In Philadelphia, the grease police can put away their cans of Crisco. An upset win over NFL supervillain New England should put a charge into the Eagles as they head into the offseason, but having just experienced their first-ever Super Bowl win, the pressure to defend is on.
In Boston, the wounded Patriots know what they have to do. Re-kindle the magic that has delivered five championships in seven Super Bowl appearances since 2008. But is there any gas left in the tank for an aging Tom Brady?
Philadelphia: A Tale of Two QBs
Carson Wentz is staying in Philadelphia, let’s not kid anyone. The question is, will Nick Foles? With just one season remaining on his contract, the stand-in who wowed in a standoff with legendary Tom Brady is an asset coming off the bench, but he might be more valuable on the trade market.
Foles could be a hot prospect for teams like Arizona, where Carson Palmer will be sorely missed, and Denver, where ownership is seeking a way to turn around a team that has traditionally been a late-season contender. As coaches put the finishing touches on their 2018 training camp regimens, the presence of a new quarterback could provide a much-needed boost of energy. One of the most difficult things about winning the Super Bowl is showing up and giving 100% effort in the summer camps. Working out at an NFL level is tough, and their biggest challenge might be the Super Bowl hangover.
Luckily for the Eagles, the rest of their team is relatively young. They’ll be re-signing stars like Nigel Bradham and looking for dead wood to release so they can keep Wentz paid.
New England: What Now?
Last year, the Patriots won the Super Bowl, and Bill Belichick joked that he was behind on his plans for the offseason. This year, he’d better have some good plans.
The Pats have lost a defensive coordinator, and there are even rumors swirling that the legendary coach and his prodigy quarterback Tom Brady might both be handing in their proverbial badges for 2019. That is a rumor not likely to be true, but even with both figureheads staying, the Patriots’ secondary needs some serious attention following all-pro Malcolm Butler‘s trip to the bench in Super Bowl LII.
Expect to see New England re-sign one, probably both of their two running backs currently under contract, James White and Mike Gillislee. New free agents Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden will present the front office with some difficult decisions. Lewis averaged five yards per carry and played in 19 games this year.
Another elephant in the room is all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has not yet committed to returning in 2018. Oh yes, and there are the rumors of infighting between Brady, Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft. It’s an unusually dramatic offseason for the Patriots, though it probably comes as a treat to fans of every other team in the death-spiraling NFL.
The bigger picture for 2018 promises to bring plenty more drama and excitement, with no indication where Kirk Cousins could end up, how the catch rule will be resolved, whether Jon Gruden will have what it takes to re-invigorate the Raiders and if Jimmy G really is the avenging angel the 49ers want him to be. For now, it’s hockey season. Hold onto your seats, sports fans.