By: Michael Conroy
Earlier this week, we addressed concerns that Chip Kelly, the new world power in Philadelphia sports, was behaving erratically. These concerns have since been validated.
When the news broke yesterday that the Eagles were parting ways with Nick Foles in exchange for Sam Bradford, the only logical conclusion most of us could come to was that this was all part of some grand plan to land Marcus Mariota. That’s because the trade, at best, represented poor asset management and at worst, a total front office fleecing. Sam Bradford will make more money, next season, than Tom Brady. Foles will make south of $1 million and by all accounts has played better than Bradford in his NFL career. That’s leaving out the fact that the former Rams QB has had multiple ACL injuries in recent years.
The only way the trade made sense was if the details, yet to be confirmed, included a swap of 2015 1st rounders between Philadelphia and St. Louis. This would put Kelly within striking distance of his franchise quarterback.
We were still trying to discern some purpose for the move when a second shoe dropped. Not only had the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to absorb an obscene cap hit to downgrade at the most important position in sports, they had to part with a major asset in their 2016 2nd round pick — an asset that most certainly would be needed in any move for Mariota — to get the dreadful deal done. No 1st round swap was announced, no bolstering of trade assets, nothing to bridge the colossal gap in value exchanged between the teams.
It is not a matter of opinion that the Philadelphia Eagles have a markedly less talented roster today than they did just 14 days ago. The specter of an imminent follow-up move was all fans had to hope for. It’s telling that media members were still waiting with baited breath for that next step; the other piece to this puzzle that would usher logic back into the conversation.
In his press conference today, Chip Kelly made it clear that no such move was forthcoming. Speaking on the subject of the #2 quarterback in the draft, Chip stated that he “would never mortgage the future” for a player like Marcus Mariota.
With this move, the coach has argued — against all available evidence — that Sam Bradford is a much a better player than Nick Foles; a position that almost no vocal parties shared before 4:00 pm, Tuesday.
What’s happened here in town is making waves that reach much further than the limits of the greater Philadelphia area. Reports have surfaced that free agents — Frank Gore among them — are wary of committing to Kelly and the capricious atmosphere he’s created. If top free agents have balked as is being reported now, the movement of players like Lesean Mccoy and Jeremy Maclin makes even less sense.
At this point, the draft is pivotal. The picks that the Eagles still possess are their only means of replenishing the assets that have been squandered this off-season.
Fans can officially stop waiting for some grand plan to materialize and make sense of this situation. All they can do is sift through the wreckage.