The Eagles didn’t take long after relieving Chip Kelly of his duties as both head coach and personnel decision maker to start winding back some of the biggest moves that Kelly made in his one year in control of the personnel department.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell, who signed a huge free agent contract, and linebacker Kiko Alonso, acquired in a trade with the Bills, were both shipped to Miami along with the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft for the No. 8 pick. Running back DeMarco Murray was traded to the Titans a year after signing a big contract of his own a short time later and the easy narrative was that the Eagles were doing what they could to erase Kelly’s stamp on the team.
That wasn’t entirely accurate as quarterback Sam Bradford signed a two-year extension with the team and coach Doug Pederson said on NFL Network Monday that the moves were never designed to get rid of players with connections to Kelly.
“Listen, it’s never been about Chip Kelly’s guys,” Pederson said. “For me, it’s about the Philadelphia Eagles and how we can better our roster and better our football team. I felt with [executive vice president of football operations] Howie Roseman and myself, we’ve been able to do that this offseason so far and we’re always going to continue to try and better the team. If you’re not, you’re not moving forward so I don’t look at it that way.”
There’s nothing that says that it can’t be about getting better and getting rid of the guys that Kelly brought in. The contracts that Maxwell and Murray signed put some limits on the Eagles under the cap and neither player did well during their one season in Philadelphia, so there wasn’t much argument that their presence was making the team better.
That made it reasonable to think trading them and improving the team’s draft standing would be a step toward a better team in the future. The results of that bet will go a long way toward determining if the Roseman/Pederson partnership can be a more successful one.