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The Curious Case of Howie Roseman

The Eagles are coming off a 4-11-1 season. They are picking at #12 in the NFL Draft. Their franchise QB has worked his way out of the organization only 3 years after being an MVP candidate.

Carson Wentz was traded to the Colts for a 2021 3rd Round Pick and a conditional 2022 1st Round Pick.

The question that must be asked now is, who is to blame for this? I think all Eagles fans can agree on my answer: Howie Roseman. Let me explain why.

Roseman has made terrible decision after terrible decision, yet he will still be the Eagles General Manager going into the 2021-22 Season. From draft misses to loyalty to old veterans, Roseman has single-handedly torn down a Super Bowl-winning team. How about we take a little trip down memory lane with Howie Roseman?

Ahead of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Eagles staff made a franchise-changing decision by trading up to the #2 pick in the draft. They used this pick to draft their franchise Quarterback, Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State. The fans were very behind this move, and Wentz showed lots of promising things in his rookie year. With expectations low, the Eagles finished the season 7-9 and headed into an offseason where there was one priority: build around Wentz.

Howie spent the offseason signing many cheap offensive veterans, including Torrey Smith, Alshon Jeffery, Nick Foles, and LeGarrette Blount. On the defense, he added Chris Long and Patrick Robinson to sure up the secondary. Although the Eagles wanted to be ready to compete, it seemed like they were destined for another 8-8 or 9-7 type year unless Wentz took a huge step.

Well, he took that step.

Behind the amazing play of Carson Wentz, the Eagles cruised to a 10-2 record before Wentz suffered a horrific leg injury and was out for the season with a torn ACL. Even after all this, the Eagles won the Super Bowl behind the heroics of Nick Foles and the other signings from Howie Roseman. But you already know this story right? Well, it all went downhill from here.

After 2017, Roseman wanted to try his hardest to "run it back" and get back to the big game. The franchise reassured the fan base that Carson Wentz was the starter, not Nick Foles. Although they lost players like Blount and Trey Burton, they re-signed players like Darren Sproles(35 Years old) and Nigel Bradham(29 Years old). Roseman actually had one of his best drafts, snagging Dallas Goedert(2nd Round) and Josh Sweat(4th Round). Not to mention Jordan Mailata in the 7th Round, which looks way better now than it did at the time. Expectations were definitely high going into next season, with many people saying they were even improved from the Super Bowl year.

2018 didn't go so well. After a good start, Wentz struggled to come back to his 2017 form, and the Eagles fell to 4-7 after a 48-7 loss in New Orleans. Injuries destroyed the team, with wide receivers having to fill in for injured cornerbacks in practice(wish I was kidding with this). Added to all of that, Wentz hurt his back against Dallas and the Eagles were 6-7 going into the hardest part of their schedule. Then, once again, Nick Foles came in and saved Howie Roseman. I can't explain how, but Foles strung off 3 straight wins and led the Eagles to a Wild Card win in the playoffs. With aging veterans and many key Free Agents, people started to question the way Roseman built the roster.

After a late season run, the Eagles fell to the Saints in the 2018-19 Divisional Round.

Going into 2019, Howie Roseman believed their Super Bowl window was closing. He knew that if they were gonna have a chance at competing, he needed to build a roster with talent, regardless of age or thinking about the future. This included signing an aging Malik Jackson to a 3 Year Deal, former Vikings Safety Andrew Sendejo to a 1 Year Deal, and trading for DeSean Jackson (32 Years Old) then signing him to a 3 Year Deal. In the draft, he added a Tackle (Andre Dillard) in the 1st, a Running Back (Miles Sanders) in the 2nd, and then passing on DK Metcalf to draft JJ Arcega-Whiteside out of Stanford. This doesn't mention Shareef Miller and Clayton Thorson; I think you know why. Again, many veteran signings and players that he believes will put him in win-now mode.

The roster failed miserably. The Eagles barely squeaked by a terrible Washington team Week 1, then continued to struggle all year with many injuries. DeSean Jackson was injured and played 2 games all season, while Andrew Sendejo was an absolute bust of a signing. Oh, and Malik Jackson got hurt Week 1 and didn't play another game all season. If that wasn't bad enough, JJ Arcega Whiteside also struggled with drops as Eagles fans watched DK Metcalf put up crazy stats for Seattle. Although they were 5-7 after a loss to the lowly Dolphins, Carson Wentz came to the rescue and balled out with the poor roster Roseman had constructed.

On comes 2020. Howie knew that this offseason would be a make or break for the Eagles. With more players aging and contracts expiring, Roseman would need to make some big splashes with the good amount of cap he was given. Well, he did. As a somewhat puzzling move at first, Roseman signed DT Javon Hargrave to a massive contract to add to their already stacked Defensive Line. Along with some cheap depth signings after(Jalen Mills, Jatavius Brown, Will Parks), the Eagles GM traded for CB Darius Slay from the Lions for a very cheap price. The Eagles secondary had been thin for a very long time, and trading for a true CB1 was an absolute perfect fit. This remains one of the best moves of his tenure.

Don't worry, we are almost done.

