Howie Roseman has been in charge of making choices for the future of the Philadelphia Eagles franchise, through the draft and free agency, for the last 11 years and his time may finally be up.
In 2010, the Philadelphia Eagles made Howie Roseman the youngest NFL General Manager at the age of 34 years old. Over the years, he has put together Super Bowl caliber rosters, become a savant in maneuvering through cap space and earned the respect of his peers.
With that being said, he must also be held accountable for the situation the franchise is in currently, sitting in last place in the NFC East with one of the worst rosters in the NFL. In recent years, head scratching free-agent signings and draft selections have seemed to slip under the rug, as each year people want to talk about how great Roseman is at creating cap space, rather than grading his personnel moves.
Let’s address how the last five years of personnel moves have gone for Roseman:
In 2016, Roseman had his best year as GM for the Eagles. He brought in by far his best free agent class, headlined by Brandon Brooks (5 yrs /$40 million), Rodney McLeod (5 yrs/$35 mil) and Nigel Bradham (2 yrs/$7 mil). These three players proved to be worth every dollar, with all three of them contributing to a Super Bowl victory in 2017. Brooks and McLeod have become leaders in the locker room for the Eagles over the course of their tenures here. This offseason, the team was somehow able to trade away Sam Bradford for a 1st and 4th round pick, a trade that will live in infamy for the Vikings. On the other hand, the franchise decided to trade Dennis Kelly to the Titans for Dorial Green-Beckham, a move that turned out to be brutal for the Eagles. After only one season, Green-Beckham was waived by the Eagles, while Kelly is still a serviceable offensive lineman for Tennessee. The 2016 draft was highlighted by #2 overall pick Carson Wentz, who was the obvious choice for the Eagles. The front office also hit on some late round draft picks, selecting Issac Seumalo (No. 79) and Jalen Mills (No. 233). Unfortunately for Roseman and the Eagles, who held picks 153 and 164, they missed out on All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill, who was picked No. 165. Overall, the 2016 offseason was a turning point for the Eagles, looking to build off of their newly drafted QB and revamped defense.
After finishing the season in last place of the NFC East, going 7-9, the Front Office knew they had to surround their franchise QB with viable weapons. In free-agency, Alshon Jeffery ($14 mil), Torrey Smith ($5 mil) and LeGarrette Blount ($2.8 mil) were brought in on 1-year contracts. On defense, Patrick Robinson ($775,000) was brought in to solidify the secondary, on a year deal. The team also brought back longtime starting QB Nick Foles (2 yrs/$11 mil) to serve as a backup to Wentz, and well, we all know how that story ends. Stefan Wisniewski and Trey Burton were also re-signed. To fortify their defense, Roseman was able to acquire Timmy Jernigan and Ronald Darby, in two separate trades. At the trade deadline, the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi to the Eagles for a fourth-round draft pick. Mid-season, Alshon Jeffery signed an extension for four years, worth $52.25 million, a deal the Eagles wish they could re-do. Up to this point the team had prepared itself for a deep playoff run and was looking to add young talent for the future. The 2017 draft has to one of the most disappointing to date for the Eagles. This can be looked at as a turning point for the franchise in terms of the future and missing on draft picks under Roseman’s watch. While No. 14 overall pick Derek Barnett has had his success with the team, their selections from rounds 2-4 hardly produced and are no longer with the franchise. Sidney Jones (No. 43), Rasul Douglas (No. 99), Mack Hollins (No. 118) and Donnel Pumphrey (No. 132) had trouble finding their groove on the Eagles and struggled to beat out undrafted players and free agent acquisitions while donning the midnight green. Missing out on pro bowlers such as James Conner (No. 105), Eddie Jackson (No. 112) and George Kittle (No. 146) makes one realize how poor the Eagles talent evaluation really is. One glimmer of hope for the franchise was that they were able to sign undrafted free agents Corey Clement, Cameron Johnston and Greg Ward. While the Front Office had built a Super Bowl winning team this year, the selections from this year’s draft can be seen as the turning point for the lack of young talent currently on the Philadelphia Eagles roster.
Re-tooling after a Super Bowl run is hard enough as it is, but to add onto that, having a quarterback come back from a torn ACL makes things even harder. The 2018 free-agency period was an interesting one for Roseman and the Eagles. Many players were not resigned this season, such as Blount, Burton and Robinson, all from the previous year’s FA class. The Front Office tried addressing the holes at linebacker by resigning Nigel Bradham for 5 years/$40 million and bringing in Corey Nelson and Paul Worrilow on one-year deals. Veterans Mike Wallace and Haloti Ngata were brought in on one-year deals also, however both were filling in positions that were occupied by younger players, while both of them were well past their primes. Tight end Richard Rodgers was also signed this offseason and has been a solid player over the last three seasons as his role has expanded. Another veteran, Michael Bennett was acquired via trade from the Seattle Seahawks. By far the most questionable move the franchise made was trading a 3rd round pick for Golden Tate at the trade deadline. Tate was not resigned the next offseason and inked a four-year deal with the division rival New York Giants. With only three selections in first four rounds of this draft, the franchise needed to find players who could make an immediate impact. The 2018 draft may have been one of the more successful under Roseman’s watch, selecting Dallas Goedert (No. 49), Avonte Maddox (No. 125) and Josh Sweat (No. 130). The highlight of this draft has to be seventh round selection Jordan Mailata, who had never played a snap of football in his life and played rugby for the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Mailata has shown he can be a starting left tackle in the NFL. The 2018 offseason seemed to be the opposite of 2017, they hit on almost all of their draft picks, and their free agent signings were nothing to write home about.
