Rotoworld released their annual rankings of all 32 NFL general mangers. It’s always a good read so check out the whole thing. Here’s what Patrick Daugherty had to say about Eagles executive vice president of football operations (and de facto general manager) Howie Roseman.
21) Consumed with power struggles for the entirety of the Chip Kelly era, Howie Roseman finally emerged triumphant. His first order of business was draining Kelly’s swamp, ridding the Eagles of most of the old coach’s vanity purchases (DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso). Next up was one of his own, sending the farm to Cleveland for the right to select Carson Wentz at No. 2 overall. The gamble will define Roseman’s second stint as general manager. Wentz flashed plenty of promise as a rookie, buying Roseman some time to accrue more talent on offense. “More” in this instance being “any” since Kelly’s disastrous attempts at roster building left the cupboard completely bare. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith were a good start. Roseman is an ordinary executive talent who will live and die with the fortunes of his hand-picked quarterback.
Roseman ranks 21st out of 29 returning executives. The league’s three new general managers are unranked.
21st obviously isn’t so great. It’s below average by definition alone. But is this a fair ranking?
There’s a lot of debate about just how good of an executive Roseman really is, but here’s the bottom line: the Eagles have not won a playoff game since he was promoted to general manager in 2010. The Birds are 56-56 with two first round postseason exits in that span. The Eagles have been mediocre overall, which is why Rotoworld’s description of Roseman as “ordinary” is certainly fitting.
That’s not to say there is no hope for Roseman. One of the previous biggest criticisms of him was his inability to acquire a franchise quarterback. It remains to be seen just how good Carson Wentz will be, but at the very least he has shown some promising potential. If Wentz turns out to be as good as the Eagles seem to think he can be, Philadelphia should be in good shape. And therefore Roseman will as well.
But Wentz’s success will depend on his environment to some extent. It was apparent that Wentz was not set up to succeed in 2016. The Eagles clearly lacked an ideal supporting cast of weapons for Wentz to work with. It’s up to Philadelphia’s front office to fix that issue moving forward.
The Eagles’ acknowledged some of Roseman’s short-comings as a personnel evaluator by hiring Joe Douglas as vice president of player personnel last offseason. Eagles CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Lurie stated Douglas will be in charge of setting the team’s draft/free agent boards. But ultimately it will still be Roseman who has the final say on decisions.
Roseman’s influence leaves some cause for concern. His track record as an evaluator is mixed at best. And for someone who has been heralded for being with managing cap space, the Eagles are tight in that regard after handing out some big extensions in 2016. That money wasn’t all very well spent last season. Lane Johnson got suspended for 10 games, which isn’t the team’s fault, but they did ultimately give big money to a player who was one test away from that. Fletcher Cox had a good season but he didn’t necessarily play up to his elite level money. Brent Celek is making a significant amount of money to be a veteran presence and blocking tight end. Vinny Curry was handed a $43 million contract only to be stuck playing 40% of the snaps behind an ineffective Connor Barwin.
With that said, the pairing of Douglas and Roseman has the potential to be promising. For all his faults, Roseman is pretty good when it comes to recognizing and acquiring value. He traded Sam Bradford for a first round pick. He acquired Timmy Jernigan for a swap of third round picks. Looking back further, he sent a mere fifth round pick to the Saints for Darren Sproles. Hopefully the Eagles will be able to build a lasting marriage of Roseman’s value skills with Douglas’ talent recognition. Douglas is relatively unproven as a man in charge but he comes from a strong background with the Ravens (and one year with the Bears).
Some may think 21st might be too low of a ranking for Roseman, but I think it’s fair for now. He still has a lot to prove. And the key people he picked in the Eagles’ organization still have a lot of prove as well. Douglas needs to prove himself as a good talent evaluator. Doug Pederson needs to prove he’s a good head coach. And Wentz needs to prove himself as a franchise quarterback who can lead the Eagles on playoff runs. Roseman had a significant role in those additions, so their success/failure ultimately reflects on him.
The Eagles went 7-9 in 2016 so the pressure will only mount if progress doesn’t manifest in the near future.
Rotoworld has Howie Roseman as the 21st ranked NFL GM. Too high, too low, or just right?
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