BOCA RATON, FL — Chip Kelly‘s hour-long session with reporters at the owners meetings Wednesday helped shine a light on the level of dysfunction that existed in the Eagles’ front office last season.
Kelly said he never really saw Howie Roseman after the power shift that gave the head coach control and pushed Roseman out of the personnel department. Further, they did not talk directly, per Kelly, and instead used Ed Marynowitz as an intermediary.
Is that a way a front office should work? Shouldn’t there be communication between a cap guy and a personnel guy?
Kelly waited a beat and then replied, “Yeah, you would think.”
The disconnect proved problematic in a variety of ways including, it seems, when it came to player acquisition. According to Kelly, he and Marynowitz sent Roseman players of interest without regard to how those players might fit from a financial perspective. It was then Roseman’s job to make it work.
“We never came up with any parameters. I wouldn’t have paid anybody. I’m really frugal. I think some of the money that all these guys are getting…that’s a huge leap of faith with anybody,” he said. “We were given a statistic by the league that 97 percent of all free agents don’t make the Pro Bowl three years after signing the contract. Free agency in its own right is a huge gamble.”
So the Maxwell and Murray contracts were negotiated by Roseman?
“Oh yeah. I’ve never negotiated a contract in my life,” he said.
The power structure is different in San Francisco from what Kelly experienced in Philly. He has less sway when it comes to personnel — the bulk of that responsibility falling to Trent Baalke, whom Kelly said “has a great feel for how to put together a team.”
Is the trust factor a reason why it works for Kelly?
“Oh yeah, definitely,” he said. “Whenever you’re working with anybody, that’s a huge component in terms of how things work on a daily basis. He’s got a proven track record, too, so it’s not like it’s trust without evidence. There’s a ton of evidence in terms of them being able to put together a really, really good football team.”
The trust factor, clearly, wasn’t there as it applied to Roseman. Kelly made that known after the 2014 season when he took his concerns to Jeffrey Lurie. Kelly maintains that he did not request/demand a specific structure during his conversations with the owner and never threatened to leave.
So that was Lurie’s design?
“Yeah,” said Kelly. “I would have been content to just go hire a general manager.”
A general manager other than Roseman, obviously.
Why didn’t you like the set-up as it was?
“I just didn’t think we were on the same page,” Kelly responded — a fact that is now as obvious as ever.
There are plenty of partial truths when it comes to the downfall of the Kelly era, and it’s no surprise that Kelly’s version paints him in a more favorable light and sheds him of some responsibility . But it’s difficult to escape this notion, particularly after hearing Kelly’s version of the story: the chosen set-up following Kelly’s power play in 2014 proved not only faulty, but an impediment to front-office harmony and regime sustainability. In short, it was doomed for failure.