Heading into 2019, there was a clear focus on fortifying the Jim Schwartz led defense with numerous free agent signings. Malik Jackson (3 yrs/$30 mil) and Vinny Curry (1 yr/$2.25 mil) bolstered an already strong defensive line, while L.J. Fort (3 yrs/$5.5 million), Orlando Scandrick (1 yr/$1.12 mil) and Andrew Sendejo (1 yr/$1.3 mil) were also brought in, while Darby and Jernigan were also brought back on one-year deals. While these signings were promising, Fort never got a chance and is now playing well for the Ravens (according to PFF), Sendejo looked slow and was a liability, Scandrick looked like one of the worst cornerbacks in the league and Jackson was lost early in the season and put-on Injured Reserve. This offseason saw little changes to personnel on offense, with Ajayi, Rodgers and Darren Sproles all re-signed. The 2019 offseason was headlined by a reunion with DeSean Jackson after a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Other trades included acquiring Jordan Howard, Hassan Ridgeway and Duke Riley all in separate deals. The Eagles had three picks in the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL draft, selecting Andrew Dillard (No. 22), Miles Sanders (No. 53) and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (No. 57). While Dillard showed promise in his first season, he tore his bicep in training camp for the 2020 season. Miles Sanders has shown that he can be a top-10 running back in the NFL when treated like an every down back, something the Eagles have yet to commit to. And then there is Arcega-Whiteside, who has been one of the biggest busts in recent memory. JJAW was taken ahead of DK Metcalf, Dionte Johnson and Terry McLaurin, all of whom have cemented themselves as promising young wide receivers. Howie Roseman will forever be attached to picking Arcega-Whiteside over Metcalf. The 2019 off-season’s only glimmer of hope remains in what Dillard and Sanders can do for the Eagles, as most other signings and acquisitions were all below average at best.
Now to present day 2020, where the Eagles sit in last place at 3-7-1. The most controversial decision in years came at the beginning of this offseason, with Malcolm Jenkins getting released. He along with Bradham signed with the Saints after being released and are costing the Eagles a combined $11.4 million in dead cap money. Heading into this season the team, yet again, bolstered its defense with free agent signings. Four veteran players were signed to go along with the re-signing of Mills and McLeod: Javon Hargrave (3 yrs/$39 mil), Will Parks (1 yr/$1.6 mil), Nickell Robey-Coleman (1 yr/$1.3 mil) and Jatavis Brown (1 yr/$1.047 mil). The most shocking news came when Brown announced his retirement before the season began in August, which left the team looking to fill the linebacker position yet again. On December 1st, Will Parks was released by the Eagles, a move that no one still quite understands after he never got a real chance. Hargrave and Robey-Coleman have both been inconsistent to this point, however Hargrave looks to keep improving alongside Fletcher Cox. On offense, the team brought back Jason Peters on a one-year deal. The coaching staff has continually play him more than Mailata over the first half of the season, despite Peters allowing the most sacks on the team. Jamon Brown was brought in mid-season to try to help fix an extremely depleted offensive line, a move that lasted all but one game where he played awful. While it is tough to grade any of the 2020 draft picks after this dumpster fire of a season, one thing is all but evident, the selection of Jalen Hurts caused an unnecessary QB conversation. It was reported that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wanted to target Jeremy Chinn with their second-round pick, however Howie Roseman had the final say, and drafted Jalen Hurts. The Front Office tried to address the lack of youth and speed at the wide receiver selection, picking three receivers in rounds one, five and six. Apart from first round pick Jalen Reagor, both other receivers John Hightower and Quez Watkins are getting less reps than older injury riddled receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson.
The head scratching decisions of Howie Roseman can be traced back to well before 2016, yet in this short period of time, there have been numerous bad decisions. Whether it is signing players who are past their prime, to contracts for what they have done in previous years, or flat out disregarding what personnel and coaches want in the draft, Roseman’s decisions have put the Eagles in a very, very tough position with a grim future. And Now he is tasked with the decision of paying Zach Ertz as a top tight end, while Goedert is waiting to be TE1.
We will see if he can work his magic yet again and get out of the cap hell that the Eagles will be stuck in for next season and possibly well beyond that. Roseman’s time with the Eagles could be close to up.