Monday, March 7, 2016

The Eagles Clean House, Or Night Of The Long Howies

Nero, You Broke My Team
When last we left the Phila- delphia Eagles, the off-season seemed relatively straight forward. Re-sign QB Sam Bradford for the least possible money and the least possible years, since he's an incredible injury risk, but also the best available option to start in 2016. Extend the small number of promising young and/or valued players (Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson, Vinny Curry, Najeh Goode, Malcolm Jenkins) to club-friendly contracts. Cut the obvious dead wood (Riley Cooper, DeMecco Ryans). Prepare for the draft with, preferably, a bolstering of the front office, since Prodigal GM and Jeffrey Lurie Compromising Photographs Owner Howie Roseman looked out of his element in doing this before.

But there were aspects of the 2015 club -- Bradford, RB DeMarco Murray, LB Kiko Alonso, CB Brandon Maxwell -- that, while clearly over-valued and over-paid by disgraced ex-GM / Coach / Franchise Killer Chip "Nero" Kelly, well, probably weren't going to go anywhere. Finding another club that would take on their salaries, let alone picks of any value, was going to be difficult, especially for a quasi-noob GM. We were just going to have to live with these guys, and hope like hell that competent and sane coaching might get something more out of them, especially on defense. And since the unit wasn't likely to be out there after 18 seconds of non-offense, or have the no adjustment stylings of ex-DC Billy Davis, well, there was hope for that.

Well, until Roseman decided that today was the day he was going to go into Full Purge Mode.

Maxwell and Alonso, shipped out to Miami. Murray, off to Nashville. Ryan Mathews, said to be on the trade block, though one expects with Murray gone, maybe (maybe) not. And suddenly, this franchise looks like it's going to be as changed and unsettled in 2016 as it was in 2015.

Now, there's all kinds of speculation as to what the pick and contract cap situation is going to look like after this. Most of the hubbub puts this work at pick swaps in the first, and maybe late picks, rather than the missing second round pick from the Bradford deal. There's every possibility that, given that Roseman chose dance partners that aren't known as the sharpest knives in the drawer in Miami and Tennessee, that Green won this deal clean, and got rid of three poor clubhouse guys in the meantime. The list of guys who find stardom on their third team, which will be the case for all of these players, is not long.

But man alive, what a whipsaw this franchise has been in the past year. Three different RB1s, three different CB1s, and oh by the way, they now are in the market for secondary help for what only seems like the tenth straight year. We won't even get into the offensive line.

Teams that are worth a damn take time to gel, rather than just auto-assemble like Legos. If Roseman isn't right with the rest of the season -- and hell, even if he is -- the idea that the Bradford signing made for a competitive 2016 might just be NFC lEast fool's gold.

But in the meantime?

We don't have to hold our nose and root for any of those guys any more. Murray with his slide runs from contact, Alonso running away from blockers like a skittish golden retriever puppy, Maxwell taking penalties all over the field, or trailing guys into the end zone...

Well, it's not as is if Kenjon Barner, Nolan Carroll and Goode have as high of a ceiling. But somehow, that's so much easier to root for.

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