It was only last year that the Philadelphia Eagles, under Chip Kelly, released it's all-pro wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Every Philadelphia Eagles fan was scratching their heads in disbelief. The million dollar question was how could you just let your best wide receiver go; and furthermore how could you just release him with getting nothing in return. And then there was the sting when DeSean decided to sign with the Washington Redskins...ouch! Yes, the NFL is a business just like any other business when it comes to personnel...however, sports fans tend to latch onto players in an emotional kind of way that I am sure many of you can relate to. For DeSean to go to the rival Redskins was the ultimate kick in the face for Eagle's fans. Well, the 2014 season was still successful despite the departure of DeSean; however the team failed to make the playoffs and DeSean torched his old team in both games for many yards.
Fast forward to the 2015 offseason. In my previous post I analyzed the power structure changes within the Eagle's organization. Once again, Howie Roseman was OUT...and coach Chip Kelly was given complete control over personnel, which would include free agency and the Draft. Ok, so most fans were thinking this should be great because coach Kelly is a football mastermind. Then came last Tuesday! As word was leaked of an apparent trade of their star running back LeSean McCoy, a huge outcry went out through the entire Delaware Valley. Although the Eagles were getting a solid and potentially pro bowl middle linebacker, one that the team has not had since Seth Joyner, the fans in the city wanted to assassinate the new coach. "How in the hell could you get rid of your best player and the fan's favorite? How could you trade arguably one of the best if not the best running back in Eagle's history?!!" This move reaked of unacceptable.
As last week went on, fans became split on their opinions of the McCoy trade. Some fans were able to realize that this was a business decision that would save the team a boatload of money and help them sign key free agents. Others were ready to storm the Nova Care Center with all guns blazing. Next came the weekend and the supposedly three day period of non illegal tampering??? What? Yes that is a discussion for another day. Deal after Deal in the NFL was announced like it was a done deal beginning with the largest name and body in free agency, Nadomakan Suh signing a record defensive contract with the Miami Dolphins. Finally, after a minor signing of a linebacker, it was announced that the Eagles had come to terms with cornerback Byron Maxwell from Seattle, arguably the best corner on the market not named Darelle Revis. At this point, Eagles fans were given something to get excited about.
Then, on Monday another bombshell was sent out. It was announced that the Eagles had replaced "Shady" with veteran running back and 7x Pro Bowler Frank Gore from the San Francisco 49ers. Gore is ancient in running back age terms at 31. However; he was a very consistent running back and only missed some games in one season...so knock on wood the team was getting a servicable back that runs the ball north and south. Fast forward to Tuesday AM. The free agency frenzy would begin at 4PM Eastern time. At approximately 8AM, word was spreading rapidly that Frank Gore had changed his mind and reniged on his agreement with the Eagles and that he would instead sign with the Indianapolis Colts. WTF!!! This was the reaction of Eagles fans alike. How could this be?? We were just starting to get used to the idea that Gore would be our starting tailback and then kaputt. Just like that, and also the news that the Eagles had failed to come to terms with it's number one wide receiver, Jeremy Maclin.
I can remember getting done work on Tuesday and rushing home to watch the free agent frenzy. I was listening to 94 WIP Radio and almost every caller was completely negative about what was going on in Eagle land. And then a BOMB was dropped on live television. Shortly after it was announced on the NFL network that New Orleans Saint's star tight end Jimmy Graham had been traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a draft pick, then it came. It was announced that the a trade was immanent between the Saint Louis Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles. Come again?!!!! Yes, a deal was in the works of a trade between the Eagles and Rams, which was a swap of Quarterbacks Nick Foles and Sam Bradford and some draft pick compensation. So at first, there were a million and one text messages from angry Eagles fans that could not believe the team would trade it's starting quarterback for a quarterback that has had not one, but two ACL injuries! Again, the words WTF rang out.
While everything began to materialize and fans awaited the details of the trade, everyone was debating and wondering if this was the trade that would precede the trade. By that, I mean that the fans were wondering if this deal would somehow be a move to somehow bring in Oregon star quarterback and Chip Kelly pupil, Marcus Mariota. Mariota, the Heisman winner, is the second ranked QB in the draft and the Eagles have been rumored to be high on trading up in the draft to get the star quarterback. Anyways, then the deal was finally announced and it was Nick Foles and a 2nd Round Pick going to the Rams for Sam Bradford and his nine million dollar contract as well as a 4th round pick next year. WTF!!! It keeps getting worse.
At this point, three quarters of the city's cars were lined up on the Walt Whitman Bridge getting ready to drive off the bridge. These fans were not just going to jump off the bridge...but they were ready to drive themselves and their families to the depths of the Delaware River. Wednesday morning brought more negative calls about any Philly Sports team in the history of WIP Radio. On ESPN, Stephen Smith tried to make the moves that Chip Kelly was making as a racial issue. This also caused a huge stir among many people not just in Philly, but also nationally. Suddenly, the Philadelphia Eagles were the biggest story in all of professional sports. Then, if all of this chaos was not enough, it was announced that the Eagles and running back Ryan Matthews, formerly of the San Diego Chargers, had come to an agreement on a 3 year deal worth over 11 million dollars. What??!! Another player with multiple knee injuries that is injury prone. What is Chip Kelly doing everyone asked??? What is he trying to turn the Nova Care Complex into the Nova Care Rehab? Ryan Matthews is not a terrible running back; however, he comes with tons of baggage. As Matthews had taken a flight to Philly, it was being reported that the Eagles and the number one free agent running back, Demarco Murray had mutual interest in each other.
Thursday dawn came and Matthews was in Philly getting ready to sign his deal. Then bells rang out. Murray was on his way to Philly on a private jet with the intent of signing a deal. Philly fans were glued to Twitter, Facebook, and all of the other social media networks non stop so that they would see what was going to happen. The previous day, Chip had finally broke his silence and talked too the media, trying to explain all of this madness. Some analysts were calling Chip "The Mad Scientist." Anyways, Murray arrived in Philly and Matthews was still at the Nova Care Complex. Then there was a long silence on the media airwaves. Every fan alike was wondering, what if Murray does not sign and what if Matthews changes his mind just like Gore. And then it finally happened. The Matthews deal was announced and was official. There were still many skeptics about getting the Murray deal done now that Matthews had signed.
Of course, we all know what happened next. Murray signed on the dotted line...hence giving the Birds a 3 Headed Monster at Running Back once again with Murray, Matthews, and Darren Sproles. Now it was beginning to come together. Chip really does have a plan and he is not just throwing darts. At this point, I am not sure how many more moves Chip will make. However; what I do know is that he is in this to win this. Chip does not want to be mediocre every season and win 10 games. He wants to bring this city a championship. So instead of bitching and moaning, take a piece out of Aaron Rodger's vocabulary...and RELAX. No one knows the future but we need to let this man do his job. And just remember, Chip will either be a hero or a zero. So far, he sacrificed many players on the former roster, but he also now has a stud starting middle linebacker (Kiko Alonso), a starting cornerback (Byron Maxwell), another Cornerback (Walter Thurmond), a Starting Quarterback (Sam Bradford), and two high profile running backs (Demarco Murray and Ryan Matthews). Just let this man do his work and then judge.