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Sources: Howie Roseman has taken almost total control of the Eagles’ decisions. He’s on a roll.

He has acquired two top receivers, snookered the Giants out of a cornerback and a first rounder, bolstered the defensive line beyond expectation, and drafted a stud LB. How? He's following his gut.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman has become his own man over the past 14 months.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman has become his own man over the past 14 months.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Sixteen months ago, I wrote this about Eagles general manager Howie Roseman:

“... let King Howie rule. Give him a free and terrible hand. Diminish his ‘advisers.’ Give Howie the scouts’ information, let the coaches have their input, then sit back and let Roseman reign.”

According to two NFL sources, that’s exactly what has happened.

The early returns seem good. Often the least popular figure in Philadelphia sports, Roseman is riding a wave of support unlike any he has ever enjoyed, even as his staff undergoes a massive upheaval.

In the last year and half he has acquired two top-flight receivers; snookered the Giants out of their best cornerback, and denied them a preferred first-round pick; bolstered the defense beyond expectation; and even drafted a stud linebacker.

» READ MORE: Senior executive Tom Donahoe leaving as the Eagles’ front office changes continue

If you like the job he’s doing, then give him full credit, because, according to the sources, today he’s less influenced by others than ever. That includes his boss, owner Jeffrey Lurie. Since the Eagles fired Doug Pederson and hired Nick Sirianni in January 2021, Lurie has stepped back, shut up, and given Roseman free rein.

Roseman has run with it.

The highlights

He executed a pair of trades that put the Eagles at No. 10 in the 2021 draft, where he snagged DeVonta Smith, whom the Giants wanted to take at No. 11. During the 2021 season, he signed left tackle Jordan Mailata and tight end Dallas Goedert to contract extensions that assuredly will be bargains.

He landed pass rusher Haason Reddick as free agency began in 2022. Then, during the draft, he picked monstrous defensive tackle Jordan Davis and used a third-round pick on Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean, possibly the most popular use of a third-round pick in Eagles history. Suddenly, the Eagles’ bland defense had flavor.

He made his most dynamic move — a draft-night trade of first-round and third-round picks for receiver A.J. Brown, whom he immediately extended — with virtually no collaboration.

“The people in our draft room didn’t know what was going on,” he said on the Dan Patrick Show. “And then we brought everyone in when we were on the clock at 18, and I’m sure people had favorites for who we should pick there, and basically said, ‘We traded the pick.’”

In the middle of it all, Roseman cut, then re-signed, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to save money. He also re-signed free agent defensive end Derek Barnett to essentially what is a one-year deal that will cost no more than $5.5 million, or about half of what Barnett cost them in 2021 to play 16 games. This cost savings helped the Eagles afford James Bradberry, a 28-year-old former Pro Bowl corner whom the Giants had to cut and who will cost the Eagles no more than $10 million.

The entire NFL knew that Bradberry was going to be released by the cap-strapped Giants. You could almost see Roseman waiting, like a spider in his web, ready to pounce where several other teams could not.


Since January, seven significant employees have left the Eagles’ front office. Some got better jobs. Some of the departures were mutual. Others were let go.

It won’t matter. Howie’s in charge, and he’s figured it out.

When Chip Kelly rousted Roseman from the GM spot in 2015, Kelly, during his two years as the top decision-maker, didn’t play well with others. Lurie fired Kelly and returned Roseman to power in January 2016, but on the condition that Roseman give more consideration to top assistants. Those top assistants became Joe Douglas and Andy Weidl.

From 2016 through 2020, Roseman often acquiesced to his assistants’ wishes. Lurie also influenced decisions, such as twice re-signing tackle Jason Peters long past his expiration date. Douglas became the Jets’ GM three years ago, and Weidl remains, and serves as Roseman’s best sounding board. But recently Roseman has listened less to the chorus of voices on the second floor at 1 NovaCare Way.

It’s not as if Roseman does not accept input from scouts and lieutenants, or that he doesn’t listen to the coaches. That input just carries less weight than ever.

He’s trusting his gut.

The disasters? Lay them all at Roseman’s feet — the buck stops there — but understand that Roseman’s decisions were influenced.

Collaboration gone bad

In 2019, Douglas loved polished tackle Andre Dillard, a high-character, pedigreed prospect whom the Eagles picked 22nd overall. As it turned out, Dillard was nowhere near ready for the demands of the NFL. He started nine games in three years.

In 2020, Eagles coaches loved mercurial Jalen Reagor, as did Lurie, who’d become enamored of raw speed in the wake of the Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl LIV, but Eagles scouts preferred prolific pass-catcher Justin Jefferson. Roseman went with the coaches and the owner. Reagor has 64 catches and three touchdowns. Jefferson has 196 catches and 17 touchdowns.

“That’s the one that did it,” said one source, a former Eagles employee.

In 2021, Roseman loved Smith from the beginning. He traded up and got him.

The moment

Roseman also liked defensive tackle Milton Williams, whom he drafted 73rd overall — a moment notoriously caught on camera, and a moment that explains the sea change in Roseman from 2020 to 2021.

Roseman had traded back, from No. 70 to No. 73, where, he gambled, Williams would still be available. He was, right after Alim McNeill went 72nd. Live cameras in the draft room broadcast Roseman’s glee when the pick was made, and Roseman’s attempted celebratory fist bump with front-office legend Tom Donahoe — a fist bump Donahoe grudgingly returned. Donahoe wanted McNeill.

Before 2021, Roseman’s reaction to Donahoe’s dismay might have been conciliatory, perhaps even apologetic. Donahoe is NFL nobility; he helped build the 1990s Steelers, and he’d been with the Eagles for 10 years, and he’d helped build the Super Bowl LII winner.

Roseman’s reaction in 2021? He shrugged.

Donahoe and the Eagles parted ways two weeks ago.

A new attitude

It’s not as if Roseman ignores the voices in the building. It’s just that, over the last two offseasons, Roseman hasn’t made the mistake of appeasing his staff, or Lurie, or the coaches — with the notable exception of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.

“We really see things through his eyes,” Roseman admitted after the draft.

In each of the last two drafts Roseman used a second-round pick on an interior offensive lineman who wasn’t expected to start as a rookie. Stout endorsed injured guard Landon Dickerson in last year’s draft and future center Cam Jurgens this year. Dickerson wound up starting 14 games. Jurgens will be backing up 34-year-old Jason Kelce, who fought through four different injuries last season. These are the sorts of investment moves that pay off.

Will they keep paying off for Howie? For the moment, Roseman, unleashed, can’t seem to miss.

If you like what you see, give Roseman full credit.

Of course, if it doesn’t work out, give him full blame.