Howie Roseman's QB plan not flawless, but it gives Eagles a chance

PHILADELPHIA -- When ESPN Insider KC Joyner analyzed Philadelphia Eagles executive vice president Howie Roseman’s plan at quarterback, he raised good points and a couple of eyebrows.

Roseman spent a year in limbo after being pushed aside by former Eagles coach Chip Kelly. During that time, Roseman traveled around, talking to successful sports executives and getting insight into how to build a winning team.

One of Roseman’s main takeaways: The quarterback position is really important. That raises an eyebrow because, frankly, Roseman could have saved a lot of time and travel expense by getting that information from anyone on the street.

Quarterbacks are obviously pretty important.

But, as Joyner outlines in his column, Roseman’s plan has more depth than that. It is based partly on the state of the NFL in 2016. A large number of the top quarterbacks in the league, the ones who give their teams legitimate opportunities to win a championship, are nearing the end of their careers.

Of the 35 quarterbacks who threw enough passes in 2015 to qualify for the NFL passer rating, Joyner writes, 11 are 33 or older. Peyton Manning just retired. Tom Brady (38), Drew Brees (37), Carson Palmer (36), Tony Romo (36) and Eli Manning (35) all are getting up there.

So Roseman figured it made sense to load up at a position that is going to be hard to fill in the next five years or so. That goes a long way toward explaining the trades that landed Carson Wentz and the big contracts the Eagles gave to Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel.

The Eagles would seem to be in better long-term shape than their NFC East rivals, for example. Dallas has the 36-year-old Romo, Kellen Moore and fourth-round draft pick Dak Prescott. Washington has Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfeld. The Giants have Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib and B.J. Daniels.

So it sounds smart, loading up on quarterbacks at a time when they appear to be on the verge of being endangered.

But are they, really? Yes, the number of quality QBs over age 33 is pretty high. Add Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers to that earlier list. Aaron Rodgers is 32.

But then look at the quarterbacks who are 28 or under. Their ranks include Cam Newton and Russell Wilson (both 27), Ryan Tannehill, Colin Kaepernick and Matthew Stafford (all 28), Derek Carr (23), Blake Bortles (24), Brock Osweiler (25) and 26-year-olds Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. If you scoff at Griffin’s name because he seems like a disappointing high draft pick, you at least have to acknowledge that the same could be said of Bradford.

Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, last year’s top two draft picks, are both 22. They are younger than Wentz.

And then there is the crop of quarterbacks that entered the league this year. The Eagles landed Wentz, but no one knows how his career will compare to those of Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, Connor Cook, Christian Hackenberg and Prescott.

Loading up on quarterbacks makes sense, but it will work only if at least one of the three QBs is truly special. It’s true that a bunch of accomplished, proven quarterbacks are nearing the end of their careers, but it’s also true that a similar number of promising young stars are coming up right behind them.

A few will rise to the level of Brady and Brees. The Eagles are at least in the mix to have one of them.