The Philadelphia Eagles lost their vice president of player personnel on Friday evening when the New York Jets officially hired Joe Douglas as their new general manager.
Douglas served an important role as Philadelphia’s top personnel chief under Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman. Douglas was viewed as the “football guy” complement to Roseman’s analytical approach.
With Douglas now gone, it’s up to Roseman to find his replacement. Here are some familiar options worth considering.
The Eagles hired Berry, who previously served as the Browns’ vice president of player personnel, earlier this offseason. His current title with the Eagles is “vice president of football operations.” As such, he’s listed directly under Roseman in the “Football Operations” section in the front office listing on the Eagles’ official website. By contrast, Douglas was listed at the top of the “Scouting” section.
Berry has a reputation for being an analytics guy due to his time with the Browns — not to mention graduating cum laude at Harvard — but it’s not like he lacks a “football guy” background. Berry was a three-time All-Ivy collegiate cornerback before a herniated disc ended his playing career. Berry has no less on-field experience than Douglas did.
There are some signs that point to Berry having an elevated role moving forward. Albert Breer recently wrote Berry was “hired in part with expectation Douglas will be leaving.” Berry was also notably present in the Eagles’ war room based on the draft videos the team put out on their official website.
It remains to be seen if the Eagles will move the 31-year-old Berry to the scouting department and/or change his title. Maybe nothing will formally change but his influence will grow now that Douglas is gone. Regardless, his name is one to keep an eye on.
When the Eagles hired Douglas in 2016, they also hired Weidl to be his right hand man. Weidl originally held the title of “assistant director of player personnel” before having the “assistant” label dropped last year. Perhaps that change was made in anticipation of eventually losing Douglas.
One would think Douglas would prefer to bring Weidl with him to New York. Of course, the Eagles can deny Weidl from leaving assuming he’s still under contract. Philadelphia might want to promote Weidl to the title Douglas used to hold.
The Eagles value promoting from within so Weidl could be a natural Douglas replacement. The Pittsburgh native has “football guy” experience after playing college football at Villanova.
Here’s a name that won’t excite Eagles fans due to the way Grigson ultimately flamed out in Indianapolis. Prior to becoming the Colts’ general manager, though, Grigson served under Roseman in Philly. He held the following titles with the Eagles:
2004-2005: Western regional scout
2006-2009: Director of college scouting
2010-2011: Director of player personnel
It’s also worth noting Grigson overlapped with Berry on the Browns in 2017.
Grigson is currently serving as a “senior football consultant” with the Seahawks. Maybe Seattle really wants to keep him but I’d think he’d jump at a promotion by joining if the Eagles if it’s up to him.
Grigson’s “football guy” experience includes some limited NFL and CFL action.
The Houston Texans recently fired Gaine from his general manager position after only originally hiring him back in January 2018.
Why would the Eagles be interested in Gaine? Well, Philadelphia did interview him back in 2015. That was back when the Eagles were looking for a top personnel guy for Chip Kelly’s regime. Kelly is obviously gone but perhaps there are some Gaine fans in the Eagles’ front office.
Gaine could attempt to rehab his image as a football executive by latching on to a successful environment in Philly.
His “football guy” experience involves spending time on a few NFL rosters.
Wait, the guy from NFL Network?
Yep. Jeremiah, a former college quarterback, used to work for the Eagles as a scout.
Even more interestingly, Jeremiah interviewed for the job that Douglas ultimately landed back in 2016. I can tell you that Roseman thinks very highly of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah essentially received a promotion with NFL Network earlier this year since Mike Mayock left to be the Raiders’ general manager. Jeremiah is now filling Mayock’s old role as NFL Network’s lead draft analyst.
Jeremiah, a West Coast native, could easily be content doing television and living out in the San Diego area. His name is worth mentioning because of the Roseman connection, however.
It’s possible the Eagles might not hire a direct Douglas replacement. Maybe they wait until down the line to fill his role. Or maybe they promote a temporary replacement (Weidl?) before that guy leaves to join Douglas’ staff with Jets next year. It’ll be interesting to see who Douglas is able to take with him to New York. Maybe the Eagles go off the board and hire someone like Scott Pioli, who recently left the Falcons.
If I was controlling the Eagles, I’d interview several candidates for the Douglas role before likely landing on Weidl. He seems like a natural replacement. It could be nice to add a Grigson type to then help fill out the scouting staff under Weidl.