Howie Roseman

Eagles GM Discusses Trading Back, Draft Flexibility, Owner

The Eagles have already made headlines this offseason when they traded the No. 6 pick to the Dolphins for No. 12 and a future first. While the front office might not be done trading, they’re making their final preparations for the draft. Armed with 11 picks, the Eagles have the most flexibility they’ve had in the draft in several years, and executive vice president/general manager Howie Roseman recognizes how crucial it is to be ready for whatever opportunities present themselves.

Speaking alongside executive Andy Weidl and head coach Nick Sirianni during a press conference today, Roseman provided some notable details on why the Eagles decided to trade down, how they plan to proceed with all of their picks, and how the team owner is involved throughout the process (h/t to Dave Spadaro and Vaughn Johnson of the team’s website and Zach Berman of the The Athletic):

On the front office’s logic for trading back from No. 6 to No. 12:

“Flexibility creates opportunity. When you go back and look at things that are hard to acquire, that’s one of the toughest things to acquire, a team’s first-round pick in the following year.

“What we really had to do is sit there and go, who are the 12 best players in this draft that we would feel really good about? Are there 12 players in this draft that we really feel good about? That’s what we’re going to do throughout this draft. If you move back, it’s because you feel like you have a bunch of guys that are the same value and to be really happy getting one and getting the extra volume from that pick. If you move up, it’s because your board kind of drops off at that point.

“You have to feel like you’re getting a premium and we felt like we were getting a premium to do that.”

On the front office’s preparation for the draft, especially considering they’re armed with 11 draft picks:

“The process this year with the coaches, with the scouts, has allowed us to really sit down and talk about a lot of these things and figure out the best way to maximize our 11 picks in this draft. We’re really excited about the opportunity to add to this football team next week.”

On how the team overcame the limitations presented by COVID when evaluating prospects:

“Our coaches did an unbelievable job of taking all the guys that we would have interviewed at the Combine in Indianapolis and would have had here in Philadelphia and interviewing all of those guys.

“So just really appreciative of coach and his staff to take all the time to do that, and we continue to do the other things that we do, the psychological reports, and put ourselves in the best possible situation for next week.”

On whether the Eagles would consider Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, who finished last year with 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns, despite him only weighing in at 166 pounds:

“Good players come in all shapes and sizes, and so we’re not going to discriminate based on any of those things.”

On owner Jeffrey Lurie’s role in the draft process:

“He’s there to make sure that he’s looking through our process, and if he’s got any questions about why we’re doing things, we’re going to go and have those discussions about why the process looks like it does, why our draft board — just based on the descriptions that the coaches and the scouts are giving of this player. He’s taking notes on those. Those aren’t his evaluations, those are based on the coaches and scouts and making sure they fit in terms of what he’s looking for from that value, that spot. If we’re talking about a guy in the first round and we’re talking about him as a role player, he may stand up and say, ‘Wait a minute, is that really what we’re looking for in a first-round pick?’ He’s not saying this is my opinion, this guy is a role player or not. In terms of his role in the draft room, the draft room, 90 percent of the time, the work is done. It’s all done, and you’re just picking them off based on where it is.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Rudolph, Eagles, Cowboys

Kyle Rudolph is expected to undergo foot surgery soon, and he may be in for extensive rehab. The new Giants tight end is believed to be dealing with a Lisfranc injury, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. The troublesome foot malady can be difficult to shake, but Rudolph expects to be ready for Week 1. This injury is similar to what Evan Engram dealt with in 2019. Engram underwent surgery to address his Lisfranc issue in December 2019 and was ready for training camp last year. Rudolph’s timetable is considerably more condensed, which likely led to the delay in the veteran tight end signing his Giants contract. Engram and Rudolph would give the Giants one of the NFL’s top tight end tandems, but the former’s injury history and the latter’s current issue cloud that situation to some degree.

Here is more from the NFC East:

