Do the Eagles Need to Get Younger? An Investigation…

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Eagles need to get younger?

I’ve seen this topic floating around on social media, which I think is just a byproduct of the Eagles bringing back 32 year old DeSean Jackson and 37 year old Jason Peters for the 2019 season and perhaps beyond.

Tack on the extensions for 31 year old Jason Kelce, 30 year old Brandon Graham, and the one-year deal for 31 year old Andrew Sendejo, and the intensity of that “narrative” amplifies.

Is Howie Roseman putting too much trust in guys who are getting up there in age?

My gut tells me no, I don’t think so, since the Super Bowl winning team got contributions from 32 year old Chris Long, 31 year old LeGarrette Blount, and 30 year old Malcolm Jenkins.

But I thought it might be a good idea to go down the list and see who exactly Howie is targeting, then determine if we can draw any conclusions. I cobbled together free agents, trades, and players who were extended while still under contract (like Isaac Seumalo, but not Rodney McLeod, since he didn’t get additional years, just a re-work.) I did not include fringe guys who bounced to and from the practice squad, or who never had much of a chance to make the roster in the first place.

I also didn’t include the draft, or undrafted free agent rookies, because obviously all of those former college players are bringing up your bottom end age number. You’re naturally getting younger through the draft, which adds balance to your free agent pursuits and probably justifies the targeting of affordable veterans on shorter deals, which has been the Eagles’ strategy for some time now.

This exercise identifies the player, his age, and how they were acquired:

2019 free agents, extensions, trades

  • (T) Jason Peters: 37 (one-year re-negotiation)
  • (WR) DeSean Jackson: 32 (three-year deal)
  • (G) Isaac Seumalo: 25 (extended before hitting final year of rookie contract)
  • (CB) Ronald Darby: 25 (one-year deal)
  • (C) Jason Kelce: 31 (three-year extension)
  • (DE) Brandon Graham: 30 (three-year extension)
  • (LB/ST) L.J. Fort: 29 (three-year deal)
  • (S) Andrew Sendejo: 31 (one-year deal)
  • (DT) Malik Jackson: 29 (three-year deal)
  • (K) Jake Elliott: 24 (one-year deal)
  • (LS) Rick Lovato: 26 (one-year deal)
  • (LB) Paul Worrilow: 28 (one-year deal)

That’s where we’re at right now. Peters is back for another year, DeSean returns on a three-year deal, and you’ve got the extensions for Kelce, Graham, and Seumalo. Malik Jackson replaces Haloti Ngata and/or Tim Jernigan on the defensive line and you’ve got Darby and Worrilow back on one-year deals as they come off of injury.

Elliott and Lovato are specialist no-brainer signings, so I wouldn’t even really count them into this exercise. For our purposes, let’s go with with offensive players, defensive players, and other special teamers.

Average age of extended/traded for/free agent players thus far (no Elliott or Lovato):

29.7 years.

That seems high, but there will be more additions. Right now, this list includes five guys who are age 30 or older.

2018 free agents, extensions, trades

  • (LB) Nigel Bradham: 29 (signed five-year contract extension)
  • (S) Corey Graham: 33 (returned on one-year deal)
  • (RB) Darren Sproles: 35 (returned on one-year deal)
  • (LB) *Corey Nelson: 25 (signed one-year deal, released before season)
  • (DT) Haloti Ngata: 34 (one-year deal)
  • (WR) Mike Wallace: 32 (one-year deal)
  • (LB) Paul Worrilow: 27 (one-year deal)
  • (TE) Richard Rodgers: 26 (one-year deal)
  • (WR) Markus Wheaton: 27 (one-year deal)
  • (CB) Cre’Von LeBlanc: 24 (claimed off waivers)
  • (TE) Josh Perkins 24 (two-year deal)
  • (QB) *Joe Callahan: 24 (two-year deal)
  • (RB) *Matt Jones: 25 (two-year deal)
  • (LB) LaRoy Reynolds: 27 (one-year deal)
  • (WR) DeAndre Carter: 25 (one-year deal)
  • (WR) Kamar Aiken: 29 (one-year deal)
  • (QB) *Christian Hackenberg: 23 (one-year deal)
  • (DE/DT) Michael Bennett: 32 (Seattle trade)
  • (CB) *Daryl Worley: 23 (Carolina trade)
  • (WR) Golden Tate: 30 (Detroit trade)
  • (WR) Jordan Matthews: 26 (one-year free agent deal)

I put asterisks next to some of the more notable players who did not make the 53-man roster. Of those guys, Worley and Nelson were the only two that were expected to be on the squad, and maybe Jones as well. Nelson disappointed in training camp and Worley had the legal troubles. They were 25 and 23 years old, respectively.

You see a slew of one-year deals on here though, so even though the Eagles brought in a lot of guys who were in their late twenties and early thirties, none were given contracts that would constrict the salary cap moving forward. Bradham’s contract, which was justified, takes him to age 34. Tate was a free agent on an expiring contract and the Eagles ended up swinging Bennett to New England. Corey Graham returned on a one-year deal to add secondary depth and is now a free agent.

Average age of extended/traded for/free agent players:

27.6, if you include LeBlanc as a free agent, who was claimed off waivers and became a starter in the secondary.

That’s not bad at all.

Average age of Eagles’ final 53-man roster, plus IR list:

26.4 years

The oldest players on the 2018 roster were Peters, Sproles, Ngata, and Bennett, while the youngest was Josh Sweat, at age 21. The Birds had five 22 year olds in Avonte Maddox, Chandon Sullivan, Sidney Jones, Derek Barnett, and Josh Adams.

