‘I Fear This Guy:’ Nick Sirianni Explains Relationship with Eagles’ Front Office

Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni

Getty Eagles GM Howie Roseman chats with head coach Nick Sirianni prior to a game in 2021.

Was Nick Sirianni cooking with Howie Roseman’s ingredients last season? That’s been the public conception between the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office and the coaching staff dating back to Doug Pederson’s controversial dismissal. Roseman runs the show. The coach does what he is told.

But the decision to sign Zach Pascal in free agency has poked holes in that narrative. The former Colts receiver was the poster boy for Sirianni’s system, a guy he brought up without prompting several times during his first year at the helm.

Now he has Pascal in a midnight green uniform in a move that screams of total collaboration. On Tuesday, Sirianni attempted to explain the dynamic between himself and Roseman when it comes to personnel input.

“Howie and I talk about everything and every decision we make, we talk through it,” Sirianni told reporters. “Obviously, Howie is in charge of the team and putting the team together, but he’s using all the resources that he has to help do that and so we talk about everything. Of course, I want Zach Pascal on this football team — I don’t think that’s a secret here — so my job is to explain how we will use Zach Pascal.

“My job is to explain what I see in the player and the use of it. Or, if it’s on the defensive side of the ball, it’s to explain why as an offensive coach I fear this guy, right? Or I don’t fear this guy. That’s kind of how we go about that right there.

“And then Howie’s job is to make sure it makes sense for the team. It’s not only each position on the field working together in unison to get the job done but it’s also behind the scenes, too. You better be on the same page.”

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Contract Details Revealed for Derek Barnett

The decision to bring back Derek Barnett was another move made in solidarity. Both Roseman and Sirianni agreed the 25-year-old defensive end could help the team in 2022. The result? A pretty affordable two-year deal that made sense for everyone.

“Derek Barnett is everything that embodies what we want in the characteristics of a player,” Sirianni said. “He’s tough, he’s competitive, he’s got high football IQ, he’s got high character, he loves football. I love Derek Barnett. I love the type of player and the type of person that he is.”

According to The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, Barnett will earn $13.21 million over the next two seasons. And Roseman used dummy years to structure it essentially as a one-year deal worth $5.5 million. Which isn’t a terrible price for a rotational pass rusher.

“I think the perception of Derek is probably not fair with the reality,” Roseman said. “He’s a guy, that if you’re looking at a different team and you go, ‘A 26-year-old defensive end coming off his not-best year’ we’d probably look at that and go maybe that’s an opportunity.”

Pascal’s Role Remains Undefined Head of Camp

Zach Pascal wore many hats when he worked for Sirianni in Indianapolis. He was a key special-teams player. He was a valuable slot receiver. He was a weapon in the red zone. And the 6-foot-2, 219-pound target served as the No. 2 receiver — the No. 1 at one point, according to Sirianni — when injuries hit the Colts.

Sirianni didn’t want to slap a role on Pascal for the 2022 campaign. The Eagles are going to rely on his veteran leadership and instincts to take over. He’ll carve out a niche. It’ll probably happen organically.

“That’s still to be determined,” Sirianni said of Pascal’s role. “I know the role Zach played for us when he was in Indianapolis and he was, early on in Zach’s career, he was one of the best 4-5 wide receivers in the NFL. He could back up every position — in the slot, he could back up on the outside, he played a big key in special teams. He brought an element of toughness to the group.”

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