The Eagles rewarded coach Doug Pederson and top executive Howie Roseman with contract extensions through 2022 on Sunday, keeping the team's brain trust in place for at least five more years.
Pederson and Roseman inherited a 7-9 team two years ago and helped turn it into a Super Bowl champion in February. The new contracts solidify the team's long-term leadership structure and keep the coach and executive aligned with each other.
"Two very, very impressive leaders who collaborate and are a big part of the success of this franchise," owner Jeffrey Lurie said before Sunday's practice at Lincoln Financial Field. "They're both aggressive. They're both risk-takers. It's part of our culture. We never want to lose that. And they're also smart. They have an ability to relate well when it comes time to dealing with people, whether it's players, other coaches, other personnel; just a terrific way of relating. It's something special."
Lurie's big emphasis Sunday night was "collaboration." After two decades with different combinations and distributions of power, the owner believes he has found the right duo with Pederson and Roseman.
Pederson coaches the team. Roseman has final say on the roster. They work together, but they also understand their own roles. Lurie said "there's no chance" of a power struggle — the Eagles have had that problem in the past — and they're "seamless" and "egoless." Time and success can disrupt plans, but the early returns have been positive.
Lurie thought it was an important time to extend their contracts, but said there was nothing significant about doing it before the season. He was encouraged by the way Pederson and Roseman responded to the Super Bowl. From the Eagles' staff meetings on the morning of the Super Bowl parade, Lurie said they acted as if the team went 7-9 or 8-8 last season and were determined to improve.
"The culture of the coaching staff and the football operations staff was, 'This was really great, let's dig in. It's now day one. We're 0-0,'" Lurie said.
The approval ratings for Pederson and Roseman have transformed during the last 24 months. Pederson, 50, was an unheralded hire in 2016. He went 7-9 in his first season and his decision-making did not engender much confidence from the fans. In his second season, Pederson proved to be one of the NFL's best coaches — with creative play-calling, aggressive decisions, and deft player management all apparent during the Super Bowl run. The team had previously exercised a fifth-year option in his contract, and the new deal adds two more years.
Roseman, 43, had uneven results in his first stint as general manager. He was stripped of responsibilities in personnel decisions in 2015 even though he was given the "executive vice president of football operations" title, and he spent the gap year studying leadership and management from other executives in sports and business. After Chip Kelly's dismissal, Lurie put Roseman back in charge of the roster. Roseman put the trade package together to acquire Carson Wentz and built one of the NFL's deepest rosters, using the draft, free agency, and trades more effectively than during his first stint and sometimes more creatively than other NFL teams.
"It was just pretty clear with Howie that when he was put back into a position of being a decision maker, he had really studied the leaders in sports and outside of sports on how they lead," Lurie said."I've got to give him a lot of credit. He took so much from that, and day one a few years ago has been a terrific leader in addition to being what I always knew as really bright, really innovative, aggressive, and a calculated risk taker."
Both Pederson and Roseman are buoyed by strong staffs. Pederson needed to change his offensive coaches this year after Frank Reich and John DeFilippo earned bigger jobs elsewhere, and there will be more defections with more success.
The Eagles hired Joe Douglas as vice president of player personnel in 2016. Douglas is in charge of the scouting staff, setting the draft board, and evaluating free agents. But Douglas does not have final say on the roster, so he could be a candidate to leave in the coming years. Lurie would not comment on Douglas' contract status on Sunday night.
Of course, staff changes are the byproduct of success. Lurie also acknowledged that the Eagles will lose key players. He said Pederson and Roseman are trying to "maximize the position we're in for the short term" while also keeping the team's long-term outlook in mind. A big part of that is the Pederson-Roseman partnership. The contract extensions on Sunday ensured that Lurie has his coach and executive entrenched in their jobs and aligned with each other.
"I've often said, 'It takes a village to win a championship,' and we want that village to be maintained in its leadership, its continuity and its innovativeness," Lurie said. "That's kind of where we're at today."