With the Philadelphia Eagles' coaching staff finally in place, the team can now turn their focus to organizing their roster. A report by NJ.com's Eliot Shorr-Parks on Friday suggests that the Eagles may start by taking care of some of their young talents.
According to Shorr-Parks, Philadelphia has "prioritized getting new contracts done" with a trio of young players: defensive end Vinny Curry, tight end Zach Ertz and offensive tackle Lane Johnson.
Curry is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent by March. As for Ertz and Johnson, they are viewed as central to the team's plans under new coach Doug Pederson and vice president Howie Roseman. This offseason marks the first time the club will be able to negotiate a long-term contract with the two. Both players are also set to enter free agency after the 2016 season.
Retaining the 27-year-old Curry will be crucial to the upcoming switch to a 4-3 defense under new coordinator Jim Schwartz while the other two fill clear long-term needs. Ertz, meanwhile, is just starting to come into his own as an elite tight end. He got off to a bit of a sluggish start after sustaining an injury in 2015, but he has been excellent down the stretch. In his last four games, he delivered 35 receptions for 450 yards (12.9 average) and a single touchdown. The Eagles likely hope that Ertz can continue to build on that progress.
The third player involved in the potential deal, 25-year-old offensive tackle Lane Johnson, has improved considerably in each of his three seasons. He also seems to be close to becoming one of the league's star offensive tackles. Johnson has been the Eagles' starting right tackle since being drafted as No. 4 overall during the 2013 NFL Draft. FanSided notes that he also appears to be Philadelphia's left tackle of the future, having filled in that role efficiently for Jason Peters during several occasions in 2015. Furthermore, The Birds may use their fifth-year option on him, but a long-term deal would be in the best interest of both Johnson and the team.
In addition to Curry, Ertz and Johnson, the Eagles front office will also have to figure out what to do with quarterback Sam Bradford. ESPN's Jim Trotter had shed some light on the issue last week. He reported that Bradford's agent, Tom Condon, asked for $25 million a year.
However, the Eagles management was said to be unwilling to give in to the agent's request due to the 28-year-old quarterback's history of injuries. If Philadelphia decides to move on from Bradford, Philly.com predicts that he could land on either the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, or San Francisco 49ers.