How an eye on the future gives Eagles GM Howie Roseman a huge advantage

How an eye on the future gives Eagles GM Howie Roseman a huge advantage originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The more you listen to Howie Roseman, the more you realize how three-dimensional his thinking is.

Everything he’s done this offseason has been done with an eye not only on this coming season but with 2025, 2026 and beyond in mind. He’s not just trying to make this year’s Eagles team better. He’s trying to make them all better.

Roseman is a magician on draft weekend, and his command of pick value both in the present and the future and his ability to quickly juggle those picks to gain value is remarkable. The more picks you have, the more chances you have to land good players. And Roseman uses the draft to generate future assets better than anybody in football.

The Eagles began the weekend with eight picks, averaging No. 119, and finished with nine picks, averaging No. 126. Which is impressive to begin with. Then he conjured 3rd-, 4th– and 5th-round picks in 2025 out of thin air.

Roseman is always playing the long game.

“We were a little light for next year’s draft going into day three … and so I think that was a little bit of a focus in the trade talks,” Roseman said Saturday night.

“Sometimes you’re in trade talks and kind of going, ‘Hey, I’ll take a pick in this year’s draft.’ So in those talks more focused today in particular about instead of a this-year pick, we’ll take a next-year pick just because we wanted to get back some of the picks that we had gotten rid of next year.”

But Roseman’s long-range thinking goes beyond just creating future picks where none existed before. Roseman and his staff have a mastery of what positions will be strong in next year’s draft, what positions are likely to be deep in free agency next spring, what the smartest way to build in future offseasons will likely be. Which directly affects what moves he makes now.

It’s all tied together. Today, tomorrow, next year.

He stocked up this offseason on minimum-wage younger veterans to fill out the roster – futures players, practice squad pickups, street free agents with decent preseason tape – understanding that this year’s crop of undrafted rookies wasn’t going to be very deep.

And even the way he structures contracts is done with a long-range plan in mind. The big cap numbers come at the end of the deal, when the salary cap is going to be significantly higher than it is now.

I’m sure every team looks ahead. But I don’t think anybody does it as comprehensively, as thoroughly, as creatively as the Eagles.

Roseman has the luxury of making roster moves that benefit the team in the big picture because he doesn’t have to worry about his job. He only has to concern himself with what makes sense for the long-term benefit of the team.

There aren’t many untouchable general managers in the NFL. Sixteen of 32 teams – have the league – have changed GMs just since 2020. Only three have had the job longer than Roseman.

So with a lot of teams, decisions are made for what’s best for right now because those GMs know if they don’t win 10 or 11 games and make the playoffs this year they might not be around next year. But that’s not conducive to long-term success.

You need a plan. Howie’s got a plan.

Roseman credited owner Jeff Lurie for creating a culture that gives him the room to make decisions for today and beyond.

“I think Jeffrey sets a tone for everything we do, and he is never going to only think about the short term,” Roseman said Saturday night. “He is totally focused on trying to win championships, but he is also thinking about how we’re going to look next year and the year after, and I feel like that’s my job, too. That’s my responsibility.

“I think I’ve got a partner here (Nick Sirianni) … he’s always looking out for what’s best for the team. I’ve been very fortunate to work with him and know that he is not sitting there saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to do this for next year?’ And he is going, ‘Man, this sounds great.’

“So you have the three of us like-minded about trying to balance everything we can to win a championship now and also trying to keep this rolling so that we can do that in the future.”

It hasn’t always been pretty and the Eagles have had their share of disappointment. The second half of last year among them.

But they’ve had nine winning seasons in Roseman’s 13 years as GM and they’ve never had back-to-back losing seasons. And since he was reinstated in 2016, their .604 winning percentage is 2nd-best in the NFC.

There was a Super Bowl win and five years later another Super Bowl trip with a very different roster.

There are some other terrific general managers in the NFL, including former Roseman assistants Jason Licht in Tampa and Brett Veach in Kansas City.

But you watch the draft and scrutinize Roseman’s offseason moves and examine his roster building, and you can’t help but think he’s playing the game very differently than most GMs.

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