Eagles shake up front office

ByPhil Sheridan ESPN logo
Saturday, January 3, 2015

PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles lit a fire Wednesday with the announcement that vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble was gone. They tried to extinguish that fire Friday night.

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie announced that coach Chip Kelly will oversee player personnel matters and that Howie Roseman has been promoted from general manager to executive vice president of football operations. Kelly also will hire a new executive to replace Gamble.

According to the Eagles' news release, Roseman will continue "directing contract negotiations, salary cap management and NFL strategic matters, while overseeing the team's medical staff, equipment staff and more."

Player personnel matters, the very heart of being a general manager, were not included in the list of Roseman's duties.

Lurie said the moves resulted from meeting with Kelly, Roseman and club president Don Smolenski.

"During those lengthy meetings this week we discussed a comprehensive approach on how to seamlessly integrate the personnel and coaching departments in order to maximize every facet of the process," he said in a statement.

Under the previous structure, Roseman was charged with finding players who fit Kelly's vision. Gamble's role was as a buffer between the two, although it had become clear that he leaned toward Kelly's side.

It is always tough to evaluate offseason moves, especially the draft, until a few years have gone by. But the 2014 Eagles offseason does not look promising.

First-round pick Marcus Smith, a linebacker out of Louisville, barely got on the field for the NFL's 26th-ranked defense. Second-round pick Jordan Matthews, a wide receiver out of Vanderbilt, had a good rookie season. Third-round WR Josh Huff, who played for Kelly at Oregon, had a self-described disappointing season.

Other than that, only seventh-round pick Beau Allen, a defensive tackle, made a significant impact.

In free agency, the Eagles landed backup quarterback Mark Sanchez, safety Malcolm Jenkins, cornerback Nolan Carroll, and special teamers Chris Maragos and Bryan Braman. Running back Darren Sproles was obtained in a trade with New Orleans.

"You have heard me say many times that I want strong leaders who feel free to express their opinions," Lurie said. "And that is what happened here. Chip will now lead this process going forward with the continued full support of Howie, Don and myself.

"Chip will not be doing this work by himself, obviously. He has been charged with recruiting and hiring a new personnel executive that will report directly to him and together we will move forward with this new, highly integrated approach."

After Sunday's season-ending win against the New York Giants, Lurie met with reporters in the Eagles' locker room. He was asked whether Roseman would continue as general manager. Lurie laughed at the question.

"Is that a question?" Lurie asked. "Yes."

On Friday, Lurie addressed that comment.

"When I said -- after the Giants game -- that Howie was returning as general manager next season, I meant that," he said. "But after carefully listening and reflecting on the lengthy discussions that I had with our senior team, I changed my mind.

"I have a very good relationship with Chip that continues to grow stronger and stronger. When we spoke, he was thoughtful, thorough and professional. There were no demands, no threats -- quite the contrary, he was passionate, engaged and articulated a dynamic and clear vision on how this fully integrated approach will work. We look forward to seeing it come to life over time."

When Kelly left Oregon to join the Eagles two years ago, he made it clear he wasn't interested in total control.

"I've heard questions that I want control over this, control over that," Kelly said on Jan. 17, 2013. "That has never been an issue, never is an issue for me. I'm a football coach. I'm not a general manager. I'm not a salary-cap guy. I coach football. I need people who can go out there and say, 'Hey this is what you want. These are the people.' And it's going to be a collaboration. We're all going to be on the same page. I've got no delusions of saying that I want all these different titles. I just want to coach football."

Lurie said Roseman also received an unspecified contract extension as part of this new arrangement.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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