Party's over: Eagles get back to work with roster primed for title defense
Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport / Getty

At 12:01 a.m. on June 15, the Eagles ceased to be Super Bowl champions.

Nothing can take away Nick Foles outdueling Tom Brady and Brandon Graham's heroic strip sack in the fourth quarter that sealed the franchise's first Super Bowl title. But the message coach Doug Pederson delivered to his team this spring after the completion of minicamps is that the 2018 season began the morning after the team received its championship rings during a private party on June 14.

"Honestly, after the ring ceremony, to me, we've put that to bed," Pederson told reporters in his press conference before the team's final minicamp practice, according to 247Sports. "We've put that to rest, and we move on to 2018."

It's not easy to take one of the city's most historic accomplishments and stow it on the shelf to collect dust.

After so many close calls in the Andy Reid era, including three NFC Championship losses and a Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, diehards in the greater Philadelphia region - many in their 30s or 40s - had sworn they'd be six feet under before the Eagles finally had a reason to build a trophy case.

Foles is still on the celebrity tour, promoting his new book that chronicles how he went from backup quarterback pondering retirement to stepping in for injured MVP candidate Carson Wentz and becoming not just a Super Bowl champion, but also the game's MVP.

Pederson has been the featured speaker at several events throughout the late winter and spring. Running back Corey Clement, a native of nearby South Jersey who made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent and led all receivers with 100 yards, is still basking in the glory.

Speaking engagements, autograph signings, TV and radio interviews - the Eagles remain the toast of the town with training camp just around the corner, which is why Pederson reminded his squad that the reset button gets pressed immediately after the ring ceremony.

Aaron Rodgers is back as the Packers' quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott isn't suspended. Eli Manning has Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley in his huddle. The Los Angeles Rams have three Pro Bowl additions on defense. The Atlanta Falcons, who nearly upset the Eagles at the Linc in the NFC Divisional round, are coming back for the 2018 opener.

"We always are going to remember (the Super Bowl)," Pederson added at his press conference. "It's going to be every time we're in the city - I was at two events yesterday and the city's on fire. It's great. I love it. Fans are excited, and they should be. But for us, we've got to focus on 2018 and get ready for training camp. When we come back July 25, two weeks we're playing a football game. So that's our focus."

Pederson's message followed the front office's retention of all but three starters from last year's team, an almost impossible accomplishment in the salary-cap era resulting from its elite quarterback still playing on his rookie deal.

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Wentz, on track to start the opener despite tearing two knee ligaments in a mid-December game, was recently voted the league's third-best player on NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2018."

His $7.2-million cap hit allowed the Eagles to bring back 19 of 22 starters from 2017 and helped them enter 2018 with a more talented roster than last year's.

Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman traded receiver Torrey Smith, released defensive end Vinny Curry, and let slot cornerback Patrick Robinson walk to the New Orleans Saints in free agency. Also gone are some valuable backups on defense, including linebacker Mychal Kendricks and defensive tackle Beau Allen.

But Roseman traded with Seattle for Pro Bowl defensive lineman Michael Bennett and signed veteran receiver Mike Wallace and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata - who have nine combined Pro Bowl appearances - to compensate for the losses.

The Eagles also welcomed back several pieces of their nucleus who were injured when the team upset the Patriots in the Super Bowl, including Wentz, future Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters, playmaking middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, and Pro Bowl running back/return specialist Darren Sproles.

Also, second-year cornerback Sidney Jones - who missed all but one game last season as he came back from a ruptured Achilles at his pro day that dropped him from top-15 prospect to second-round pick - is expected to compete for a starting spot.

Essentially, the net gains of the offseason make the Eagles one of the best candidates to repeat as Super Bowl champs of any team in the past 15 years not named the New England Patriots.

Most Super Bowl champs who haven't had Brady and Bill Belichick were paying top dollar for their quarterback and therefore lost a sizable chunk of their roster to free agency.

For the time being, Wentz's salary is under control and the Eagles should once again be one of the NFL's deepest, most balanced teams - poised to make another deep postseason run.

Geoff Mosher is an award-winning sports reporter, radio host, and TV personality with more than 20 years of experience covering all major sports and leagues. He also hosts regularly on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia and co-hosts "The Sports Shop" on Facebook.

Comments
Party's over: Eagles get back to work with roster primed for title defense
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox