The Eagles "parted ways with" (read: fired) VP of Player Personnel Tom Gamble on Wednesday afternoon. What does it mean? While it's hard to say with 100% certainty, many have come to the same conclusion. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer summed it up:
"The Eagles' balance of power over player acquisition shifts back to Howie Roseman. Chip Kelly was given last offseason and team regressed."
Reports indicate that Kelly and Gamble were close, so if those two were truly responsible for the failures of the 2014 offseason, it's not a total surprise to see why Gamble is gone. Philadelphia's 2014 NFL Draft class was relatively disappointing, at least in terms of immediate impact. First round pick Marcus Smith only played 105 snaps during the entire season. Kelly's influence over the draft was clear: the team selected two players from Oregon in Josh Huff and Taylor Hart. The Eagles acquired some good players in free agency such as Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sproles (via trade), but failed to address some weaknesses, such as cornerback, despite having ample cap space to do so. The team also released DeSean Jackson while getting nothing back in return and gave a contract extension to Riley Cooper, who majorly struggled in 2014.
So perhaps the motive to fire Gamble, as McLane suggested, was to lessen Kelly's power and restore balance. Many have pointed out that the last draft that Roseman had full power over was in 2012. That class has turned out to be pretty successful so far: Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry, Nick Foles, and Brandon Boykin have all had varying degrees of success. Perhaps the restoration of balance is a good thing.
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Or maybe it's not. Maybe Roseman having more power isn't a good thing. He doesn't exactly have a flawless track record. Jeffrey Lurie absolved Roseman of blame for the failures of the 2010 and 2011 draft classes, but it's hard to imagine he didn't have some kind of role in that process. Roseman was also around for the Eagles 'Dream Team' debacle of free agent signings in 2011. Andy Reid ultimately ended up accountable for those failures when the team fired him after the 2012 season.
Another aspect to this is what if Kelly and Roseman don't really get along? Kelly described his relationship with Roseman earlier this week merely in a one-word answer: "good." He then went on to praise Roseman's work with the salary cap but didn't really mention his football evaluation skills. Kelly did talk about Gamble's skills in evaluation, however.
If Kelly and Roseman don't get along, eventually it could be one of them that's headed out the door. The organization seems high on both, so it doesn't seem like it's at the point of "one or the other" just yet. There may be reason for concern that this will end up like the 2014 San Francisco 49ers situation, however, where things got messy between head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke. 49ers owner Jed York sided with Baalke, and Harbaugh, despite being extremely successful in San Francisco, was fired.
Needless to say, the Eagles 2015 offseason is off to an interesting start. It'll only be more interesting to see where things go from here.