Eagles home shopping spree setting tone for future of franchise

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The Eagles started their offseason by focusing on the things that were better left untouched. They started their in-house planning for the future and building around a new coach with new deals for Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Lane Johnson and now Vinny Curry.

Talks are in progress with Fletcher Cox as well.

For all of those, except Celek, more on the downswing of his career, this was a critical year for offseason deals. Rookie contracts are starting to run out. New deals must be put in place if Cox or Ertz are to become franchise players.

The Eagles are strategically trying to balance the finances of it all while ensuring they keep the talent they would like to lock up.

That's how these deals got done ultimately. They benefit the team earlier and the player later if all works out.

Here's why that's so important. The team favored to win the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Carolina Panthers, built through the Draft.

Look across the roster of the Panthers: Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Josh Norman, Kawann Short, Jonathan Stewart — they were all draft picks.

Once the Eagles finalize a deal with Cox, that will be five Eagles who were drafted by the team signed to long-term deals. The Eagles also have players like Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Hicks, Eric Rowe and Brandon Graham who were all draft picks of the team. They will add more this season with the 2016 NFL Draft.

23 of the Panthers 53 players on the roster were draft picks, ranging from 2005 to 2015. Another 32 were signed as free agents, whether through offseason moves between teams or undrafted free agents. Five players were acquired through trade, waivers or off the team's practice squad.

The Eagles are now trying to build a team without a timetable for hiring a player personnel head, leaving Howie Roseman to handle most of the bulk. If there's one thing Roseman does well, it's manage the cap and construct deals for homegrown talent. So clearly, this is his territory.

The concern comes as the Eagles prepare for the Draft itself. Two ghosts of Drafts past for the Eagles are Danny Watkins and Marcus Smith, two selections made with Roseman in charge. So as the Draft approaches, there is reason to doubt.

But there is no doubt here. The Eagles have recognized the talent they already possess — Ertz and Johnson on the offensive side, Curry and Cox on the defensive side — and are doing what they need to make them long-time Eagles in the near future.

What this also suggests is how the Eagles will choose to build the other portions of the roster through the Draft. The two positions that hold the most weight for the Eagles are quarterback and offensive line. 

There are many questions for a team that a season ago was supposed to have much higher expectations. But much like the other teams in Philadelphia, the building has to start somewhere. For the Eagles, it's retaining what is working already so that there are fewer questions left to answer.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso

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