Eagles news and notes for 1/26
Kelce, 29, has been with the Eagles since 2011, but will have a salary cap hit of $6.2 million. Cutting or trading Kelce would save $3.8 million in cap space for a team that doesn’t have much of it. Recently, PhillyVoice.com reported that the Eagles were considering moving on from their longtime center.
“He’s going to the Pro Bowl,” Roseman said on Wednesday afternoon, when asked to evaluate Kelce’s play in 2016. “His peers had him as a second-team alternate and that shows you the kind of respect he’s had in this league. He just turned 29 years old, so we’re not talking about a guy who’s 35, 36 or older than that. You see his ability to play in space, his explosiveness and an ultimate team guy. So I don’t think when you put on the tape you see any decline in play from Jason Kelce.”
After praising Kelce, Roseman was asked flatly if he expected the center to be back for the 2017 season and was noncommittal. If Roseman is hoping to find a trade partner for Kelce, praising him would make a lot of sense.
“I think we’d like to have every single player back on our team,” Roseman said. “We just talked about a guy that made the Pro Bowl. So, I mean, those are good situations for the Philadelphia Eagles to have Pro Bowl players, but it’s hard to go into each individual player. And I’m not saying this as it relates to Kelce, but if I start answering a question on Jason Kelce, that opens the door to five or six other guys and I don’t think that’s fair to anyone on this team.”
MOBILE, Ala. - Brian Dawkins' title with the Eagles these days is "executive/football operations," which seems a bit open-ended, and apparently is.
During the 2016 season, Dawkins functioned at least partly as a sort of legend-in-residence, a NovaCare resource for players. But Tuesday, there B-Dawk was, sitting at the elbow of player personnel vice president Joe Douglas, scribbling down heights and weights at the Senior Bowl weigh-in.
Dawkins has said he wants to learn every aspect of the operation. He said Tuesday he watched a lot of film of draft prospects during the season "especially on the defensive side."
Dawkins said being in Mobile brought him back to 1996, when he was here as a Clemson draft hopeful, not hearing exactly what he'd hoped to hear from NFL teams.
"They'd say, 'Are you a special-teams guy? We don't know if you're an NFL safety,' " Dawkins recalled. "I had a huge chip on my shoulder. I knew what I had to do to earn some respect."
Dawkins, now a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist in his first year of eligibility, ended up being drafted by the Eagles in the second round, 61st overall. He eventually made nine Pro Bowls. His No. 20 jersey is retired.
Call it irony if you like, but the ultimate validation of Atlanta's gamble might arrive against Belichick and the Patriots. That doesn't mean Belichick was wrong. It's hard to argue with his method of putting together a roster. It just means that Dimitroff beat the odds and, for those who do, the rewards can be immense.
That is also the hope of Howie Roseman, who also went against accepted NFL wisdom - and his own previous stance - to move up for Wentz. Will the Eagles ultimately be as fortunate as the Falcons and reach the Super Bowl with the object of their draft strategy? Well, that was the idea, even if a risky and expensive one.
"The history of trading up for one player, when you look at those trades, isn't good for the team trading up and putting a lot of resources into it. Because the [teams] who are really good at the draft, if you're hitting on 60 percent of your first-round picks, that's a pretty good track record. So really, the more chances you get, the more tickets to the lottery you get, the better you should be doing," Roseman said.
He made that statement at an analytics conference in 2015 during his powerless purgatory within the organization, and it was perceived as a backhanded slap at Chip Kelly's unsuccessful attempt to move up for Marcus Mariota. One year later, however, he did exactly that to get Wentz.
The machinations to land Wentz cost the Eagles and will continue to do so for a while, but the Falcons drifted to 4-12, 6-10, and 8-8 before being able to reload around Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan.
"We knew we had to get a little uncomfortable for this season and next season, really, to build something that hopefully lasts and gives us a chance at being a really good team again for a long period of time," Roseman said of the short-term pain designed to provide a big payoff.
The objective, said Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman at Senior Bowl practices on Wednesday, is to add impact with the first-round draft pick the team has in April, either No. 14 or No. 15 (to be decided by a coin flip at the Scouting Combine).
What does that mean, exactly? It means that Roseman isn’t necessarily going to be in the mood to wheel and deal back in the first round.
“When we look back and look at our drafts, specifically looking at where we were in the 20’s, we’ve had some good success 20 and higher. I think there is a line where you don’t get a difference-maker. This is your opportunity, in the first round of the draft, to find a difference-making player,” Roseman said. “That’s our first priority, is bringing a difference-maker to the Philadelphia Eagles. By trading back and getting extra picks, but not having someone who can affect the game, you’re watching these (conference) championship games and there are difference-makers making big plays. We’ve got to make sure that we come out of that, if there is an opportunity to get that, and get an extra pick, that would be great.”
The Eagles certainly gained some impact from last year’s draft, starting at the very top of the first round. Two trades enabled the Eagles to move to No. 2 of the first round, and they selected North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz with that pick. The Eagles really dug deep on Wentz throughout the offseason a year ago, starting right here in Mobile.
“The first thing was the physical ability and just seeing the ball come out of his hand,” Roseman said. “The size and the athleticism and then the leadership. He had juice with his teammates inside and outside the huddle. We talked with people on the field and got their insight on him.
Wentz also seems like the right guy to build around. Based on what I’m hearing in Mobile, Wentz proved to be a far better choice than Jared Goff in terms of being a leader and someone that other players believe in. I can’t tell you how important that is. QB is the most important position in all of sports.
Go back 25 years. Randall Cunningham and his defensive teammates had a love/hate relationship. The players loved his talent, but were frustrated by his ego and his lack of complete commitment to working off the field. Cunningham wanted to be a star. Gang Green wanted to win a Super Bowl. That sometimes turbulent relationship hurt the team.
Early in his career, Donovan McNabb was a charismatic leader and his teammates believed in him. That helped the Eagles to have a great run from 2000-2004. The TO situation changed all of that in a bad way and things never really got back to where they were.
Wentz has the physical ability to be a top QB. Just as important, he is all about the team. He wants to win and will do anything he can. He didn’t complain about poor WR play this year. He didn’t gripe when Jason Kelce had a bad snap. Wentz took the blame and said all the right things. That’s part of how you get your teammates to love you. The leader of the team needs to say the right things and do the right things.
Time will tell whether Wentz becomes a star QB and is able to get the Eagles back to being a serious title contender, but so far he’s off to a good start and it looks like the Eagles made a great move to go get him.