The Washington Redskins have added an infusion of youth to their roster. These changes come from free agent signings, trades and the 2011 NFL Draft. This mentality is completely opposite than that of the previous decade, where over-paid veterans were considered the norm at Redskins Park. This infusion of youth(or re-building as some call it), has set a new precedence in year two of the Shanahan era. Although the Redskins are not considered ready to compete for the playoffs in 2011, they just may be doing what is best for the long-term future of the organization.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is division foe Andy Reid, and his Philadelphia Eagles. Unlike the Redskins, the Eagles have chosen to stay away from high-priced free agents, and instead have concentrated on building from the draft, and developing, and promoting players from within the organization. The Eagles have had success in the win-loss column, but that success has not brought the city of brotherly love it first Lombardi trophy. The Eagles are hoping to change that in 2011, with a new philosophy that has seen the team reach outside its normal boundaries, and attack the free agent market for high-priced, talented vets. Could this be the Eagles final attempt of the Andy Reid era, to get that elusive Lombardi Trophy? If Reid can't take this team to the promised land, with this type of talent, he never will.
In other words, are the Eagles trying to buy their first championship?
The Redskins have recently cut ties with Veterans Donovan McNabb(34), Clinton Portis(29), Casey Rabach(will be 34), Derrick Dockery(will be 31), Mike Williams(31), Joey Galloway(39), Roydell Williams(30), Albert Haynesworth(30), Maake Kemoeatu(32), Andre Carter(32), Philip Daniels(38), Vonnie Holliday(35), and will potentially part ways with free agent starters Carlos Rogers(30), and Rocky McIntosh(28).
They have replaced these players with potential starters John Beck(30), Ryan Torain(will be 25), Roy Helu(22), Tim Hightower(25), Will Montgomery(28), Chris Chester(28), Kory Lichtensteiger(26), Leonard Hankerson(22), Jabar Gaffney(30), Bary Cofield(27), Stephen Bowen(27), Jarvis Jenkins(23), Ryan Kerrigan(will be 23), Josh Wilson(26), and Perry Riley(23), all of whom were either promoted from the current roster, or aquired in the draft, free agency, or via trade.
Looking at the starting roster from 2010 to 2011, if the Redskins would have gone into the 2011 season with the same starting roster as 2010(with minimal changes), the average age would have been 30. The offense would have averaged 31 years of age(yeah, Joey Galloway reall skewed this one), while the defense would have averaged 29. The projected starting roster(and I know this is still early) for 2011 averages 27 years old. Both the offense and defense drops from 31 and 29, to 27 and 27 respectively.
Now the Eagles didn't go drastic like Redskins teams of the past, adding and over-paying for guys well into their 30's. They did however add veterans like Asomugha(30), Babin(31), Jenkins(30), Mathis(30), and 27 year old rookie Danny Watkins to be potential starters. Kolb was also the starter going into the 2010 season(even though Vick saw the most action, and made himself the unquestioned starter by mid-season), so you can add the departure of the 27 year old to Arizona, and the new starter, Mike Vick(31), to this list also.
How will this infusion of youth transulate to the football field? Well if the Eagles are the team we look to model our franchise after, I would count on a return to the playoffs within 2 years, and once we get there, with good coaching, and smart front office moves, maybe we can stay atop the division for a decade.
As for the Eagles, will they fall victim to the glitter and glam that comes with the acqusitions of big name players, and take on the mentality that has doomed the Redskins franchise for over a decade, or will the clubs past patience and caution be enough to compensate for a little over-spending?