Should we be comparing Eagles' 2022 offseason to the Dream Team? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
I keep hearing about the Dream Team.
I keep seeing the Eagles’ 2022 offseason acquisitions compared to the disastrous 2011 collection of big-money mismatched parts that Vince Young hilariously dubbed “The Dream Team” at Lehigh nearly 11 years ago.
As far as unfortunate Eagles quotes go, Young’s, “Awww, Dream Team!” is right up there with “For Who, for What” and “I had to pick out sconces.”
Who were the key figures on the Dream Team? Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown, Cullen Jenkins, Donald Lee, Steve Smith, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Evan Mathis.
Let’s talk about that group.
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Asomugha was coming off three straight Pro Bowls, but he was 30 and had lost a step. Or six.
Babin was 31 and changing teams for the fifth time in six years.
Brown was 30 and coming off the worst season of his career.
Jenkins was 30 and had played seven seasons in Green Bay without making a Pro Bowl.
Lee was 30 and his numbers had dropped for four straight years.
Smith was only 25 but out of four years with the Giants had only one good season.
DRC was also only 25 and coming off three very good seasons with the Cards, and the real value in that move was it enabled the Eagles to unload Kevin Kolb. And DRC actually wasn't bad his two years here.
And then there was the 31-year-old Mathis, who really wasn’t part of the Dream Team because he didn’t cost anything, and he hadn’t even been a full-time starter in five years. Of course he’s the one guy in the group who became a stud for the Eagles – an all-pro and a two-time Pro Bowler.
But really, just about all these guys came with a red flag. Either declining production, old and losing a step, no record of consistency over a number of years or already showing clear signs of their age before they got here.
Contrast that with this group.
A.J. Brown has been very productive and consistent all three of his NFL seasons. Haason Reddick has put together back-to-back double-digit sack seasons. Kyzir White has gotten better each year he’s been in the league. James Bradberry is one of only two corners in the NFL with at least 15 interceptions and 80 pass deflections over the last six years.
And Jordan Davis, Cam Jurgens and Nakobe Dean are promising rookies who are just getting started. Davis and Jurgens are 22, Dean is 21.
No comparison. None.
The Dream Team included six guys already in their 30s. The oldest guy in this group is Bradberry, who’s 28 and only signed for one year.
That 2011 collection of players had one other very important thing working against it.
Remember, there was no free agency in the spring of 2011. Players weren’t allowed to change teams during the lockout, and the Eagles’ signing spree didn’t start until July 28, when they acquired Rodgers-Cromartie. A day later they signed Asomugha, Babin, Lee and Young, and the next day they added Jenkins. Brown followed two days later and Smith a week after that.
None of those guys had OTAs or minicamps. None had a summer to learn the offense or defense and get to know their teammates and coaches. Heck, none even had a complete training camp, since camp began a few days before any of the moves.
Sign a bunch of aging, fading veterans, don’t give them an offseason, then start playing regular-season games 39 days after they arrive here? In retrospect, nobody should have been surprised it was a disaster.
Now, the likelihood is that not all of the Eagles’ 2022 offseason acquisitions will pan out.
Maybe one of the veterans will be a big-money disappointment. Maybe one of the draft picks won’t adjust to the NFL game. That’s just the reality of the NFL, and that’s the nature of building a team. You’re not going to hit on everybody. Nobody does.
But the process was sound. The logic behind each of these moves really seems to make sense. The red flags we saw 11 years ago just aren’t there this time around.
This is no Dream Team. It’s just a collection of good football players who should help make the Eagles a better team.