Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has been extremely active at the beginning of the 2015 league year. As a result, we are further from the Andy Reid era of Philadelphia Eagles football than ever before. With the influx of new players, and the departure of quality veterans, the biggest question continues to loom: What do the Eagles do now? Despite Chip Kelly announcing at his press conference that he won’t mortgage the future by trading up, he’s backed himself into a corner on the Mariota issue. It’s my belief that in order for Chip Kelly to get Marcus Mariota, he had to get DeMarco Murray.
Go Joe Bruin
You will not find a harsher critic of DeMarco Murray’s market value than myself. I do not believe that Murray has the capabilities to reach his milestone year of 2014 regardless of his situation next season. His injury history could be lectured over during an entire semester at Villanova. Simply put, running backs that have had that many carries do not fare well soon thereafter. But Murray doesn’t need to be a long term solution for any team, he just needs to have a cap friendly figure. That’s where the Philadelphia Eagles came in. While the devil is always in the details, for all intents and purposes the Eagles didn’t break the bank to land Murray. While they paid a good amount, Murray surely was looking for more money at the start of free agency.
The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t have the salary available to compete with Oakland or Jacksonville, but they do have a history under Chip Kelly of winning 10 games a season. Murray surely wanted to get his market value after LeSean McCoy‘s new contract in Buffalo made him a very rich man. But he wants to stick it to the Cowboys as well. Revenge twice a year against Jones and the Cowboys could be all the financial incentive one needs.
For Chip Kelly however, there is the possibility of spurring real growth in his quest for Marcus Mariota. A hypothetical of not-so-ridiculous proportions is now feasable due to the Eagles doing the unthinkable: Signing DeMarco Murray. With Murray in the fold, the Eagles suddenly have a former number one pick in quarterback Sam Bradford, the leading rusher in the 2014 season in DeMarco Murray, and the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft. Oh, and how could we forget the now rampant rumors of guard Evan Mathis being on the trading block? It would certainly appear that particular bounty is more appealing than simply Nick Foles and the 20th overall pick right? And it would certainly allow the Eagles to move up, all while doing nearly nothing to change the nucleus of the team.
Looking at a team like the New York Jets, they have a need at running back, quarterback, and they arguably have a spot in the draft where Mariota could feasibly be available. With the departure of running back Chris Johnson to free agency (as well as the fact that he’s been shot this offseason), Murray would give new head coach Todd Bowles an excellent stopgap at running back. And despite Murray’s contract with the Eagles, the Jets are enough below the cap to be able to likely afford this cost. As for Bradford, he could push Geno Smith in a legitimate quarterback competition with little risk as Bradford is in the final year of his contract.
While far-fetched,nothing thus far this offseason has been in the realm of believable nor has it been predictable. The Philadelphia Eagles and Chip Kelly are moving forward with their plan, and I have to believe that the door has not been shut on Mariota. What do you think Eagles fans? Does Chip Kelly really pass on the “once in a generation” quarterback from Oregon? Or do they move forward with this group of unexpected and unpredictable newcomers?