Chip Kelly Speaks on LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles and More
In two seasons as the Eagles head football coach, Chip Kelly has made an impact. The former Oregon coach has won 20 games, an NFC east title and made one playoff appearance - now he wants more.
Kelly made wholesale changes in his first year in charge of personnel decisions, trading LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles and letting Jeremy Maclin walk in free agency, and replacing them with DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Sam Bradford.
Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona, Kelly tried to explain his decisions.
"The teams that do it the best get players who fit their system," Kelly explained.
So far that's exactly what Kelly is doing, getting rid of the players he was given when he got here and finding players he think will be a better fit for his system on both offense and defense.
(ESPN.com NFL Nation Eagles reporter Phil Sheridan joined Mike Gill to discuss Chip Kelly's press conference)
"We were inadequate in terms of the money allocated defensively as opposed to offensively and were trying to balance that out and I think we showed that in our play," Kelly admitted.
So the Kelly spent big money on former Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell and let Jeremy Maclin walk, they tried to work out a restructure of Mccoy's $11.9 million cap hit, but the two sides could not to an agreement, so McCoy was traded for help on the defensive side of the ball - enter linebacker Kiko Alonso.
"That was just a really big number, and they weren't moving off that number, so that was where the decision was made," Kelly stated. "You're talking about the all-time leading running back for the Philadelphia Eagles, he lead the league in rushing two years ago, that was a real difficult decision, but it was a decision we felt we had to make, we had to much money at the running back spot."
So McCoy is gone and Murray and Mathews are here for a combined $7 million in 2015, which is a significant drop from what McCoy was set to make this season.
How about quarterback Nick Foles, while McCoy not being here seems to be a monetary decision to some extent, Foles is due significantly less money than Sam Bradford this season, however Kelly said he didn't want to deal Foles to St. Louis, but he had to, to make the deal work.
"We were trying to keep Nick, just at the last second, they wanted players, we were trying to give them a draft pick, but it didn't work out that way," Kelly explained.
While many think it is a huge risk to make the move to send Foles out and bring Bradford in, his injury risk is certainly there, tearing the ACL on the same knee two seasons in a row, but Kelly doesn't seemed too concerned by Bradford injury history.
"It's easier for a quarterback with a knee injury than it is a shoulder injury," Kelly said. "We didn't bring Sam in to run the ball 75 times a game, I think its a lot easier for a quarterback with an ACL than a receiver with an ACL, but you look at the history with sports science its unbelievable. "
As for the draft, Lurie said on Tuesday that Kelly now has final say, something he hasn't had in the past, so was in Howie Roseman who assembled all the Oregon players on the roster over the past two season'?
"I stayed out of those guys, I've done it with every guy from Oregon," Kelly stated.
Chip is clearly calling the shots this season, this is Kelly's team now and he has built this team the way he wants it. But what is next? Don't get too excited - it seems Kelly is looking to fill the rest of the holes in the draft or in-house.
Kelly mentioned Allen Barbre as a potential replacement at guard, Nolan Carroll, Jaylean Watkins and Earl Wolff as potential help in the secondary and mentioned the draft as the way he wants to build the team moving forward in the future.
This is definitely Chip's team, but will it all work out?
Time will tell and only a Super Bowl can give us a definitive answer.