The Eagles announced a vast restructuring of their front office to account for recent notable departures, but also to reflect the changing landscape of football operations and scouting in the NFL and potentially to protect them from other teams poaching their talent.
The 30 different changes include promotions, new titles, shifting responsibilities, and new hires, but elevating Alec Halaby and Jon Ferrari as assistant general managers to chief executive Howie Roseman gives the former vice presidents increased clout within the organization and moves them a step closer, at least nominally, to becoming GMs.
Halaby, who has long overseen the Eagles’ analytics department, and Ferrari, who has increasingly handled cross-functional roles between coaching, personnel and football operations, won’t necessarily see their duties change much. But they will be the most senior executives under Roseman.
Neither comes from a traditional football background, particularly as it relates to player evaluation.
The scouting department, meanwhile, will no longer have an executive with equal footing. Roseman opted not to replace Andy Weidl, who left recently to become assistant GM with the Steelers. Scouts previously reported to Weidl, who reported to Roseman. They will now report directly to the GM.
Roseman did bring in and promote scouts to account for the loss of Weidl, and before that, directors Ian Cunningham and Brandon Brown, who became assistant GMs with the Browns and New York Giants, respectively.
» READ MORE: Eagles losing Andy Weidl to the Pittsburgh Steelers
He made personnel executive Dave Caldwell senior personnel director/advisor to the GM. He hired Matt Russell, who used to work for the Eagles before spending the last decade-plus with the Broncos, and gave him the same title.
He brought in Brandon Hunt from the Steelers to be director of scouting, Charles Walls from the Browns to be director of player personnel and promoted director of college scouting Alan Wolking also to director of player personnel.
There is no clear hierarchy, though, among the senior directors and directors. There is an opportunity for one of the directors to ascend into Weidl’s vice president of player personnel role, or simply to be named another assistant GM.
The Eagles couldn’t block Cunningham, Brown, and former vice president of football operations Catherine Raiche, who left to become an assistant GM with Cleveland last month, from interviewing with other teams because all three didn’t have final say in personnel.
The same applied to Weidl. He won’t have final say in Pittsburgh. New GM Omar Khan will. But Khan also comes from the business side, and Weidl may presumably have more influence over personnel decisions. Returning to his hometown and to the franchise he first worked for likely also played a role in his leaving.
Roseman also stood in his way should he ever want to become a GM in Philadelphia. That being said, Weidl’s move was almost a lateral one. And it’s unclear how much the Eagles really wanted to keep him when they fired his brother, Casey, who was director of scouting operations, and had no plans to bring back his mentor, senior football advisor Tom Donahoe, last month.
The Eagles’ scouting department remains well-staffed. But the days when it was primarily responsible for player evaluation are long gone. Coaches have always had influence with some crossing over, but there is an analytical faction that has grown in sway around the NFL.
And the assistant GM promotions, specifically that of Halaby, reflects that state. Does that mean Halaby, who has long been a controversial figure in the organization, will be sought after for GM jobs with other teams? That remains to be seen.
Here are the other title changes the Eagles announced in football operations:
Dom DiSandro, senior advisor to the GM/chief security officer (previously vice president of team security/chief security officer); Bryce Johnston, vice president of football transactions and strategic planning (senior director of football transactions); Paul Lancaster, senior director of player engagement (director of player engagement); Connor Barwin, director of player development (special assistant to the GM); James Gilman, director of football analytics (assistant director of football analytics); Jeff Scott, director of football operations (senior pro scout); Jon Liu, assistant director of football analytics (football operations analyst); Kathy Mair, player resource coordinator/assistant director of player engagement (player resource coordinator); Patrick McDowell, player development assistant/scout (assistant strength and conditioning coach); Nick Still; assistant equipment manager.
Phil Bhaya, director of draft management (Southeast area scout); Max Gruder, director of pro scouting (assistant director of pro scouting); Ameena Soliman, director of personnel operations/pro scout (pro scout); Ryan Myers, assistant director of college scouting (West Coast area scout); Matt Holland, senior college/pro scout (Northeast area scout).
Here are the other new hires the Eagles announced in football operations:
Zach Drapkin, quantitative analyst; Marlon Sanders, video assistant; Elsie Reyes, administrative assistant, football operations.
And in scouting:
Jeremy Gray, assistant director of pro personnel; Jordon Dizon, national scout; Jarrod Kilburn, college/pro scout; Rod Streater, Northeast area scout; Ben Ijalana, scouting assistant.