Eagles Wake-Up Call: Buckle Up, Chip’s In Charge
Today’s question was emailed in by Jason:
I want to fully reserve judgment until after FA and the draft because it feels like there is something big going on with all the cap moves. I’ve also generally bought into Chip since he came here (except for the odd thing *ahem* Boykin) and so I want to get in on what Chip has planned. I mean, the man has a vision if nothing else. And I do get that there’s justification for the move.
But I’ve also got this sneaking paranoia that – what if this is just a crazy gamble and if there’s no title in the next year or two, he’ll just say “Welp, that was fun, which college should I go to now?” Then we’ll be left with burning wreckage of no picks and a guy named Kiko. The ‘this happened in 20 minutes’ tweet scares me a bit. Talk me off the ledge, gentlemen. I want to enjoy the ride.
Would love to talk you off the ledge. But honestly? I think the ledge is where we’ll be living as long as Kelly is running the show.
I agree that he has a vision, and my guess is it’s big and it’s bold and it’s aimed at barrelling past “competitive” in pursuit of “world class” status. He didn’t leave his beloved Ducks (well, some of them anyway) for 10-6 and the occasional Wild Card win. He clearly wants to build this thing in his way with his guys to achieve what he sees through his mind’s eye. That’s why he wrangled away what was left of Howie Roseman’s control this offseason, and why he’s stripping a good portion of this roster down. When the free-agency gun goes off, he’s going to be armed with close to $50 million in cap space. Fireworks could be popping left and right, and it might only be a warm-up before the main event come late April.
With what’s gone down this past week and what many are predicting for the weeks ahead, it feels like Kelly is taking a match to not only the Roseman/Andy Reid roster but the old Eagles playbook for how to build a team. And it’s kind of a rush. Kelly wasn’t hired to preserve the status quo, and that’s perfectly fine considering status quo has produced exactly zero Lombardi Trophies and not a single playoff win since 2008.
The other side of that is Roseman and company learned some hard, valuable lessons during that dry spell on how to assemble a squad. What they found is that free-agent splurges and chasing too hard in the draft are about the surest ways to wreck a roster. They concluded that it’s about stringing together quality drafts, supplementing modestly through free agency and rewarding your own. You build methodically, and continue to take shots at the quarterback position until you land a gem.
Signs suggest Kelly is not going to take that approach – at least not this year. He’s probably going to splurge, and it’s certainly possible that he tries to exchange a good chunk of this year’s and next year’s draft choices to grab the quarterback he covets. If the rest of the offseason goes as many predict it will, it will be like trying to complete a multi-year construction project in two months. It’s hard not to be energized by the speed and ambition, but you wonder about the soundness of an infrastructure being laid in haste.
Some of the qualities that make Kelly attractive and successful are the same ones that make him dangerous. He’s an original thinker and a risk-taker. He has strong convictions and he pushes through resistance and at times conventional wisdom to stay true to those convictions. That allows him to break new ground, but at times might send him to land that more experienced men know to be infertile.
Kelly’s approach has worked very well for him for the most part to date, and from that you can draw confidence. He has a history that suggests if you allow him artistic license, he can create something pretty special. But this is a new realm for him, and he’ll have to find and toe the line that separates bold from reckless. As long as he operates in that space, it will never be an easy, comfortable ride. But it will be entertaining.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Jason Worilds is being linked to the Eagles once again.
Sheil offers five thoughts on the LeSean McCoy/Kiko Alonso trade.
“The truth is I think guys will question whether they want to come to Philadelphia because of that.” Brian Westbrook on the McCoy move and the state of the Eagles.
Trade fallout, a Mark Ingram rumor and more in this roundup.
Kapadia gets you more familiar with Alonso.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jason Cole of Bleacher Report suggests some players around the league have questions about Kelly following the moves this week.
“In talking to players around the league about these moves, they were left a little leery of Chip Kelly, asking, ‘What exactly is he doing?’ Because it’s not just LeSean McCoy he just traded. He’s let go of Todd Herremans, he’s let go of Cary Williams, he’s let go of Trent Cole. This is a year after letting go of DeSean Jackson. And all of a sudden players are looking, going, ‘Does Chip Kelly value players in this league or does he value his own system?’ Basically, is he full of himself or does he understand it’s about talent?’ So ultimately, while the Eagles have about $50 million in cap space, after all of these moves you have to wonder if players are going to sit there and say, ‘I’m not sure I want to play for the Eagles because I’m not sure that Chip Kelly is going to hold onto good players over the long run.'”
Kristian Dyer of the Metro New York reports the Eagles will trade with the Jets if Mariota slides to No. 6.
If Marcus Mariota is available at No. 6 in next month’s NFL Draft, he likely will be taken. But a league source said the Jets, in desperate need for a quarterback, won’t be selecting the former Oregon QB there and that the Eagles and Jets would make a trade if the scenario plays out.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a highly-placed league source termed a potential marriage between Mariota , the Heisman and Maxwell Award winner after a stunning 2014 season, and the Jets as “highly unlikely.” The source said that the Jets aren’t in the mood to pick Mariota with their sixth pick and that if the Oregon quarterback is available, the “Jets will be shipping that pick away.”
The likely landing spot?
“Philadelphia would make that move and pay that price. We’re talking multiple picks and a player,” the source said. “The Jets would be open to moving the pick and the Eagles have internally prepared to move up in the draft. There are contingencies in place and they know that Marcus is that perfect fit.”
And just think, we haven’t even gotten to free-agency yet. Plenty of activity ahead.