  • GM Howie Roseman and Eagles scouts had differing opinions on which players to select with the team’s top two draft choices last year. The veteran GM and Eagles coaches’ preference for Jalen Reagor won out over the consensus scouts’ preference: Justin Jefferson. Roseman also veered from his scouts’ recommendation in Round 2, tabbing Jalen Hurts over safety Jeremy Chinn, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. The Eagles will bank on the latter move this season, having since traded Carson Wentz and seemingly signed Joe Flacco to back up Hurts. Chinn went to the Panthers at No. 64 — 11 picks after Hurts — and finished second in the Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. Going to the Vikings one pick after Reagor, Jefferson finished second in the Offensive Rookie of the Year voting.
  • Frank Reich‘s future took a major turn in 2018, when Josh McDaniels‘ backtracking on his Colts commitment ended up re-routing the Eagles OC to Indianapolis. This came shortly after Reich played a key role in the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship. Reich nearly saw his status change in 2017, however. A front office push for Reich’s firing existed, according to McLane, who adds Doug Pederson managed to save Reich’s job. In Wentz’s first season — a 7-9 Eagles campaign, which was also Reich’s first as Eagles OC — the team ranked 22nd in total offense. They rose to seventh in 2017, with Wentz finishing first in QBR. The Eagles, who promoted Mike Groh to replace Reich and then fired Groh after the 2019 season, have since hired Reich’s top Colts protégé (Nick Sirianni) as head coach.
  • Brandon Graham agreed to restructure his deal to provide the Eagles with additional cap space last month. Graham’s adjusted contract can be classified as a one-year extension, with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweeting the new deal is worth nearly $20MM over two years. The Eagles converted Graham’s salaries into prorated bonuses, with the 11-year veteran set to earn barely $1MM in base salary in each of the next three seasons. The team tacked on three void years to the contract, per OverTheCap, which indicates each of Graham’s cap numbers over the life of this through-2023 contract are south of $10MM.
  • After hiring Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator, the Cowboys brought both Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee over from Atlanta. The latter’s deal will be worth the veteran minimum, according to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer (on Twitter). Kazee will count just $988K against the Cowboys’ cap. Attempting to return from an Achilles tear, Kazee will collect $250K guaranteed.

Carson Wentz Fallout: Hurts, Patriots, Pederson

The Carson Wentz era in Philadelphia came to an end today, as the former second-overall pick was dealt to the Colts. However, just because Wentz was sent packing, that doesn’t necessarily mean Jalen Hurts will slide into the starting spot. Sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen that the Eagles intend to bring in “competition” at quarterback, and the “starting job is not expected to automatically go to Hurts.”

The Eagles made a significant commitment to Hurts when they selected him in the second round of last year’s draft, and the former Alabama/Oklahoma standout showed flashes of potential during the 2020 season. Hurts ultimately started four of his 15 appearances this past season, completing 52 percent of his passes for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions. He added another 354 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 63 carries.

It’s pretty clear that Hurts is the heir apparent at the quarterback spot, so this report is probably mostly lip service … teams don’t want their young players to rest on their laurels. Rather, the team is likely looking toward a veteran free agent who will provide some extra motivation to the young signal caller.

Let’s check out some more Wentz-centric notes:

  • The Colts ended up sending Philly a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick. According to Zak Keefer of The Athletic, Indy’s offer “hadn’t changed all that much across 10 days of negotiations.” The Colts front office ultimately believed the compensation was “fair,” and they never intended to “meet the Eagles’ initial demands of multiple first-round picks.” Per Keefer, the Colts understood that Wentz wasn’t their only option to replace Philip Rivers, and the front office was weighing other options while negotiating with Philadelphia.
  • We learned earlier today that the Bears had inquired on Wentz but never made a definitive offer. The same goes for the Patriots. According to Jeff Howe of the The Athletic, New England called the Eagles about the quarterback but lost interest when they heard the asking price. As the reporter notes, the Patriots are unlikely to “overpay for a veteran if it’s not a perfect fit,” especially at this point in the offseason.
  • How did it get to this point between Wentz and the Eagles? ESPN’s Tim McManus writes that the drafting of Hurts may have marked the “beginning of the end,” but there were plenty of additional factors that came into play during the 2020 season. As the Eagles losses and injuries continued to mount, (former) head coach Doug Pederson stripped Wentz of “much of his control over the offense.” As a result, Wentz vicariously lost faith in his head coach and the system.
  • Wentz didn’t just lose faith in Pederson. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Wentz “lost faith in [general manager Howie Roseman‘s] decision making. Wentz held a similar sentiment toward owner Jeffrey Lurie, who supported his GM and the front office’s decision to select Hurts in the second round.

Fallout From Doug Pederson Firing: Eagles, Wentz, Staff

Monday was a pivotal day in Eagles franchise history, as the team fired Super Bowl winning coach Doug Pederson. There’s been a lot trickling out since then, and we’re here to bring you all the fallout from the decision:

  • This all has been “boiling” since last offseason, when owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman pressured Pederson to fire offensive coordinator Mike Groh, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. A source told McLane that Pederson actually threatened to quit over it, but Eagles brass didn’t take it seriously. We noted in our initial writeup yesterday a report that “Pederson was sick of people telling him what to do.”
  • To that end, Lurie was apparently “underwhelmed” by the staffing suggestions Pederson made for the 2021 season when they met last week, a source told McLane. Pederson apparently wanted to promote from within, as McLane reports he wanted to promote QBs coach Press Taylor to offensive coordinator and to “bump up defensive line coach Matt Burke to defensive coordinator.” Clearly Lurie was more inclined to bring in bigger names from outside the organization, and it sounds like this was a sticking point in the ultimate divorce.
  • Finally, McLane points out in another tweet that Roseman will now be on his fourth head coach (third that he’ll hire), after Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, and Pederson. McLane writes that “Pederson and Roseman had decreasingly seen eye to eye on personnel.” Roseman is turning into somewhat of a polarizing figure, but he clearly has a lot of power.
  • One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind when the decision came down was what it meant for Carson Wentz. It might be good news for the former second overall pick, as a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that the firing “significantly increases the chances” of Wentz staying in Philly next season (Twitter link). We had heard just before the end of the regular season that the relationship between Wentz and Pederson was fractured beyond repair, and this could be a sign that Lurie and Roseman believe Wentz should be the quarterback in 2021. The increased likelihood of Wentz returning was confirmed by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who added that had Pederson been retained Wentz would’ve wanted out (Twitter video link).
  • Lurie released a statement through the team explaining the decision and thanking Pederson, which you can read via this tweet. Not surprisingly, he said Pederson will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame.
  • The Eagles also tweeted a statement from Pederson, thanking the team, the city, and the fans.
  • We’ve already heard the team is interested in Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, but Lurie also said at his press conference explaining the decision that assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley would be a candidate for the job. Staley is very popular in the locker room and a number of former players immediately voiced support for him on social media, but that still seems like a pretty big long-shot.

Eagles HC Doug Pederson Uncertain To Return

Earlier this month, we heard that the Eagles were expected to retain head coach Doug Pederson. However, sources tell Chris Mortensen and Tim McManus of ESPN.com that owner Jeffrey Lurie is not confident in Pederson’s vision and that Lurie will meet with his HC soon to hash things out (Twitter link).

The elephant in the room, of course, is quarterback Carson Wentz, whose struggles have been (fairly or not) attributed to Pederson, and recent reports indicate that the relationship between Wentz and Pederson is fractured beyond repair. However, Mortensen and McManus say that Lurie is not just concerned about the Wentz issue, and as NFL insider Adam Caplan tweets, Lurie is worried about the direction of the offense in general. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer adds that Pederson and GM Howie Roseman — whose job is safe — are growing farther apart on personnel issues, and Pederson himself is upset that Lurie forced him to fire offensive coordinator Mike Groh last year and might insist on more changes this year.

Pederson earned his stripes as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator from 2013-15, and while his team finished in the bottom fourth of the league in total offense this year, the rash of injuries the Eagles sustained at wide receiver and along the O-line were certainly a major factor in that performance. But injuries aside, the offense has not looked the same since former OC Frank Reich left for the Colts several years ago, which appears to be the source of Lurie’s consternation.

Still, after Pederson guided the Eagles to the Lombari Trophy following the 2017 campaign, his club managed to qualify for the playoffs in each of the next two seasons, despite dealing with myriad injuries in those years as well. He owns a 42-37-1 regular season record in his five-year head coaching career, a mark that looked a lot better before the Eagles collapsed into a 4-11-1 finish in 2020.

If Lurie elects to part ways with Pederson, he will have some catching up to do. The six clubs with head coaching vacancies are already well underway with their coaching searches, and it’s unclear how the top candidates feel about the Eagles’ QB situation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Aren’t “Talking About” Carson Wentz Trade

Carson Wentz wants out, but the Eagles aren’t in any rush. Trading the quarterback is “not anything we’re talking about right now,” GM Howie Roseman says (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com). 

[RELATED: Eagles’ Ertz Wants To Stay]

Even after getting the hook for rookie Jalen Hurts, the Eagles are said to still have faith in Wentz. Wentz, meanwhile, is frustrated. That’s been brewing for a while — he was annoyed with the surprise second-round selection of Hurts back in the spring.

It’s quite possible that Roseman is simply looking to maintain leverage. Major changes are coming to the Eagles no matter what, and the shakeup could include the departure of Zach Ertz. Meanwhile, head coach Doug Pederson will stay on board, according to a recent report. The two have butted heads, so Philly might not be big enough for both of them.

Trading Wentz before the third day of the league year would result in a dead cap charge of ~$34MM. Cutting Wentz would dead cap hit of nearly $60MM. Even if it’s spread out over two years, that’s a cap killer. Frank Reich — the former Eagles OC who could lose Philip Rivers to retirement — may look to reunite with his one-time protege.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

John Dorsey Working As Consultant For Eagles

Former Chiefs and Browns general manager John Dorsey has been “quietly” working for the Eagles over the past few months, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (via Twitter). The 60-year-old has been serving as a consultant for general manager Howie Roseman.

According to Garafolo, the Eagles have been focused on strengthening their “talent evaluation,” especially following the departures of Joe Douglas (Jets) and Andrew Berry (Browns). Dorsey is thought of “extremely highly inside that building,” and he could potentially stick around for a full-time role in 2021.

Of course, Dorsey would probably prefer a GM gig, and there have been some rumblings that he could be a candidate for potential openings. Earlier this month, we heard that the Texans were planning to interview the executive for their GM vacancy.

Dorsey has been chased out of both Kansas City and Cleveland, but he’s also a big reason why both of those teams are currently successful. For the Chiefs, Dorsey was responsible for drafting MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes, wideout Tyreek Hill, and tight end Travis Kelce. While the Browns struggled during their first two seasons with Baker Mayfield at the helm, the team has taken a step forward this year. Dorsey’s other acquisitions and selections, including cornerback Denzel Ward, running backs Nick Chubb, and defensive notables Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon, have also played major roles this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Zach Ertz: I’m Not Sure If Eagles Want Me Here

Sep. 13: Rapoport says that Ertz and GM Howie Roseman got into an animated and heated discussion after a practice this week (video link). That discussion took place in front of several players, leading Rapoport to speculate that Ertz’s future in Philadelphia may be even more in doubt.

In a subsequent tweet, however, RapSheet said that the exchange also included owner Jeffrey Lurie and ended on a professional note. So clearly there is some tension there, but the situation does not appear to be beyond repair.

Sep. 10: Eagles tight end Zach Ertz says he wants to stay in Philadelphia, but he doesn’t “know for sure if that feeling is mutual,” (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Talks recently broke off between the Eagles and Ertz, who characterized the process as “frustrating at times” and “difficult.”

Ertz is believed to be eyeing numbers similar to those achieved by George Kittle and Travis Kelce, who pushed the TE ceiling to $15MM per year. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ last offer to the 29-year-old was reportedly worth less over the next four years than Austin Hooper‘s four-year, $42MM Browns deal. Of course, it’s important to note the framing of those numbers – Ertz has two years to go on his current deal, so the mashup of old money and new money isn’t exactly fair.

Ertz is set to earn base salaries of $6.7MM and $8.3MM in 2020 and ’21, the final seasons of the five-year, $42.5MM pact he inked in 2016. Overall, that deal averages out to $8.5MM/year, which ranks seventh among TEs. With no guaranteed money to go, Ertz wants a raise, and additional security.

Last year, Ertz racked up 88 catches for 916 yards and six touchdowns – an especially solid stat line given the Birds’ up-and-down season. In 2018, he notched career highs in just about every category with 116 receptions (also an NFL record for TEs), 1,163 yards, and eight touchdowns. A Pro Bowler in each of his last three seasons, Ertz has 525 grabs, 5,743 receiving yards, and 35 touchdowns to his credit across seven pro seasons. Meanwhile, he’s led the team in catches and receiving yards in each of the last four seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Eagles Notes: Roseman, Weidl, Wentz

The departure of Joe Douglas to the Jets has let to some front office shuffling for the Eagles. This week, the Eagles officially added the title of GM to Howie Roseman‘s nameplate and elevated Andy Weidl from director of player personnel to vice president of player personnel.

Andy was raised in a great scouting community with the Steelers, Saints, and Ravens and then came to Philadelphia at the same time that we hired Joe,” Roseman said in a statement. “He’s grown from assistant director of player personnel to director of player personnel and really deserves an opportunity to run the scouting department on a day-to-day basis as the vice president of player personnel. We’re excited about Andy.”

The Eagles will now forge ahead without Douglas in a quest to capture another Super Bowl ring. Here’s the latest from Philly:

  • Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of the Eagles’ front office shuffle, from Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter): The team has two main arteries – a football operations department and a player personnel department. Andrew Berry is atop football operations while Weidl is atop player personnel. Both execs will funnel up to Roseman, who is atop the chart.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap took a deep dive into Carson Wentz‘s extension, which is not as clear-cut as first believed.
  • Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wants a new contract, but he still showed up for mandatory minicamp.