The bold but dangerous Chip Kelly
Nearly a week later, I still find myself wondering aloud, “Wait, did Chip Kelly really trade for Sam Bradford?”
On mobile? Click here to enlarge
Nearly a week later, I still find myself wondering aloud, "Wait, did Chip Kelly really trade for Sam Bradford?"
That was certainly the sentiment early last week when Kelly pulled off a trade no one predicted (well, except one Reddit user) by shipping Nick Foles and a second-round pick to St. Louis for the often-injured Bradford and a fourth-round pick.
Obviously, there are all kinds of incentives placed on the deal, and who knows if acquiring Bradford was just one part of an elaborate plan to trade up to select Marcus Mariota (and no Mike Florio, Chip doesn't need to give Bradford a no-trade clause to prove his loyalty). All we know for certain is Chip Kelly is a roster-shifting madman who reminds Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King of Jimmy Johnson, who visited with Chip a couple times on Kelly's request.
"We're both confident, both competent, both know how to win," Johnson told King. "We talked after he got the new responsibilities this year. I just said, 'Go with people you believe in, and go with players who fit your personality and fit your system.'"
Like Kelly, Johnson shed his starting quarterback (Steve Pelluer), leading receiver (Ray Alexander) and star running back (Herschel Walker). But there's one big difference - the Cowboys were the worst team in the league two years in the row, not coming off repeat 10-win performances and a playoff appearance.
Johnson also hinted at more moves in the Eagles' future, telling King during the last conversation he had with Kelly lasted over an hour. "He was loading his guns."
Chip unloaded some of those guns on DeMarco Murray, the former Cowboys running back who signed with the Eagles last Thursday. Quickly, fans who were sour on the Bradford deal returned to praise Kelly for the signing, excited about seeing Murray's north-south running style in Chip's system.
It's easy to see why he's a good fit. Murray was the league leader in efficiency yards in 2014, wracking up 2,027 efficiency yards, according to Football Outsider. Despite ending the season as the NFL's 3rd leading rusher, LeSean McCoy netted just 1,215 efficiency yards, ranking him 16th. Plus, with Sproles and Matthews on the roster, Murray won't have to shoulder such a heaving workload, keeping him fresh and uptempo throughout the season.
The biggest knock against McCoy is his tendency to carry the ball for negative yards. Since becoming the Eagles starting running back in 2010, McCoy has lost 433 yards on runs, the most in the NFL in that time span, according to Pro Football Reference.
However, if we look at 2014, things become a bit more murky. McCoy gained zero yards or less on 71 carries last season, losing 99 yards. Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray (with about 80 more carries but running behing a much better offensive line) had 73 carries for zero yards of less, losing 99 yards.
One edge we can give DeMarco is in the all-important contract. McCoy would've counted $12 million against the Eagles cap this season, while Murray's cap hit in 2015 is just $5 million. In fact, the Cowboys could've resigned their leading rusher for less than 3.5 percent of the total cap, and passed? No wonder fans are burning their jerseys and booing DeMarco at UFC appearances.
So what does this week hold? Maybe not much, which is probably a good thing, since the Eagles have just $3 million left in cap space once you account for this year's draft class. And the team still needs a safety. Maybe they can sign Stevie Brown. I mean, they already stole one Cowboy, and he is coming off an ACL injury, right?
UPDATE: @NR_Garrett was kind enough to update today's cartoon with the news that Tim Tebow worked out for the Eagles: