Thursday, February 11, 2016

Eagles: We're not rebuilding

The Eagles' off-season turned more curious when Sheldon Brown became the latest casualty in the team's "Benjamin Button" transformation.

Eagles: We're not rebuilding

The Eagles sent 31-year-old Sheldon Brown to Cleveland today. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
The Eagles sent 31-year-old Sheldon Brown to Cleveland today. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)

The Eagles' off-season turned more curious when Sheldon Brown became the latest casualty in the team's "Benjamin Button" transformation.

The 31-year-old cornerback was dealt to the Browns today, along with linebacker Chris Gocong, in exchange for two draft picks and 24-year-old linebacker Alex Hall.

While there appears to be evidence to the contrary, the Eagles say they aren't rebuilding. 

"The word rebuilding will never enter our vocabulary," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said, according to the team's Web site. "We're trying to win. We're trying to win right now. I think we're just trying to get better in all areas. We're trying to build a team that this city can be proud of. We're excited about that. We've got a lot more work to do."

More coverage
Eagletarian: Roseman: 'We're trying to win'
Birds' Eye View: Brown, Gocong traded to Browns
MTC: How will Eagles replace Brown?
Eagles extend Banner's deal
Banner gets extension
Is sending Chris Gocong and Sheldon Brown to the Cleveland a good move by the Eagles?

Roseman expressed similar sentiments in an earlier conference call with reporters. Here's the transcript of that interview.

The Eagles are getting younger and younger.

A closer look at the team's moves since late February, when they announced the release of running back Brian Westbrook, reveals a sharp contrast in age between those coming and going. In a five-week span the Eagles have shed 11 players and added six. If you add unrestricted free agent linebacker Jeremiah Trotter to the 11 -- coach Andy Reid said he would not return -- the average age of the departed is 29.5. The average age of the six new players, on the other hand, is 25.3.

And, of course, 33-year-old quarterback Donovan McNabb is on the trading block with 25-year-old Kevin Kolb waiting in the wings.

The Eagles typically subtract aging players for younger ones, but this off-season seems more drastic than other ones. Last week at the NFL owners' meetings, Reid was asked if the off-season turnover was a matter of getting younger and reloading or getting younger and rebuilding. 

"We expect to win games," he said. "When we bring young guys in we bring them in with that in mind. We want the best ones we can find and expect them to hold up the tradition that we’ve built."

The Eagles won't say it publicly, out of respect to the veteran players that left, but they viewed each as declining. Of course, there's something to be said for experience and having leaders on the roster. Brown and Westbrook, for example, were lead-by-example vets.

Here are the players that have left, along with their ages: Defensive end Darren Howard (33, Trotter (33), wide receiver Kevin Curtis (31), Brown (31), Westbrook (30), linebacker Will Witherspoon (29), wide receiver Reggie Brown (29), defensive end Jason Babin (29), defensive end Chris Clemons (28), safety Sean Jones (28), guard Shawn Andrews (27) and Gocong (26).

And here are the Eagles' additions since March 5: Wide receiver Hank Baskett (27), running back Mike Bell (26), safety Marlin Jackson (26), defensive end Darryl Tapp (25), linebacker Alex Hall (24) and wide receiver Chad Hall (23).

Click here for the earlier post on the Brown/Gocong deal.


Staff Writer
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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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