Howie Roseman's track record since taking over as the general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010 is mediocre ... at best. Roseman has rightfully received his fair share of praise and criticism over the last six years. While you can debate the merits of various draft picks and free agency signings, two core issues remain:
1) The Eagles have not won a playoff game during Roseman's tenure.
2) The Eagles have not acquired a franchise quarterback during Roseman's tenure.
These issues are not unrelated. It's obviously hard for NFL teams to win in the post-season without having a good player at the most important position in all of sports.
In Roseman's return to power this offseason, the Eagles have done a lot to invest in the quarterback position. They hired a former NFL quarterback, Doug Pederson, as head coach. They hired Frank Reich, another former quarterback, to be the team's offensive coordinator. Quarterback coach John DeFilippo played the position in college and has over 16 years of experience coaching passers in both college and the NFL.
And that's just the coaching staff. Then there are the actual investments in quarterback talent. Sam Bradford was handed a two-year contract worth up to $35 million. Chase Daniel, who has started two games in his career, signed to a contract worth $21 million over three years.
The biggest investment in the quarterback position didn't come until one week before the NFL Draft, however. The Eagles traded a total of five picks, including a first round selection this year and next, to move up to the No. 2 overall pick. As if it wasn't already obvious, Roseman made it clear the Birds intend to select a passer with the second pick.
It goes without saying that trading a bunch of picks to be able to draft a rookie quarterback is a bold move. History suggests that there's a good chance it won't work out. Roseman himself seems fully aware of this possibility. He cautioned against trading up in the draft just one year ago. But he took the risk anyway.
Honestly, I think it's a risk worth taking. The Eagles did not have a franchise quarterback. They did not have a clear path to one. There's no guarantee the player they draft will be the answer to the solution. But even if that's the case, at least they tried.
I really think this trade is a win-win for the overall state of the Eagles. What I mean by that is in the best case scenario, the Eagles will have found their franchise quarterback. They will be legitimate championship contenders for a long period of time with a foundation in place. Roseman will deserve all the credit he gets for seeing a bold risk pay off.
In the worst case scenario, however, the Eagles might draft a total bust at No. 2. The quarterback will be really bad and it'll be clear the Eagles made a mistake. Someone will need to be held responsible for the move, and that person is Roseman. It'll be clear the Eagles need to clean house.
One of the biggest problems of the Roseman era is the lack of accountability that's taken place. It's never been perfectly clear exactly which moves belonged to him. Now that's no longer a problem. He's unquestionably responsible for this bold trade up to move up to No. 2. He was the one answering questions at a press conference immediately after the trade was announced. He's the one sticking his neck out there. There's no escaping blame this time.
And thus, the boom or bust nature of this trade will likely decide Roseman's fate. No longer will he be able to skirt by with mediocrity. There's a good chance the Eagles won't be in a situation where they're not bad enough to warrant a regime change but not good enough to actually contend.
Roseman bought himself time with this trade. He'll likely get the chance to see how the quarterback he drafts plays out. He has time to make this thing work. There will eventually be a point, though, when judgement is made, good or bad. When that day comes, he'll have to answer for what he's done.
Will Roseman be the man who finally brings a franchise quarterback back to Philadelphia? Or will his bold risk doom the end of his career here?