It's been a wild and crazy free agency period for the Eagles and the NFL's new league year is only three days. Let's talk about what's going on in Philadelphia.
DeMarco Murray to visit Philly
News of the Eagles interest in Murray first emerged on Tuesday and was lost in the Sam Bradford trade madness. Then the interest re-emerged on Wednesday with reports that Murray himself called Chip Kelly. Eagles players, including Murray's former roommate/teammate Sam Bradford, have been recruiting him on social media. And now he's visiting Philly.
But why would the Eagles want Murray? How does it make sense? Didn't they just sign Ryan Mathews? Didn't the Eagles get rid of LeSean McCoy because of his ~$12 million salary in 2015?
These are all fair questions. Depending on the money, Murray might not exactly make much sense for the Eagles. He's also a big risk due to his past injury history and the heavy workload he took in 2014. Dallas ran him into the ground. Maybe Murray is just using the Eagles as leverage and trying to drive up the price for what it would take the Cowboys to keep him. If so, Philadelphia could be forcing Dallas into an overpay, which seems like a clever operation to use against a division rival.
But perhaps that's not the case and the Eagles really envision adding Murray to a deep and talented backfield. The Eagles were at their best in 2013 because they had an elite rushing attack. Chip Kelly loves to run the ball and he could find a way to split the touches. Pairing Bradford with a really strong ground game could be the best way to set him up to succeed in Philly.
Chip Kelly's surprise press conference
Kelly wasn't even scheduled to speak until late in March at the owner's meetings but he made a surprise appearance yesterday. It seemed to me like some of the anger and confusion regarding the Eagles offseason moves was toned down once he spoke. It might not be clear what exactly Kelly is planning to do, but whatever it is he's doing it with confidence. The guy's swagger is unmistakable. He's so good on that mic that I'm pretty convinced he would do just fine as a WWE manager (step aside, Paul Heyman). Time will tell if this is just false bravado or if Kelly's plan, whatever it is, will really work out.
The thing with Chip Kelly is that he's so unpredictable that you can't rule anything out. For fans, that's both extremely exciting and terrifying.
Coming around on Sam Bradford
The reaction to the Sam Bradford trade was obviously not very positive. Over 85% of voters were against the deal. Over 24 hours later, the trade still doesn't look great by any means. There's still a lot of reason for skepticism and always will be considering Bradford's injury history.
But now the pure emotional reaction to the trade is over. And at the very least, perhaps Eagles fans can find a little comfort in Bradford's introductory press conference. I noted yesterday that he gave off a good first impression. He seems to be confident and poised. Of course, no one will (rightfully) care about this kind of thing if he can't perform on the field or stay healthy.
It will be very interesting to see if Kelly can get the most out of Bradford. It'll be even more interesting to see what "the most out of Bradford" looks like. I don't doubt that Kelly can maximize his performance since he's proven to be a good coach. I don't think Bradford will be flat out bad. I do wonder how really good he can be, however. He might be an upgrade on Nick Foles, but to what extent? Will the team be able to compete for a championship with him at the helm? I have my doubts, as should everyone.
Marcus Mariota dream still alive?
Jimmy Kempski isn't ready to rule it out. He notes that the Eagles haven't approached Bradford about a contract extension. Until the Eagles actually commit to Bradford in the long-term, Mariota can't be ruled out.
I don't disagree with Kempski. In the meantime, however, I'm operating under the assumption that Bradford is likely the guy and Mariota won't be in Philly. But I won't completely rule it out either.
Legion of Boom Lite?
The Eagles signed cornerback Walter Thurmond on Wednesday morning. It's unclear if he'll be playing on the outside or inside. Kelly said that Thurmond is expected to compete with Nolan Carroll and Brandon Boykin to see who the team's second starting cornerback will be opposite of Byron Maxwell. It doesn't seem likely that Boykin will really be given the chance to compete on the outside despite Kelly's assertion. It seems like Thurmond has a pretty good chance to win the job. If that's the case, the Eagles will be starting two former Seattle cornerbacks. It might be a poor man's version of what the Seahawks have, but it's certainly better than what the Eagles have had in recent years.
The Eagles seem to be fine with taking chances on injured players: Bradford, Thurmond, Mathews, etc. Do they feel they have an edge with #SportsScience?
Linebacker logjam: if the Eagles are keeping DeMeco Ryans, how are they going to split up time between him, Kiko Alonso, and Mychal Kendricks?
The wide receiver market looks thin. Could the Eagles explore the trade options? Who is even available?
The Eagles still need a safety. The safety buzz has been kind of quiet lately. What are the Eagles planning here? Is Rahim Moore a possibility?
Jeremy Maclin looks happy to be a Chief:
Kansas City Chiefs (@KCChiefs) March 11, 2015