Howie Roseman may well be the most controversial man in the Eagles organization right now. So many fans are split on whether Howie is an elite General Manager or whether he’s riding the wave of winning the big one a few years ago.
There were many fans who were livid after yet another season hampered by the injury bug was only further hampered by a relatively poor offseason and a lot of white noise, while others were happy to see breakouts from players like Miles Sanders and the true emergence of Carson Wentz – Franchise QB.
The thing with Howie is, there will always be people who put the blame on him rather than specific individuals. It’s such a hard topic to discuss because it’s all down to where you lay the blame. If a highly-drafted player turns out to be a bust, do you blame Howie for drafting that player, or do you blame the scouts that gave Howie the information that he uses to justify the pick? Alternatively, do you blame the player or the coaches for an inability to nurture the talent?
There’s no denying that Howie deserves some of the blame and I think he’s started to take on some accountability. If you watched his press conference after the Seattle defeat with Doug, there was a sense of self-reflection.
One main thing I picked up on during that press conference after the Seattle loss was the fact that Howie seemed to admit he wasn’t really paying attention to player tape when scouting and making his draft picks. Here’s the quote I find the most interesting:
“I think when we look at it, the most surprising thing for us as we’ve studied this and the things that are important, is that there are three rookie receivers who never had more than 40 catches in a college season who have been tremendously productive this year.
“Is that a factor for us when we look at college production and we kind of see how important that is to us, do we have to go back and look at that? And I think we do.”
Everyone knows the Eagles have become a very analytically driven organization in the past few years and unfortunately, it hasn’t really seemed to work in the way they wanted it to.
I like that Howie is changing up the way he evaluates talent, especially with this year’s draft being the most important for the team in years.
If the pressure from drafting correctly this year wasn’t enough for Howie, he also has to deal with one of the biggest free agencies in years, both for the Eagles and the entire NFL. There are so many stars available and the Birds will likely make a few moves early on. Amari Cooper and Byron Jones are both out of contract and they could solve the issues at receiver and secondary respectively, while guys like Joe Schobert and Cory Littleton could resurrect a linebacker group that has been dead for years.
If Howie wants to make a statement and get one of the big LB free agents, the fans would love this and in turn, love him, but, free agency isn’t just down to getting talent.
The self-reflection goes far beyond that, however. Roseman admitted that he had trouble separating personal ties with players from business decisions, but he’s already made a big step in showing action behind the words. The Eagles are letting 38-year old LT Jason Peters test free agency after 11-years of service in Philadelphia. A future Hall of Famer in anyone’s book, it was never going to be an easy goodbye, but one Roseman found the confidence to make after a few years of debate. It’s a significant move for many reasons and the fact it correlates to Roseman’s change of heart is definitely one of them.
Everyone knows he is a God at manipulating the cap. Back-loaded deals, incentivized contracts, and dummy-years all factor into what often feels like one big video game. However, I think he’s realizing he’s cheated the system one too many times. The whole Alshon Jeffery drama is a disaster from top to bottom and Howie ended up making a huge mistake by giving him 100% of his money guaranteed. He bet on the wrong horse and that’s the risk you run playing the game Howie plays every offseason.
Howie has been flying close to the sun for some time now, and it finally seems like he’s flown too high and is close to being burned.
I personally love Howie, he adds extreme excitement to the Eagles because you never know what the man has up his sleeve. Any time a big name is up on the trade block or becomes a free agent, the Eagles are always linked with them in some way, even if the cap says it’s impossible. I also think it’s truly harsh to put as much blame as some are putting on him for certain things, when, to me, it seems obvious he isn’t the only one at fault. The Eagles have endured a lot of front-office turnover recently. Joe Douglas helped establish a new way of evaluating talent before his departure and his replacement, the analytically minded Andrew Berry, would only last a year before being poached by the Browns.
This offseason is make or break for Howie and if it goes poorly, that’s Howie’s reign as the GM in Philly taking a much darker turn after some cloudy skies last offseason. However, if he smashes it with the draft and a big free-agent signing or two, it only adds to his legacy. Howie is the human embodiment of blackjack – it’s boom or bust…and that’s why we love him.
Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports