Eagles: Chip Kelly Doesn’t Care What Anyone Thinks
Did you just see that thing fly by? It’s called conventional wisdom and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has thrown it right out the window.
No matter what me, you or anyone else thinks the Eagles should do, it doesn’t matter. Kelly is going to do what he wants, whether you like it or not. He could care less about which player is a “fan favorite”, jersey sales and all of those things.
In 2013, the first year of Kelly’s tenure in Philadelphia, things were relatively quiet in terms of major roster moves. Then before the 2014 season, he kicked star wide receiver DeSean Jackson to the curb for reasons that still aren’t clear to this day. But that was all before Kelly received total control of all football decisions for the Eagles this off-season.
Now it’s all in his hands, it’s officially “Chip’s Ship.” Although the Eagles are coming off consecutive 10-win seasons, it clearly wasn’t good enough for Kelly’s standards. So what did he do? He made some more controversial personnel decisions.
First they released tight end James Casey, in which the birds saved $4 million in cap space. Then came the release of long time Eagle offensive linemen Todd Herremans. Following that, cornerback Cary Williams was cut, which many fans celebrated since he didn’t have the most success while in Philadelphia. Then Kelly followed that up with the release of another home-grown fan favorite, outside linebacker Trent Cole. But that wasn’t all, that was only the beginning.
In a bombshell deal that nobody was expecting, Kelly traded arguably the team’s best player. He shipped running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for one of his former players at Oregon, linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Sure enough, that started up all the “Duck bias” and “Oreagles” nonsense again. But Kelly doesn’t care how anyone reacts to these moves. He obviously didn’t think McCoy was worth keeping around and got a potential Pro Bowl defensive player in exchange for him.
Kiko Alonso is coming off a major knee injury but has had over a full season to recover. He should be ready for the beginning of training camp and would form a dangerous linebacker group with fellow Eagles, Mychal Kendricks and Connor Barwin.
But hey, at this pace, who knows if Kendricks or Barwin will even be in Philadelphia next season? It’s clear that with Chip Kelly at the helm, nobody is safe.
In all seriousness though, all of these moves make sense to a certain extent. Releasing Casey, Herremans, Williams and Cole was all a matter of saving money. They weren’t performing at the level in which they were being paid to, thus they were let go.
As far as the McCoy for Alonso trade goes, not only did the Eagles get great value by acquiring a young linebacker with an insane amount of potential, they also gained $10 million or so in cap space. That money alone may allow Philadelphia to sign one of the top defensive players on the market such as cornerback Byron Maxwell or safety Devin McCourty.
Now this is pure speculation but the next couple of moves will likely be the release of linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Which only makes sense with both Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso now in town…unless Kendricks is somehow traded, then Ryans may stick around on a restructured deal. Then there’s another potential blockbuster deal to move up to the top portion of the draft so Kelly can finally get “his guy”, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Of course they also have to figure out what’s going on with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin as well. It would be ideal for the team to re-sign him before he hits the open market. But according to CSN Philadelphia’s Geoff Mosher, there’s now a 50/50 chance that Maclin returns to the Eagles. Which is significantly lower than what ESPN’s Adam Caplan expected months ago.
Then next Tuesday, March 10th at 4 PM EST, free agency will officially begin. That’s when everyone will really be able to gauge where exactly Kelly is going with this master plan. With over $50 million available in cap space and plenty of holes to fill, the Eagles will surely be major players in free agency.
Bottom line is that Chip Kelly clearly doesn’t care what anybody else thinks. Whether that is a good thing or not has yet to be seen. But with back to back 10-win seasons in his first two years as a head coach in the NFL, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
One thing is for sure, it’s going to be an interesting off-season for the Philadelphia Eagles. So strap in for the ride and be prepared for any unexpected twists, turns and loops along the way.
Next: Philadelphia Eagles: Best Options to Replace Todd Herremans
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