It is a tale as old as time (or at least the NFL). A member of a team's front office or coaching staff leaves for another organization and wants to build around guys they trust and who can handle their system and style. That is why it is not a surprise that teams like the Colts and Chiefs are peppered with former Eagles players, with former Philadelphia executives manning their front offices. Still, one team has seemingly made it their mission to acquire all the former Eagles talent that they can, and they are not being shy about it.
The Cleveland Browns have made a hobby out of collecting the Eagles leftovers over the last few years. Over the span of the last four offseason, Cleveland has acquired a plethora of former Philadelphia talent. In 2009, former Philadelphia general manager Tom Heckert traded for Eagles defensive starters, Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong. In 2010, the team signed former Eagles tight end Alex Smith along with wide receiver Jordan Norwood (who was on the practice squad) and traded for Mike Bell. The team signed cornerback Dimitri Patterson in 2011 and then signed defensive end Juqua Parker and claimed linebacker Adrian Moten off of waivers in 2012. Heckert was fired this offseason following the purchase of the team by Jimmy Haslam.
This offseason, the Browns infatuation with the bottom of the Eagles roster has been even more apparent, with the arrival of new CEO, Joe Banner, who served as the team president in Philadelphia. In the past three months, the Browns have traded for running back Dion Lewis, and claimed Ryan Rau and Miguel Maysonet off of waivers. The Maysonet move, which happened Monday afternoon, almost seemed like the Browns just claimed the young running back for fun (they waived Rau in a related move). The team currently has a very strong group at the position, with 6 other running backs on the roster, including Lewis.
But while the Browns may seem like they are just searching for scraps that were under-appreciated by the Eagles, Philadelphia has also made a habitat of collecting Browns throwaways under Howie Roseman. The 2009 trade of Gocong and Brown brought draft picks along with Alex Hall, who lasted just a few weeks with the team. In 2010, the team traded for running back Jerome Harrison (acquired in Bell trade). Last year, the team traded for David Sims just before the start of the season. When the team hired Chip Kelly this offseason, he was later joined by former Browns head coach Pat Shurmur (also a former Eagles QB coach) as offensive coordinator and former linebackers coach, Billy Davis, as defensive coordinator.
Obviously, the teams will be connected as long as Banner and Roseman reside over their respective organizations, but the team-to-team transactions have been ridiculously high. Several fans have joked about last year's frequent trade partner, the Colts, looking to be the "Eagles of the Midwest." but now it seems that the Browns are proudly taking that title. Still, it remains to be seen which team has truly found the treasure in the other team's trash. Either way, will it matter to anyone other than but the two executives?