In the 2020 Draft, the Eagles had Pick #21 with lots of draft capital to maybe maneuver a trade up to get a star WR. The fanbase clearly wanted CeeDee Lamb, but no one would have been mad with Justin Jefferson after a failed trade-up (it was reported that the Eagles tried multiple times to trade up for CeeDee, which makes sense). But, with another shocking pick, the Eagles took TCU WR Jalen Reagor ahead of the LSU product Jefferson. On top of that, Roseman drafted QB Jalen Hurts with the 53rd Pick, which aligned in no way with the way the franchise said they were committed to Carson Wentz. I used to listen to every single John Middleton and Matt Klentak press conference (Phillies fans will understand me), but I have never seen a more baffling one than Roseman's after the Hurts pick. Throwing out phrases like "Quarterback Factory" and "Gadget Player"; it was almost like he was joking. I left that press conference asking the exact same questions I did going into it.

Jalen Reagor disappointed in 2020, but is hoping to get back on track next season with a new coaching staff.

Expectations went up high again as the season loomed, and most people saw the Eagles as an 11-12 win team who would be competing with Dallas for the division title. Carson Wentz had a solid core in front of him, and the defense had been bolstered by Slay and Hargrave. I don't think it is necessary to go into the details but we all know how last season panned out. The Eagles were flat-out terrible, and Carson Wentz played like the worst QB in the NFL. Philadelphia finished at 4-11-1. And if you haven't heard enough, even Wentz had enough of the organization and requested a trade.

So now we are caught up!

The question I have tasked myself to answer here is really tough: Why is Roseman not out of Philadelphia? It is truly puzzling how Howie Roseman has not been fired after all the mistakes he has made since 2016. I have narrowed it down to 3 possible reasons, and I encourage you to draw your own conclusions from this.

  1. 2020 was a rough year. No training camps, no OTAs, no real draft process. It was hard for players to get to know each other (Carson Wentz especially emphasized this on The Pat Mcafee show), all meetings were done over Zoom and the practice schedules were even limited. I can imagine Jeffery Lurie wanting to wait an extra season to really see how some of Roseman's guys pan out. Reagor, Hurts, Hargrave, Slay, and even Davion Taylor all deserve a chance to prove that they are better than what the public and media believe about them. These guys could still all be great players for the Philadelphia Eagles, and next year will be perfect for us to be able to see if that is true since they will be a very young team. Although I don't give Howie excuses for these guys(Slay and Hargrave still had decent years), this is a relatively fair point.

  2. This one may seem like a little bit of a stretch but just stick with me here. Jeffery Lurie has an emotional connection to Howie Roseman. Now I know that sounds weird, but here is what I mean. Lurie watched Roseman trade up for Wentz in 2016 and then proceeded to build a Super Bowl team one season. If Howie could take that rebuilding Eagles team to glory in one season, what says that he cannot do it again? As long as Roseman doesn't make any royally bad decisions, Lurie will give him a couple more offseasons to see if he can do what he did just 3 Years Ago.

  3. Lastly, I don't think any Eagles fan will deny Howie's vast success in the maneuvering salary cap as well as the trade market. Although sometimes he puts the Eagles in "cap hell" sometimes, he always finds a way to get them out of it. In fact, the Eagles are projected 70 Million Dollars in cap space next offseason according to Over the Cap. In terms of the trade market, I'd say Roseman has been relatively successful here as well. Being able to get a potential First Round Pick off Carson Wentz, acquiring Darius Slay for a 3rd and a 5th, and trading up in the draft to get Wentz(among many other trades). These two traits could just convince Lurie that they might not have another GM with his salary cap skills right away, so keeping him might be smart for now. Obviously, the glaring issue is drafting, but you have to think he is going to hit on someone this year. Right?

To be perfectly honest, I have wanted Howie Roseman to be fired for 2 Years now. After seeing that 2018-19 roster play horrible but somehow get carried by Nick Foles to the playoffs, I was sensing a pattern.

2017-18: Signed a bunch of aging veterans on 1 Year Deals, got success of Wentz's big step, and players hitting their prime.

2018-19: Roster was horribly constructed, but Nick Foles came to the rescue and lead them to a late-season run

2019-2020: Eagles again sitting at 5-7 and seeming out of it, but Wentz comes in and saves the season.

2020-2021: Bad roster and angered off their franchise QB enough to the point where he was traded.

Now I'm not trying to say the 2017 season was a fluke on the Eagles end... just on Roseman's. The Eagles' "big ticket" free agent signings that season were who? Blount and Alshon on 1 Year Deals? Torrey Smith? Howie completely got lucky in the play of Alshon Jeffery and LeGarrette Blount; two aging players who made it through the beginning free agency frenzy. So Roseman's so-called best offseason was really not what it seems.

I do not see Howie Roseman being fired until the 2022-23 season at the earliest. it's unfortunate, but I just can't see anything that could happen next season that would provoke Lurie to let him go.

Writing this article, I've made connections about Roseman's tenure that I wasn't even thinking about making beforehand. It's honestly a very sad thing to relieve. One man has completely torn down a team that gave this city so much hope. Torn down a Franchise QB. Torn down a Super Bowl winning head coach.

Isn't it crazy to think that 1 Year Ago, Darius Slay CHOSE to be traded to Philadelphia. Now, after the mistakes of Roseman, his chances at ever earning a ring here are slim to none.

The Phrase I heard the most during the Carson Wentz trade saga was "How did we get here?".

Howie Roseman.

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