Roseman Could Force Lurie’s Hand This Time
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Perhaps the realization that Howie Roseman wasn't going to jump ship allowed Jeffrey Lurie to roll the dice back in January and give Chip Kelly unlimited power on the football side of the Eagles organization.
The losers of NFL power struggles rarely stay with the franchise, however, but Roseman did exactly that after being given a significant bump in pay to move his office from the football side of the NovaCare Complex to the business end.
Whether conscious or not at the time, Lurie's willingness to soothe Roseman's bruised ego now comes across as a safety net in case Kelly failed with the added responsibility, certainly a distinct possibility because of the coach's glaring lack of experience on the personnel side of the NFL.
And sure enough Kelly's first season as the de facto GM in Philadelphia has been nothing short of a disaster.
(Listen to Jason Fitzgerald from OvertheCap.com discuss the Eagles offseason mistakes)
The stubborn handing of the Evan Mathis contract issue, backing up the Brink's truck for an average cornerback like Byron Maxwell in free agency, and assuming Nelson Agholor or Josh Huff could help offset the production of the departing Jeremy Maclin are just some of the whoppers that have hamstrung Kelly's team in 2015.
Perhaps, the biggest faux pas, however, was trading LeSean McCoy for damaged goods in Kiko Alonso and then trying to replace the all-time Eagles rushing leader by bringing in DeMarco Murray for a boatload of money.
Allocating assets is an important part of any GM's job and investing money like Murray and Ryan Mathews commanded at the running back position is specious logic in today's environment because many other organizations have proven you can get significant production at that position for a reduced price.
Furthermore, from a coaching standpoint it's almost inconceivable that Kelly thought Murray, a pure north-south, between the tackles runner, would be a better fit for his offense than McCoy, who could handle the constant offset shotgun looks that require east-west running far better.
The larger problem for Lurie now is that Kelly's work as the GM has been so bad, it has put Roseman's resume in a better light and many teams who will be looking for personnel candidates in the offseason figure to have Howie on their short lists.
While Roseman seemed content to wait things out in Philadelphia and let Kelly hang himself with the extra rope given to him, the former GM's first love is the personnel aspect of this business and it's unlikely he will stick around another year if another organization offers to give that GM title back to him.
"From the outside, other owners are seeing the mess Kelly is overseeing right now and realizing Roseman was doing a fine job as GM," FOXSports' Mike Garafalo recently reported.
Whether Kelly was interested in relocating to Los Angeles or Baton Rouge in the college ranks is moot at this point because both jobs are now off the table, meaning the embattled coach has lost quite a bit of leverage in any potential standoff with Lurie.
And by now the Eagles owner understands his team was far better off with Roseman giving Kelly the players to work with and Lurie might have the ammunition to push the rewind button.
It's hard to imagine Kelly's ego allowing that to happen but 11 months ago Lurie decided he couldn't afford to lose his head coach and acquiesced to a coup d'etat.
In another month he may be faced with a similar plot from an employee who he now almost certainly has greater trust in.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen