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Are The Eagles Offseason Champions Again?

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It is often said one should never bring a knife to a gunfight.  

And for most of the 2016 NFL offseason, Philadelphia Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman seemed to tote a cannon.  

First, he outlasted former head coach Chip Kelly in a battle for Jeffrey Lurie’s red rose (à la The Bachelor).  He then refused to panic while last year’s starting quarterback, Sam Bradford tested free agency, rightly predicting a weak market.  Sure, you could make a strong argument Roseman overpaid for the former 2010 number one pick, but he got his man.  And he managed to give the Eagles some flexibility in the process.  Photo: Insidetheiggles.com

Next, he convinced the Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso were viable football players, acquiring the 8th pick in exchange for the 13th choice and those two gross underachievers.  He also moved disgruntled, unproductive running back DeMarco Murray to the Tennessee Titans for a 4th round pick (100th overall).  

And if that weren’t enough, sensing an opportunity to choose one of the two quarterbacks many experts see as most likely to alter a franchise, he sent five picks (the 8th, 77th, and 100th pick in this year’s draft, a first-round pick in 2017, and a second-round pick in 2018) to the Cleveland Browns for the 2nd pick in this draft and a fourth-round pick in 2017.  

Wow!

And now that Carson Wentz must put Philadelphia’s NFL fortunes on his considerably inexperienced back, it is easy to perpetuate the belief Roseman played the league like a Stradivarius.  

However, there is one small, irrefutable detail many conveniently choose to ignore, and that is the fact Browns head coach Hue Jackson passed on his opportunity to choose Wentz.  

If you believe Jackson’s knowledge of quarterbacks dwarfs that of Roseman’s—and there is no logical reason you shouldn’t—it is disconcerting to know Jackson opted to try to resurrect quarterback Robert Griffin III, instead of risking his reputation on Wentz, or Jared Goff, for that matter.  

Think about that for a moment.  

Jackson is in his first year with Cleveland and his second stint as a head coach after spending 2011 leading the Oakland Raiders.  So, at 50 years of age, it is reasonable to think this is Jackson’s last chance at one of the 32 most coveted football jobs in America.  

Yet, despite the inherent pressure to keep his gig and win in a city whose team has never even reached the Super Bowl, he saw no use for a player so many experts like.      

But why let details like that get in the way of a good narrative.

Meanwhile Bradford, the Eagles’ incumbent, is unimpressed by it all.  It seems he wants the team to trade him.  Apparently, he isn’t interested in playing in the kind of environment where he has to play well to stay employed.  

According to Tom Condon, Bradford’s agent, “the other players understand you are a short-term guy.  You are not going to be out of there even if you play well … Sam would like to forego all that.”  

Really?  

While, Bradford is well within his right to ask for a trade, the reality is, the last six months are a microcosm of his career.  He isn’t quite good enough to gain the trust of an organization in totality, and not quite awful enough to discard like spoiled milk.  

But Bradford isn’t self-aware enough to arrive at that conclusion.  Or, maybe he is and realizes he isn’t tough enough to play well without a four-year contract.  Either way, he’s right, he’s on borrowed time.   

As for the rest of the Eagles 2016 draft picks, Roseman tried to fill obvious needs with two offensive lineman (Isaac Seumalo, Halapoulivaati Vaitai) two defensive backs (Blake Countess, Jalen Mills) and a running back (Wendell Smallwood), which is all you can ask of any team’s general manager.  

For that, and ridding the team of Maxwell, Alonso and Murray, as well as Bradford’s Eagles-friendly contract, Roseman deserves a lot of credit.  

Just don’t call him a genius simply because Wentz is on the roster. 


Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area. He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

 

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Photo: insidetheiggles.com