You could say that Chip Kelly and Eagles GM Howie Roseman did not get along well.
You could also say that Howie got Chip fired a year after Chip got Howie half-fired. (Roseman was promoted to a job with more money and no power, while Chip took over most of his GM duties.) Both would be true.
But apparently Howie isn't done yet. There are indications that he is aggressively getting rid of players associated with Chip Kelly's one year as GM.
According to Ian Rapoport, he has already traded away two of Chip's highest-profile acquisitions from last year.
Kiko Alonso & Byron Maxwell have both been informed they are being traded to the #Dolphins, pending physicals, source said. It's happening— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2016
Maxwell played poorly at the start of the 2015 season. He was solid in the second half of the year, but not the lockdown #1 CB that the Eagles hoped for when they signed him to a 6-year, $63 million contract.
Alonso had a great rookie year with Buffalo, but missed the entire 2014 season with an ACL tear. Despite an outstanding end-zone interception in game one against Atlanta, pictured above, he struggled to regain his form in 2015, especially after re-injuring his same knee and deciding to play through it.
Compensation for the two players has not been confirmed -- it looks like a package of draft picks -- and the deal is pending physicals, which are not a gimme in Kiko's case.
But wait -- there's more! The Eagles let CB/S Walter Thurmond, one of Chip's biggest successes, become a free agent. And most of their running backs appear to be on the block, too.
#Eagles have made it known that it's not just DeMarco Murray who is available, but also Ryan Mathews, as well, for the right price.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2016
Oakland is rumored to be one of the possible destinations for Murray, though Mathews performed better all year. There has also been speculation that the team will release RB/PR Darren Sproles, who turns 33 in June.
To be fair, Roseman extended QB Sam Bradford for two years on a relatively expensive deal. Even there, though, the deal is weighted toward not keeping him long-term, as it lets the team cut the QB after one year by swallowing a relatively small 2017 guarantee ($4 million), in return for giving Bradford all the leverage if the team did want to extend him.
Howie also extended the contracts of several players -- TEs Zach Ertz and Brent Celek, OT Lane Johnson, DE Vinny Curry, and S Malcolm Jenkins. The common denominator? He was the GM when each was acquired.
In Hollywood, it's common for new presidents at the movie studios to bury the projects of their predecessors, either canceling them altogether or debuting them on a bad weekend with minimal advertising. Why? To prevent the vanquished studio boss from being proven shrewd after their firing, which might make the new boss look bad in comparison. That's arguably good for the executive's career, but undeniably bad for the studio.
It looks like Roseman might be doing something similar. Murray and Maxwell are expensive free agents who did not live up to their billing, so it makes sense to try to trade them.
But Alonso, the PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year, is still on his rookie contract and makes less than a million dollars a year. Ryan Mathews averaged 5.1 yards per carry and scored six TDs behind a terrible offensive line. He'd be poised for a great year with a better line and without Murray ahead of him in the rotation, vocally demanding the bulk of carries. Walter Thurmond was a standout success, even in his first year converting from CB to safety.
Furthermore, the Bradford extension made sense for a team that is contending this year, while these transactions scream "rebuilding." Roseman has a reputation as a shrewd contract negotiator, but also as a paranoid and Machiavellian bureaucratic infighter. It looks like the that darker angel is at least as active in these transactions.
Update: Well, that was fast.
Tennessee finalizing deal for Eagles RB DeMarco Murray, league sources tell ESPN. Trade expected to be complete for new league year Weds— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2016