By Matt Bowker
I do not know what Chip Kelly is doing. The media does not know what Chip Kelly is doing. The team does not know what Chip Kelly is doing. I sure hope Chip Kelly knows what he is doing.
Kelly, the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, has completely decimated the Eagles’ roster of talent in favor of injury-prone players that may win the division, but are more likely to crash and burn like the Hindenburg. One thing’s for sure: If the Eagles fail, Kelly will almost certainly lose his job.
Let’s start with the biggest move of all: Nick Foles for Sam Bradford. Yes, the same Nick Foles that went 14-4 under Kelly and has the third-highest passer rating in an NFL season. The same Nick Foles that threw seven touchdowns in a game, tying an NFL record.
Kelly traded his “quarterback for the next 1,000 years” for a quarterback that has greatly underperformed since being drafted first-overall in the 2010 draft. This may be due to the lack of talent he had to throw to in St. Louis or his glass ACL that seems to tear at the very thought of a defender charging at him. Bradford can be a solid NFL quarterback when healthy, but the problem is he is never healthy. Bradford has only played 33 out of a possible 48 games over the last three seasons.
With Bradford’s health issues, the Eagles have much more to lose in this trade than the Rams. So why would the Eagles also need to throw in a valuable second-round pick for Bradford, who may very well suffer a serious injury early in the season? Nobody knows. It just doesn’t make sense.
The trade wasn’t the only questionable move of the offseason for the Eagles, however. Kelly traded the Eagles’ star running back, Lesean McCoy, to Buffalo for another injury-prone player, linebacker Kiko Alonso. This trade is actually quite easy to defend from Kelly’s standpoint. By getting rid of McCoy’s $11 million cap hit in 2015, the Eagles were able to sign Demarco Murray, a running back that fits the system much better than McCoy, and Ryan Mathews for the same price of McCoy.
The trade allowed the team to solidify a young front-seven with the potential to be great. In his rookie year, Alonso, who is just 24 years old, led the league in tackles on a bad Buffalo team. If he can return from his own ACL tear and play at a high level, the Eagles will have a scary front seven that will be very tough to run on. In essence, the Eagles received a player that can be the cornerstone of their defense for the next decade for an aging player, which plays a position which makes him expendable.
Nobody, not even Kelly himself, knows if these trades will make the team better than last season. At the very least, Kelly has given ESPN something to talk about for the next six months.