After the 2014 season came to an end for the Philadelphia Eagles, so too did Howie Roseman’s reign as the team’s general manager. Ownership decided it was best to give head coach Chip Kelly full control over all football-related decisions and make Roseman executive vice president of football operations.
In Kelly’s first offseason calling the shots, however, that decision has not looked like a great one so far.
Here’s why Kelly is a hot topic right now on Philly sports talk radio:
1. The Eagles Released Trent Cole
Once the Eagles’ year was over, 10-year veteran Trent Cole wanted to return for an 11th season in Philadelphia. The two sides could not come to an agreement on a restructured deal though, and the Eagles chose to part ways with their two-time Pro Bowl linebacker.
He has since signed on with the Indianapolis Colts.
During his time with Philadelphia, Cole was a constant source of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, registering 85.5 career sacks. His production and leadership will be hard for the Eagles to replicate.
2. The Team Let Jeremy Maclin Walk
One year after top pass catcher DeSean Jackson left Philly to join the rival Washington Redskins, the Eagles chose to let another wide receiver find employment elsewhere.
After missing the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL, Maclin bounced back and had his best year as a professional to date. He established new career highs in receptions (85), targets (143) and yards (1,318), and tied his career-high in touchdown receptions (10).
Maclin is now reunited with former Eagles coach Andy Reid in Kansas City, leaving the unimpressive Riley Cooper and young talent Jordan Matthews atop the depth chart.
3. Kelly Swapped Nick Foles for Sam Bradford
Not long after free agency officially kicked off, Kelly was the mastermind behind a trade that is still a hot-button issue among Philly fans.
The Eagles shipped QB Nick Foles, a 2015 fourth-round pick and a 2016 second-round draft pick to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for QB Sam Bradford and a fifth-round selection in 2015 — a pretty steep price to pay for a signal caller who suffered ACL tears in 2013 and 2014.
Foles, on the other hand, already showed he had the ability to lead this fast-paced Eagles offense successfully. In three seasons with Philadelphia, Foles threw for 6,753 yards with 46 TDs and 17 INTs.
Couple that with the fact that Bradford has struggled to stay healthy during his career and this trade just does not make much sense.
4. He Traded Away LeSean McCoy
With RB LeSean McCoy coming off a fairly strong season in which he rushed for 1,319 yards and five scores behind a depleted offensive line, it came as a shock when Kelly decided to trade him to the Buffalo Bills for LB Kiko Alonso.
The trade reunites Kelly with yet another one of his beloved former Oregon Ducks.
While Alonso could be a good addition for the Eagles, he — just like Bradford — has questions surrounding his health as he missed the entire 2014 campaign with a torn ACL.
5. Kelly’s Replacements at RB are Iffy
Once McCoy was shipped to Buffalo, the big question of who his replacement would be remained.
Philadelphia responded by inking former San Diego Charger Ryan Mathews to a three-year contract before nabbing one of the top free agents on the market in DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2014. Both players come with their share of question marks though.
Mathews has struggled to stay healthy during his young career (I am starting to notice a pattern here) and missed time last season with a sprained MCL and a sprained ankle.
While Murray did not miss much playing time due to injury last year, he did carry the ball an incredible 392 times, which is a lot to ask of any running back. And that was behind the best offensive line in the NFL — which the Eagles do not have.
While it is still too early to draw any serious conclusions, one thing is certain: this is Chip Kelly’s team now — for better or for worse.