13 March 2015

The Eagles are having a truly bonkers offseason

Nobody really knew what Chip Kelly would do when he assumed control of all personnel decisions for the Philadelphia Eagles back in January and in only the first few days of free agency, Kelly has already left his mark on the franchise. And by the looks of it, Kelly is being as bold and borderline crazy in doing so.

Kelly kicked things off almost two weeks ago by trading star running back LeSean McCoy to the Bills straight up for linebacker Kiko Alonso. I thought it was a pretty good move on his behalf as McCoy has already had a lot of mileage on him already with over 1,400 carries and 300 receptions and did decline in production this past season, for a talented linebacker that should help the porous Philadelphia pass defense. There certainly is some risk with the as Alonso missed last season with a torn ACL but all in all, I think Kelly made a good move here.

Things started to get wild shortly thereafter as the team gave a significant six-year, $63 million contract, with $25 million guaranteed, to cornerback Byron Maxwell. Maxwell, formerly of the Seahawks, is very talented and appears to be a good fit for the Philadelphia defensive scheme, but he is also largely unproven. He only has 17 starts over the course of his career and while he has had his moments, is he really worse this kind of money? The team has a desperate need for cornerbacks and eventually added another former Seahawk in Walter Thurmond for pretty cheap but he has also always struggled to stay healthy.

Kelly then made another bold trade in order to shore up the quarterback position by swinging a trade with the St. Louis Rams, sending Nick Foles, a fourth-round pick in this year's draft and a sixth-round pick in next year's draft west in exchange for Sam Bradford, a fifth-round pick this year and a conditional pick next year. Trading for Bradford, and with such a relatively disappointing draft pick return, seems odd considering that Bradford still has an enormous contract (paying him a good $13 million in the last year of his deal), has had tremendous difficulty staying healthy and has been a disappointing when he has been healthy. While I think the mobility aspect to Kelly's offense is a little overrated (it didn't hurt Foles during his tremendous 2013 campaign), the fact that Bradford struggles at throwing downfield, and seems to avoid doing so, makes him a weird shift for this offense. Given that Kelly also gave a surprising amount of money to Mark Sanchez, who did show flashes last year, it is not quite certain what Kelly has in store for his quarterbacks.

It also is not entirely certain what Kelly has in store for his running backs. After it appeared that Frank Gore had signed with the Eagles until he ultimately signed with the Colts, they then appeared to sign Ryan Mathews before coming to terms with DeMarco Murray for a five-year, $42 million contract with $21 million guaranteed. It did seem interesting that after parting with McCoy seemingly with his contract being a factor, they spend some coin on another running back. Now while Murray is probably a better fit for the Kelly offense than McCoy and he is coming off a fantastic 2014 season, he also carried the ball a tremendous amount last year and likely (although not necessarily) bound for a step backward. He also has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, his first full season coming this past season.

Perhaps his prior durability issues are why the Eagles also ended up bringin in Mathews after all. They got Mathews for relatively cheap (three years, $11.5 million with $5 million guaranteed) but the reason that is is that why he is talented, he has never been able to stay healthy and has been a relative disappointment during his career. Now they have Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles in the backfield and with only one football, it still seems questionable as to what they will do offensively.

Now I don't think all of their offseason work thus far has been questionable as their re-signing of Brandon Graham at a good price (four years and $26 million) made sense. But it seems like Kelly is employing some of his mad genius traits, albeit with only time telling if the "genius" part applies.

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