by Robert Williams
The Philadelphia Eagles have cut their best pass rusher and now they have traded their best running back in team history. They are about to let their best wide receiver and second best pass rusher test the open market. Eagles fans throughout the nation are completely in shock. There are two things that can come from these moves.
1.) Chip is building his team with his players. As a coach who has been in the league for two years, he has a feel for what he wants. He has assumed complete command of the front office. His director of player personnel was picked by him, who was the head recruiter for Alabama. Kelly intends to maintain the balance of power he once had when he was in college; which lead to the success of the Oregon college football program. He had success without successfully recruiting top players in the country. He believes in the motto ‘hard work beats talent if the players are willing to work hard’. The owner Jeffrey Lurie wouldn’t have given Kelly so much power if he didn’t trust him. He did the same thing with Andy Reid and that turned out well in the long run. With these moves he has freed up to $50 Million+ in cap room. The team can potentially sign more players in free agency to build around their dilapidating defense. Plus Nick Foles and Mychal Kendricks contract are up next year, so this is a great opportunity to build for the future. Those players were Andy Reid players and he simply wants to bring in his own players. Hopefully they’ll be more successful.
2.) Chip Kelly is not making conscious decisions. He hasn’t recognized the team chemistry these veterans have been building. LeSean McCoy and Trent Cole wanted to restructure their contracts for the team. Brandon Graham wants to stay here (if the price was right). He noted he still had some unfinished business with the team. Kelly needs to understand these are not only players, but irreplaceable. Trent Cole draws so many double-teams, it leaves one-on-one matchups for the other players to get sacks. We’ve seen this with Jason Babin and now Connor Barwin. Not that they are not great players in their own rights, but they wouldn’t be as effective without the presence of Trent Cole. The other Eagle that will be missed (if he is allowed to leave) will be Jeremy Maclin. He is coming off a career year in which he made the Pro Bowl and was a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. His impact will be missed to a young inexperienced Wide Receiving corps. Brandon Graham is a rare player to find. He can play either as a 3-4 OLB pass rusher or a 4-3 defensive end. He proved this year he can be a three down player. He was supposed to be a replacement for Trent Cole, instead he will be allowed to test the market. LeSean McCoy has been the most productive running back since he has been drafted. He is also coming off of back-to-back Pro Bowls. It was hard for him to gain yards last season due to injuries to the offensive line and repetitious play calling. Chip Kelly ridding himself of all of these players is a dangerous move. These are not players that can be replaced in the draft and free agency; these are polished NFL players. Kelly has brought his Oregon players onto the team and they haven’t been productive at all. It is looking like the Eagles are trying to tank this season like their brethren across the parking lot. The team needs to make some key moves in Free Agency and in the NFL Draft the next two seasons. If Chip Kelly cannot develop a deep postseason team in three years, he will be known as the biggest goat in recent memory.
Robert Williams, for War Room Sports