Philadelphia Eagles Roundtable: 2015 Off-Season Grades


Trying to sum up the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2015 off-season in a sentence or two is nearly impossible. Jeffrey Lurie “promoted” Howie Roseman, while giving Chip Kelly (and eventual Ed Marynowitz) control over player personnel. Kelly dealt the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, to the Buffalo Bills, for his former college linebacker Kiko Alonso. Nick Foles, along with a couple draft picks, was sent to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford in perhaps the most shocking move of the entire off-season. Oh, and the Eagles lured DeMarco Murray away from their division rival — the Dallas Cowboys — while also adding in Ryan Mathews, in an attempt to replace McCoy.

Those feel like the biggest moves of the off-season, and that leaves out the six-year/$63 million deal that former Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Byron Maxwell. It also leaves out the entire 2015 Eagles’ draft class, which was highlighted by the first-round selection of USC wideout Nelson Agholor. And I won’t even mention the speculation firestorm that surrounded Kelly’s former college quarterback, who ended up with the Tennessee Titans.

The gist of the off-season is that Kelly built the team, or began building the team, in his image. He’ll be given a season or two to see if his plan works, but maybe with the exception of landing his quarterback, he’ll either succeed or fail at the NFL level having done things his way.

We polled some of our staff on their thoughts, grade-wise, on the Eagles’ busy — for lack of a better term — off-season. Here’s what they had to say.

Somers Price-Editor

Grade: B

The Eagles will most likely, for better or for worse, look back at the 2015 offseason as one of the more pivotal ones in franchise history.

In an effort to appease his greatest asset, Jeffrey Lurie gave Chip Kelly the control the coach deemed necessary in order to eliminate some of the lack-of-cohesion that had started to become an issue. Kelly, to the best of his abilities, reconfigured the roster to his liking and put a definitive stamp on his tenure.

The front office identified the players they preferred to move forward with, and swiftly moved out the ones they did not. Like him or not, Sam Bradford is an upgrade (from a talent standpoint) over Nick Foles. Rather than trading away a bounty of draft picks, Kelly got creative in trying to lock down his franchise quarterback.

Though some of the PR fallout from LeSean McCoy’s departure from Philadelphia certainly doesn’t paint Kelly in a positive light, there is nothing of substance to back up the claims and one could argue that acknowledging them would actually do more damage.

All in all, there are very little negatives to point to in an otherwise solid Eagles off-season with the potential to be a defining one.

Jason Ferrie-Senior Staff Writer

Grade: B-

The Eagles had quite an interesting off-season. The acquisition of Sam Bradford draws a ton of attention and criticism, but it should. While the team is only locked with Bradford for a year, if he doesn’t work, the Eagles are back to looking for their guy.

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Losing Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy isn’t ideal, but the DeMarco Murray/Ryan Mathews/Darren Sproles combo should cover the McCoy loss at a cheaper value. We will see if the Eagles can replace Maclin, which I am not sold on, but the design of the offense could allow less talented wide receivers to step up.

On defense, the addition of Kiko Alonso will help their line-backing core. Cutting ties with Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams and Nate Allen is positive because you can’t downgrade much from the production that the secondary gave the team a season ago. Sure, the Eagles overpaid for Byron Maxwell, but they needed to do it. I think this defense is the best they’ve had in some time, maybe even since the Jim Johnson days.

Overall, there is some risk, but a lot of upside and potential. I give the Eagles and Chip a B-.

Mike Lacy-Staff Writer

Grade: C

If we were going to grade the Eagles’ off-season based on entertainment value, I’d give them an A. If nothing else, this was an interesting time to be an Eagles fan, as the team seemed to make a headline-grabbing move just about every week.

Unfortunately, as any Washington Redskins fan could tell you, “winning the off-season” doesn’t necessarily translate into regular season wins.

The Eagles made a lot of big moves. They also spent a lot of money. But are they actually improved?

The defense appears to be better, but there still appear to be some holes. They likely won’t be a train wreck, but I don’t see this as a top 10 unit either.

On offense, they appear to have – at least in the short-term – gotten worse at offensive line and wide receiver, and I’m not sure how much better they could have gotten at running back when they already had one of the best groups in the league. Which means that any potential improvement rests on the shoulders of Sam Bradford.

If Bradford lives up to his potential, then the Eagles have indeed gotten better. But that might be the biggest “if” in the NFL right now. Counting on Sam Bradford didn’t work out very well for the Rams. Will it work out any better for the Eagles?

Denny Basens-Staff Writer

Grade: C-

Chip Kelly’s first off-season with full control have been littered with puzzling moves that scream inexperience.

A lot of the changes done on the offensive side of the ball were much too drastic and in some cases unnecessary, and with the number of new faces trying to learn a new scheme could set the offense up for a slow start.

Sending Nick Foles AND a second-round pick to the Rams for an injury-prone quarterback that hasn’t played in two years was a ridiculous move that I still don’t understand a little bit. Losing Jeremy Maclin was also an egregious mistake that forced the Birds to spend their top pick on a wideout, a move that could have been avoided if the team simply tagged Maclin.

Kelly also loses points for ignoring the offensive line for a second year in a row, and I also believe it was unnecessary to dump a great deal of money into the running back position. This was a deep draft, and the Birds would have better off signing just one veteran and then developing a young talent.

The best compliment I can give is the defensive improvements, but as a whole this off-season has been one step forward and two steps back.

Next: Poll: Sam Hinkie or Chip Kelly?