (Andy Reid) in 2012 and a Super Bowl-winning coach (Doug Pederson) in 2020 and hired another Super Bowl coach in Nick Sirianni. Or because the correct answer in the great Carson Wentz-or-Nick Foles debate that raged after Super Bowl LII turned out to be dumping both and drafting proven winner Jalen Hurts in the second round despite arm strength questions.
“They are built to last,” one NFL scout told The Post. “Young talent, especially on the lines of scrimmage, good coaching and smart drafting.”
Haason Reddick tracks down Daniel Jones during the Eagles’ divisional-round win over the Giants on the way to the Super Bowl.Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post
As much as it feels like the end of an era for decade-long teammates Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce — three free agents who rank fourth, fifth and seventh in games played in Eagles history — the nucleus of the next decade is in place. And if, by some chance, it’s not, the ability to win while rebuilding already was shown: Only seven players (including two specialists) remain from the Super Bowl LII roster.
The 24-year-old Hurts’ top three pass-catchers are A.J. Brown (25), DeVonta Smith (24) and Dallas Goedert (28). Pro Bowler Landon Dickerson (24), Jordan Mailata (25) and Cam Jurgens (23) could be a new era’s version of Kelce and fellow offensive-line stalwart Lane Johnson. If 1,200-yard rusher Miles Sanders (25) finds more money elsewhere in free agency, Kenneth Gainwell (23) is waiting in the wings.
Haason Reddick (28) and Josh Sweat (25) already jumped Graham to be the top edge rushers, and Jordan Davis (23) and Milton Williams (23) are supposed to be the next phase on the interior. Leading tackler T.J. Edwards (26) and other back-seven starters Kyzir White (26), Marcus Epps (27) and C.J. Gardner-Johnson (25) are free agents worth re-signing, but the Eagles rarely overpay when team success drives up the market.
“It’s all about passing the torch,” Graham said. “Thirteen years in, I know my role: I’ll take the scraps while Haason eats off the bone.”
The Eagles celebrate their win over the Giants in the divisional round, a sight that might get familiar for Big Blue.AP
The Eagles were the only team to interview Reid in 1999. Same goes for Siriani in 2021. They lucked into Reid-disciple Pederson after the Giants promoted Ben McAdoo to keep McAdoo from their rival. What do the Eagles see that others don’t?
“The secret sauce is involved in that evaluating of when your team is at a certain place,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said as he held court in Sunday’s winning locker room. “What can you bring in terms of coaching leadership that will vault you to have a chance to play for another Super Bowl soon?”
Sirianni started 2-5. He made the defining decision of his tenure around then to surrender play-calling to offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and become a CEO.
GM Howie Roseman rebuilt the Eagles and brought them back to the Super Bowl just five years after winning in 2018.AP
Sirianni is 23-7 (including playoffs) since then — and 4-1 against the Giants, continuing a 25-6 trend since 2008 — and it looks like Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon both could return after drawing external head-coach interest.
The Eagles’ 10 draft classes from 2012-21 ranked No. 6 in Career Approximate Value over Expected, according to ESPN. What does that mean?
General manager Howie Roseman is good at finding steals, like the 2018 class that produced Goedert, slot cornerback Avontae Maddox (26), Sweat and Mailata after the first round. For all attention paid to first-round flops Jalen Reagor, Andre Dillard and Wentz, Roseman admits mistakes and moves on quickly to maximize trade value, which is an advantage over peers paralyzed by the reputational damage of a failed draft.
Taking advantage of Hurts’ paltry $1.64 million salary-cap hit, Roseman’s salary allocation this year is higher than the league average at offensive line, wide receiver, edge rusher, cornerback and defensive line — considered the five most important positions after quarterback — as well as tight end, according to OverTheCap.com.
Roseman is known as the NFL’s shrewdest trader. Look no further than two recent deals with the Saints. The Eagles hold the No. 10 pick in the 2023 draft as a result of a trade that amounts to No. 16 and No. 19 in 2022 for No. 18 in 2022, No. 10 in 2023 plus a high second-rounder, before adding late-round picks on both sides. He went back to the well after Gardner-Johnson’s extension talks broke down and stole a walk-year starter from the Saints for fifth- and sixth-rounders.
“Don’t ever do the conformist thing,” Lurie said of one of his guiding principles. “Don’t ever do what’s popular. If you want to be 8-8, do that. But if you want to have a chance to compete in a very big way, do what you think is right. If you’re wrong? So be it. Let it go, move on and make up for it.”
That’s the mindset that the Giants — and the rest of the NFL — are competing against.