2017 free agents, extensions, trades

  • (QB) Nick Foles: 28 (two-year deal)
  • (CB) Patrick Robinson: 29 (one-year deal)
  • (WR) Alshon Jeffery: 27 (one-year deal, later extended)
  • (DE) Chris Long: 32 (two-year deal)
  • (RB) LeGarrette Blount: 31 (one-year deal)
  • (T) Jason Peters: 35 (one-year contract extension)
  • (CB) Dexter McDougle: 26 (Jets trade)
  • (G) Stefen Wisniewski: 28 (three-year deal)
  • (WR) Torrey Smith: 28 (three-year deal)
  • (RB/KR) Kenjon Barner: 27 (one-year deal)
  • (LB/ST) Bryan Braman: 30 (one-year deal)
  • (TE) Trey Burton: 26 (one-year RFA tender)
  • (LB) Najee Goode: 28 (RFA, one-year deal)
  • (CB) Jaylen Watkins: 25 (RFA, one-year deal)
  • (G) Chance Warmack: 26 (one-year deal)
  • (QB) *Matt McGloin: 27 (one-year deal)
  • (DT) Tim Jernigan: 25 (Baltimore draft day trade)
  • (CB) Ronald Darby: 23 (Jordan Matthews/Buffalo trade)
  • (RB) Jay Ajayi: 24 (Dolphins trade)

They got three Super Bowl contributors age 25 and younger via trade, two which were made before the season and one in the middle of the season. Alshon came in on a one-year “prove it” deal and was later extended. Torrey Smith and Stef Wisniewski got three-year deals that would have carried them to age 31.

Otherwise, the pattern was the same – short deals for free agent veterans, three or four trades, and then a smattering of smaller transactions.

Average age of extended/traded for/free agent players:

27.6 – the exact same average number of the players they targeted in this fashion in 2018.

Average age of Eagles’ final 53-man roster, plus IR list:

26.6 years, just 0.2 different from the Eagles’ 2018 roster.

The oldest players on the roster again were Peters, Sproles, 37 year old Donnie Jones in his final year, and 32 year old Will Beatty, who didn’t play a single snap. The youngest rostered players were Sidney Jones and Derek Barnett at age 21.


If you go through the Eagles roster as it stands right now, Peters, Jaccson, Sendejo, and Kelce are four of the five oldest guys on the squad. If Chris Long returns, he’s the 5th. Beyond them, it’s Malcolm Jenkins, Brandon Graham, and Alshon Jeffery.

It’s a little on the high end, but the Eagles are not an NFL outlier. Jimmy Kempski over at Philly Voice looks into the average age of each roster at the beginning of the season, when the 53-man cutdown takes place, and the Eagles actually had the 11th youngest squad in 2018, an average age of 25.7 when the season began. That spiked by 0.7 as roster moves were made throughout the year.

In 2017, the Eagles averaged 26.4 at the 53-man cutdown, which was 23rd in the league, so a big difference there, but also predicated on the moves made by other teams. They also won the Super Bowl, so yeah.

It should also be noted that the #1 youngest team in the NFL last year was the Browns, at 25.2, while the #32 team was the Raiders, at 27.4. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference between ceiling and floor, and it’s not, but as Jimmy explains in his story, that’s an average gap of 2 years for each of the 53 players, which extrapolates to more than 100 combined years of experience that you’re missing out on, shared throughout the entirety of the team. Something to think about there.

The Eagles have seven draft picks this year, which should result in 5-7 young players, depending on how they want to use those assets. Last year, they only drafted five players, compared to eight in the previous year. This will help swing the age balance down to that average of 26, where they’ve been for the last few seasons.

In conclusion, yeah, it does seem like the Eagles are targeting some older guys this offseason, but the pendulum will swing them back towards where they typically are in the age department.

(If I missed any roster moves, let me know and I’ll add them in)


14 Responses

  1. Didn’t read a word of this, but let me take a guess on Crossing Broad’s take: . “No. Everything is perfect in Eagledom. Howie Roseman is the greatest front-office executive ever and Carson Wentz is the greatest QB in NFL history.”

    Never a critical word to be found of the Eagles round here.

  2. Great, but can you re-run all of this based on the median.

    Thaaanks. And this is not in-depth analysis, a 6th grader could come to this conclusion.

      1. Got ’em. Kev treated him like Carlos Santana treats a tv with Fortnite on it.

  3. Based on average ages of players on each team…. the Eagles rank 5th youngest in the NFL.

    Just saying.

  4. Now this is what I call Food For Thought! Thanks for this informative post and have a great afternoon!

    – Kate

    1. I may wanna get in on it. Sean Devlin, her more pessimistic brother?

  5. My source with the team tells me that the Eagles plan on bringing in CB Isiah Swann out of Dartmouth. He is 6’2” 195lb. 4.4 / 40. He had 10 ints last season. Swann is not on many draft boards, Howie hopes to get him as an undrafted free agent.

  6. I appreciate the effort, but they old……and they picked the wrong QB.

  7. Carson Wentz’s Gimpy Whatever and So Friggin’ What Taguchi should find a playground and go yell at some kids. Jesus these guys are the most bitter losers on this board.

    1. Hahahaha. You showed them dorks.

      I have a feeling after that verbal drubbing they won’t dare show their faces around here anymore.

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