Up Against Cap, Howie Roseman ‘comfortable' With Eagles Going Young at Corner

The Eagles addressed their need at wide receiver by signing veterans Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

While the moves will make the offense better and aid Carson Wentz in his development, it still leaves holes on the roster -- the most obvious one at cornerback.

The Eagles saw the top of the free-agent corner crop dry up while no serious interest from them was reported. They were linked briefly to former Texans corner A.J. Bouye, who wound up getting a large payday from the Jaguars. Stephon Gilmore left Buffalo for New England, and Logan Ryan went from the Patriots to the Titans, without so much as a rumor that the Eagles were involved.

As de facto GM Howie Roseman alluded to, the team's cap situation is challenging.

"I think from our perspective, we're gonna have to look at things as they come through," Roseman said at his press conference Friday. "Obviously as the draft comes, a few things kind of change. We're going through all that now. 

"Again, I think that as we look past this moment, we're gonna be OK. But it is a unique situation we've had."

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So what do the Eagles do? There are certainly other moves to be made. Mychal Kendricks is still here ... for now. Ryan Mathews' money should come off the books once he's able to pass a physical. Roseman claims starting center Jason Kelce is safe, but we'll see.

Even if Kendricks, Mathews and Kelce are all moved, the signings of Jeffery, Smith and guard Chance Warmack will take up a significant portion of the leftover cap space. 

There also needs to be space for the team's incoming draft class -- a draft class that will be under serious pressure immediately. Jalen Mills appears to be destined for the slot. That leaves the Eagles with no outside corners with NFL experience on the roster.

But that's OK. Roseman recalled the 2004 Super Bowl squad, which featured Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown at corner. Both were drafted in 2002. Roseman's thinking is that if you draft the right players, you should be able to rely on them early on. 

"I think we look back to 2004, certainly not comparing this team to that Super Bowl team, but we went into that year with Lito and Sheldon, [who] hadn't started," Roseman said. "There were some of those same questions. We would be comfortable if that's how it turned out. 

"Again, we've got a long period of time before we play a game, before we report to training camp. We're going to look at every option to try and improve this team, but certainly, we'd be comfortable if that's how it shook out."

When Sheppard and Brown were drafted, the Eagles had Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor in front of them. Sheppard and Brown were in their third year before they were asked to take over as full-time starters. That won't be the case for the corners the Eagles draft this year; they'll be thrown into the fire immediately.

"You don't want to go into a draft having to have something, but by the same token, what we said last week is true," Roseman said. "We're trying to minimize risk and make smart decisions, and if a contract gets out of hand and we set a number and price going forward, we're gonna walk away."

A big part of Roseman's comfort has to do with the depth at cornerback in the draft. There could be as many as seven corners taken in Round 1. With the Eagles holding pick No. 14, there's a strong chance a highly-regarded prospect could be there.

Still, when looking at the corner market and the corner draft class, Roseman was not interested in repeating the mistakes of the past.

"Obviously people have expectations when the market opens, but we have to be uncomfortable with some things here," Roseman said. "We're not going to address everything right now, and if there's a particular position that we don't address right now, that doesn't preclude us from doing something before the season starts and certainly not in the draft."

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