Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly’s Clout

NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles

As Sheil explained on Friday, we’re going to try something new for the Wake-Up Call in the offseason. Each day, we will choose a reader question and make that the topic of the morning post. You can submit your questions in a variety of ways: in the comments section, on Twitter (@Tim_McManus and @SheilKapadia), via e-mail (tmcmanus@phillymag.com and skapadia@phillymag.com) or on Facebook. We’ll choose one each day and answer it.

We’ll go through the questions once a month and randomly select a reader for a free Birds 24/7 t-shirt. Let’s get to today’s question:

Simply put, Chip Kelly is now one of the most powerful men in football.

Last year, Albert Breer wrote a piece that explored the power structures of all 32 NFL teams. According to his findings, only two coaches — Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan — held control over all personnel decisions, including the draft and the 53-man roster. Shanahan has since split with Washington. While there are other coaches (Sean Payton, Pete Carroll) that have serious say, only Kelly and Belichick currently have this level of clout.

There is no general manager in New England. Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio is a trusted voice that has some sway but reports directly to Belichick. No matter the title given to Kelly’s new personnel executive, the design will likely be similar.

Said one NFC general manager (via Breer): “I think it’s the person, not the structure there. There are very few people like him. Belichick is very unique. You see how many guys come out of that tree who have failed. That’s because it’s the person, not the structure, that makes it go. You have to be unique to do it that way. I think he’s just extremely smart, and very well-rounded; good in all aspects. Most people can’t do it like that, in that structure. Again, you see the guys from that tree, and they get out there and can’t handle some of the other facets of running a team, outside their comfort zone. So you look at it, and you say, ‘It’s Belichick.’ And if it wasn’t Belichick, that structure probably wouldn’t work, because it hasn’t with guys who’ve come out of that system.”

This has been the set-up since Belichick arrived in New England, so he was given the keys to the kingdom before delivering the championships. One big difference between Belichick and Kelly, though, is that one has been working in the NFL since 1975, and the other just got here. On one hand, Kelly knows what it means to be head of operations thanks to his college experience. On the other, he still has much to learn when it comes to the pros.

As for the DeSean Jackson question, Jeffrey Lurie has never been shy about the fact that it was a Kelly-driven decision.


Howie Roseman talked Kelly out of taking Jordan Matthews in the first round, per a report.

Ed Maryonwitz has reportedly emerged as a serious candidate for the personnel executive opening.

Sheil offers five thoughts on the new power structure.

Rounding up reaction to the front-office moves.


Reuben Frank has the details of Roseman’s pay raise:

Roseman, according to a league source familiar with his contract, received a $200,000 annual raise on Friday, from $1.5 million per year to an average of $1.7 million per year on a deal that runs through 2020.

That’s a 13 percent pay raise for somebody who for all intents and purposes was just demoted.

And that’s $10.2 million over the next six years.

So Roseman appears to face this dilemma: If he decides to continue to chase his dream and do personnel, he’ll have to take a dramatic paycut. And that’s if he can get a job doing what he covets. It’s tough to tell what other teams think about Roseman’s abilities to evaluate players, and there’s a very real chance that if Roseman began looking for a job around the league in personnel, he wouldn’t be able to land one. At least, not a big-time position where his salary would be anywhere close to $1.7 million per year.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! gives his take on further empowering Kelly:

This is the opposite of what the 49ers did with Harbaugh, boxing a highly effective coach (three conference title game appearances and one trip to the Super Bowl in four years) into a front office he couldn’t coexist with and eventually forcing him out. Harbaugh surprised many NFL insiders last week by returning to the college ranks at the University of Michigan.

Kelly would have his pick of NFL or college jobs, where they’d likely provide him maximum control, should he want to bounce also. Lurie just decided to make such a deal in Philadelphia…

Kelly is now Bill Belichick, only without all the Lombardi Trophies. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. In New England, Belichick was recognized as a great coach and was ceded all power even if through the years he has proven to be an uneven executive (he had a heck of a 2014 though).

The tradeoff is worth it. Take the great with the occasional bad. Let the excellence on the sideline count for more than growing into the job and making inevitable mistakes (there are no perfect general managers or talent evaluators).


We’ll look at Wild Card Weekend from an Eagles perspective.