How an NFL overhaul can work: 10 moves that made the Eagles contenders

Howie Roseman inherited a mess.

When the Philadelphia Eagles vice president of football operations was placed back in charge of personnel in 2016, a year after Chip Kelly's power play pushed him out, Roseman was tasked with revitalizing a roster that had been stripped down and disjointedly pieced back together. Gone were LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin (and DeSean Jackson before them).

In their place were high-priced misfits such as DeMarco Murray and cornerback Byron Maxwell. With Sam Bradford set to become a free agent, they didn't have a quarterback under contract.

"It was a challenging situation," Roseman said at the close of the '16 season, "and it starts with the quarterback position."

His ability to maneuver from the 13th to the second pick in the 2016 NFL draft and solve the QB problem by selecting Carson Wentz was the catalyst for the Eagles' rapid turnaround, as they soared to a 13-3 record and a No. 1 seed in the playoffs after a pair of 7-9 seasons behind the MVP-level play of their signal-caller.

But the significant work didn't stop there. Of the 64 players on the Eagles' current roster, only 22 are holdovers from '15. That's a 66 percent turnover rate. Along with vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas, Roseman has orchestrated a massive overhaul that has Philly well-positioned to be long-term contenders.

"The last couple years, [he has made] remarkable franchise-changing decisions," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said at the beginning of the season.

Here are the top 10 moves that led the way:

1. The Wentz trade (March/April 2016)

They first acquired the eighth overall pick from Miami in exchange for LB Kiko Alonso, Maxwell and the 13th overall pick in 2016. Now in striking distance, Roseman sent the No. 8 overall pick, a third- and fourth-rounder in '16, first-rounder in '17 and a second-rounder in '18 for the No. 2 overall pick and a fourth-rounder in '17 from the Cleveland Browns. Wentz has made them look really smart ever since.

2. The Bradford deal (September '16)

With their quarterback of the future in the fold, they traded Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings following the Teddy Bridgewater injury for a first-round pick in 2017 and a fourth-round pick in 2018. They used that first-rounder on DE Derek Barnett, who was a regular part of the defensive line rotation and finished the season with five sacks, 32 QB hits/pressures and nine tackles for loss.

3. Signed WR Alshon Jeffery (March 2017)

The Eagles desperately needed to upgrade their receivers and ended up signing the biggest free-agent fish to a one-year, incentive-laden deal. Jeffery (57 catches, 789 yards, nine TDs) proved to be a locker room fit, and was recently signed to a four-year, $52 million extension.

4. Signed G Brandon Brooks to a five-year, $40 million contract (March '16)

A primary objective was to build along the offensive and defensive lines. Brooks has arguably been the team's most consistent lineman over the past two years. He was named to his first Pro Bowl this season.

5. Swapped third-round picks with Baltimore in exchange for DT Tim Jernigan (April '17)

Jernigan (2.5 sacks, 18 QB hits/pressures, nine tackles for loss) proved to be the ideal pairing along the interior with Fletcher Cox. The Eagles have been so pleased that they locked up Jernigan with an extension that runs through 2021 and includes $26 million fully guaranteed.

6. Agreed to terms with S Rodney McLeod (March '16)

McLeod (three interceptions, 78 tackles) has been a steady dance partner for Malcolm Jenkins since coming over on a five-year, $35 million deal.

7. Signed LB Nigel Bradham to a two-year, $7 million contract (March '16)

Talk about value. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz coached Bradham when he was the DC in Buffalo in 2014, and Bradham was looked at as a midlevel linebacker who, if nothing else, knew the system. He has turned into an integral part of the operation, racking up close to 200 tackles over the past two seasons.

8. Acquired RB Jay Ajayi from Miami in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round pick (October '17)

The 24-year-old Ajayi has averaged 6 yards per carry since coming over at the trade deadline, and could very well be the team's workhorse back in the playoffs. The offseason signing of veteran LeGarrette Blount (766 yards, two TDs) paid dividends as well.

9. Agreed to terms on a two-year deal with DE Chris Long (March '17)

The 32-year-old Long was correctly identified as an ideal culture fit and has had some monster moments this season. He forced a team-high four fumbles to go with five sacks and 38 QB pressures/hits.

10. Signed CB Patrick Robinson to a one-year, $775,000 deal (March '17)

The Robinson signing received little attention at the time and looked like a potential mistake this summer, as the eight-year vet struggled noticeably during training camp. He found a home as a slot corner, though, and turned into one of the major surprises of the season. His four interceptions and 18 passes defensed led the team.