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Four Downs: The Eagles should cut Jason Kelce

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If this offseason is about building, it makes too much sense not to.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Normally, Dave writes these Saturday columns, and he also normally knocks them out of the park, so taking on the task of being Saturday Column Man this weekend is a bit intimidating. Here’s hoping I don’t screw it up!

1st Down

The Eagles should cut Jason Kelce.

Yes, I said it. It’s time to move on. This is coming from a big fan of the way Jason Kelce played the game in his prime, when he was possibly the most dynamic offensive lineman in the league in 2013. The way he meshed with Chip Kelly’s system made me think Kelce would anchor the Eagles’ O-line forever.

But it’s not feasible. Kelce is an undersized center, and very few undersized centers have had extended periods of success in the NFL. He’s living on borrowed time already, and the Eagles probably don’t want to wait around for that to expire.

Alas, time is ceaseless and facts, despite recent rumors, are unimpeachable, and there remain facts which make releasing Jason Kelce the right decision for the Eagles at this time:

  • Fact 1: Jason Kelce in 2017 is not Jason Kelce in 2013. He’s just not as good a football player as he used to be.
  • Fact 2: Isaac Seumalo played three positions this season, and played them all well, and the team thinks he can do the same at center.
  • Fact 3: Kelce turns 30 next year, while Seumalo turns 24.
  • Fact 4: The Eagles can save $3.8 million against the cap next year if they cut Kelce.

The Eagles are entering this offseason with a few true young franchise cornerstones (Carson Wentz, Jordan Hicks, Lane Johnson when he isn’t breaking all the rules) and a lot of question marks. When a team has the chance to clarify one of those question marks (is Isaac Seumalo the center of the future?) sooner rather than later, it’s best to do so.

Time is fleeting, concrete answers are hard to come by, and nostalgia is costly. Kelce has been a good player and a great team-first man for six years, but if the Eagles are serious about building a contender, this is a no-brainer.

They have to move away from numerous good guys who simply don’t make financial sense, in fact. Connor Barwin is the kind of person every single coach, anywhere, should want on their team. But he shouldn’t return (on his current contract, at least) in 2017. The same goes for Ryan Mathews.

And the same goes for Jason Kelce.

***

2nd Down

We asked our Twitter followers yesterday which outcome they most preferred for the Super Bowl, based on who remains in this weekend’s conference championship games.

As of the writing of this column, here’s where things stood:

While the most popular result is Patriots vs. Packers, the two most popular teams in the poll are actually the Packers (56%) and the Steelers (55%), well ahead of the Patriots (45%) and the Falcons (44%). The returns are surprisingly balanced; I was expecting the Patriots to be a distant fourth, considering the result of Super Bowl XXXIX (ugh), and the fact that they’re the dang Patriots.

But you put all that behind you! You said, ‘To hell with grudges, I wouldn’t mind watching Tom Brady play Aaron Rodgers. In fact, I’d relish the opportunity. We’ll probably won’t get the opportunity to see the two best quarterbacks in the league face off in the Super Bowl again for a long time.’

Or, something to that effect.

And it’s hard to blame you. I’m personally rooting for the polar opposite to happen. I want Steelers vs. Falcons, in part because I want the Falcons in the final game of the season, just to shake things up, and in part because they give the Steelers a better chance of winning the Super Bowl, so that my mother can be happy.

What do I actually think happens? I think the Patriots beat the Packers, the NFL loses its mind over record-setting ratings, and we finally call Tom Brady the best quarterback of all time.

***

3rd Down

Hey, remember last weekend, when the Cowboys lost to the Packers in the most gut-wrenching way possible, after coming out from a seemingly un-climbable hole and reminding us they had, in fact, been a surprisingly talented and efficient football team for four months, and made it seem, with one late-game field goal, that they would force overtime against a bad overtime quarterback and win in the way Tony Romo’s Cowboys never could, only to watch Aaron Rodgers flick a football 30 yards into a window the size of a mango with almost no time left for it to count, and then to watch Mason Crosby boot a football through the uprights for three points, the three points needed to knock the Cowboys out of the playoffs and into an offseason where they will tell themselves that the core of talent they’ve built is good enough to do it all again next year but all the while that seed of doubt, of ‘Is it really?’, will nag and nag at them for seven months until we reach the start of next season and the Eagles and the Cowboys are on level ground and all will be up for grabs in an ultimately unpredictable league?

I do.

***

4th Down

Off topic: it was a good week for music.

I don’t know if it was the seeming end of the world scheduled for Friday at noon, or some sort of ‘new year’ creativity boost, but an incredible amount of good music was released in the past seven or eight days.

It began last Friday, when The xx put out their first album in five years. It’s got a bunch of hits, but the album opener, ‘Dangerous,’ is a straight-up jam.

It continued on Wednesday, when Dirty Projectors released a new song ahead of their first album in five years (coincidence?), called ‘Up In Hudson’ which really took me by surprise. A lot of horns, a lot of cutting lyrics, and a lot of great vocal arrangements.

Then on Thursday, two of my absolute favorite artists put out some great stuff, both reactions (preparations?) to/for Friday’s inauguration.

It began with Gorillaz returning with new music for the first time in seven (!!!) years, releasing ‘Hallelujah Money,’ a very off-kilter song to be chosen as a lead single, but then this is a band of cartoon characters, so what does traditional mean anyway? It’s very good.

And Thursday concluded with Arcade Fire putting out their first new song since 2013’s Reflektor, a collaboration with the inimitable Mavis Staples. It’s a spare, sinewy song of empowerment, complete with strong vocals from Staples, who never seems to lose a step.

Friday was a weird, less-than-ideal day, but at least there was a lot of great art to counter the darkness. Here’s hoping our new President decides not to cut funding for the arts after all. We need all the beauty we can get.