Philadelphia Eagles On Marcus Mariota Magical Mystery Tour


Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota does the long jump during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles On Marcus Mariota Magical Mystery Tour

It’s insane.  It’s a pipe dream.  But the story that wouldn’t die has more life than ever as free agency opens and the 2015 NFL draft looms large in the not-too-distant future.  Despite the Philadelphia Eagles sitting at the 20th pick of the 2015 draft, and the spot that will successfully select Oregon quarterback into the NFL likely being in the top five, fans and media are actively campaigning and brainstorming for a scenario that does not sound TOO far fetched, that does not sound TOO out of control, that does not sound TOO optimistic.   What we are now left with is a gentleman’s agreement to wait for Mariota to drop to the sixth pick of the NFL draft, and then back a truck up with picks and players to the doors of the New York Jets for the rights to select a rookie quarterback.   We do not have a number one wide receiver.   We have only 50% of a starting defensive backfield.   We’ve lost veterans with many years and history and in their place have questions.  But it’s all okay if we just get quarterback Marcus Mariota…

As the lyrics to the song say:
Roll up, They’ve got everything you need
Roll up for the Mystery Tour
Roll up, Satisfaction guaranteed
Roll up for the Mystery Tour

The Magical Mystery Tour is hoping to take you away
Hoping to take you away

Or is it?

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One thing that free agency is not- all successes.   In any free agency period, there are those you win, and those you lose.  With so many “leaks” of who the Eagles were interested in, it was easy for a head coach like Bill Belichick to convince safety Devin McCourty to take less money and focus on wins, losses, and championships.   With the stories swirling about running back LeSean McCoy wanting more money, so he found himself getting a pay raise, but from the Buffalo Bills, it swayed wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to take his show on the road to a familiar face at Kansas City where it will not be about statistics, but about more money and a familiar face in former head coach Andy Reid.

And so it goes.

So far the Eagles have signed cornerback Byron Maxwell, running back Frank Gore, quarterback Mark Sanchez, and made tender offers to defensive end Cedric Thornton and running back Chris Polk.  But there are many holes yet to fill.   The team currently needs a starting outside linebacker, safety and a cornerback on defense.  They also need a starting wide receiver, running back and offensive guard on offense.

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  • The team has had years of very active free agency.  They have had years of very significant NFL drafts.  But after a ten win six loss season, many expected the Eagles to focus on the defense.   It seemed almost automatic that Jeremy Maclin would be resigned to the team (he reassured fans frequently on twitter).   When the cuts came to the team, they happened deeper and more pronounced than many expected.

    As we learn each year, and forget by the end of each NFL season, for every hole in the roster, we need to find a player who can fit our scheme, work for the contract we offer them, and give us a solid return for our investment.  Sometimes the scheme is not a fit, sometimes the money and the contract terms just do not line up.   Free agency, much like college recruiting but with open dollars being the deciding factor, requires a long term investment in the well being of the player and an alignment of the team vision with the players anticipation of where they want to be someday.

    Somehow, the laws of economics and physics are expected to be suspended this year, so that the team can get the player Chip wants  because “Chip wants to play with HIS guys”.  That’s tough to accomplish with the rules set up in the NFL to prevent just such an event from happening.   Free agency is not just about making your team better, but other teams worse.   The NFL draft works that way as well.

    With an Eagles picking fourth in the 2013 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins traded up to the third spot to select outside linebacker Dion Jordan.  With the next pick, the Eagles selected offensive tackle Lane Johnson.   Dion Jordan has not lived up to expectations yet in a Dolphins uniform, while Johnson has certainly anchored the right side of the Eagles offensive line.  Was Jordan worth the trade up?  In hindsight, likely no.  But at the time, they felt it was very important to keep the pairing of a rookie outside linebacker and a rookie head coach from Oregon from happening in the NFL.

    That’s how the game is played in the NFL folks.  Like it or not, a trade up to get a quarterback in this draft will tempt virtually every general manager to ask a price that is borderline insanity – even knowing full well that they have no interest in Mariota.  If they get their price?  Then they laugh all the way to the bank.  If not? They select the player they wanted all along and let the next team down the line have fun asking an exorbitant price from the Eagles.  Mission accomplished.  Head coach who can win in the NFL is thwarted at getting HIS quarterback.

    This team was very close to a playoff at the end of 2014.   Right now, before free agency is officially here and before the draft, enough dominoes fell the wrong way to safely say that the team is going to struggle to remain at .500 this season.  We just don’t have the horses we once did.  Perhaps in your view it all works out if we get Marcus Mariota.   Perhaps the shortcomings of this team are overlooked if we get a rookie quarterback under center and hope he figures out the offense by the time the season starts.

    I think Marcus Mariota is an incredibly gifted young man.  But I think that is a little bit much to ask of any rookie.

    The Mariota Mystery Tour is hoping to take you away
    Hoping to take you away

    Next: Philadelphia Eagles Save Room For Maclin And JUST Sanchez

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