JEFFREY LURIE changed his mind about Howie Roseman continuing as the Eagles' general manager, 5 days after laughing off the idea.
This happened either because (a) Lurie was, as he indicated in a statement released yesterday evening, swept away by a "fully integrated," "all-encompassing vision" of his front office, that emerged from meetings this week with team president Don Smolenski, coach Chip Kelly and Roseman, or (b) because team chairman Lurie was terrified Kelly might leave if he didn't get full control of personnel and the draft.
Get back to us when you figure out which reason seems more plausible.
The Eagles announced a front office restructuring yesterday evening that takes away all the guesswork: The next time they end up drafting a Danny Watkins or a Marcus Smith in the first round, we won't get to speculate endlessly over whether he was this guy's or that guy's pick. Kelly now is in control of personnel.
Two years into a 5-year deal, Kelly will now fully control whether he succeeds or fails. And presumably, there won't be any more intrigue (at least for a while) over whether Kelly is unhappy and wants to leave.
Kelly will hire a personnel chief who will report to him. Some observers are concluding that person will be the general manager, but usually, general managers negotiate contracts, and this person will not do that - Roseman still will, along with handling the salary cap, in his new role as executive vice president of football operations.
Kelly is in charge of the draft, trades, scouting, everything on the player side except the medical and equipment staffs, which Roseman controls.
Lurie announced that meetings this week produced "a comprehensive approach on how to seamlessly integrate the personnel and coaching departments in order to maximize every facet of the process.
"Working with Chip, Howie and Don, we came up with what we believe will be a more thorough and thoughtful model that would best be overseen by Chip. It's most important that we find players that match what our coaches are seeking."
That was an interesting assertion in the Lurie statement, given that sources with knowledge of the situation have said that last May, Roseman's scouting staff was really ticked when the coaches were allowed to change a draft board that the scouts had set - part of the ongoing conflict that led to yesterday's restructuring. (But many NFL people think organizations work best when coaches coach and scouts scout, so we'll see how this works.)
"This new approach goes even further than we have in the past, starting with Day 1 of the scouting process," Lurie said in the statement. "This is part of an all-encompassing vision that takes you from the scouting process all the way to on-field performance."
Lurie acknowledged that he told reporters on Sunday, following the season finale at the Giants, that Roseman would return as GM, amid speculation about strife between Kelly and Roseman over personnel matters. That speculation heightened when the Eagles dismissed player personnel VP Tom Gamble on Wednesday, with a statement that quoted Roseman and not Kelly, who was perceived to be close to Gamble.
By yesterday, there was even speculation Kelly might leave if he had to remain in a power structure in which he and Roseman shared personnel responsibilities and each reported directly to Lurie.
"When I said - after the Giants game - that Howie was returning as general manager next season, I meant that. But after carefully listening and reflecting on the lengthy discussions that I had with our senior team, I changed my mind," Lurie said. Roseman has been in the organization for 16 years and has been GM since 2010; he sits at Lurie's side during games and is the Eagles exec who spends more time with the chairman than anyone else.
"I have a very good relationship with Chip that continues to grow stronger and stronger," Lurie said. "When we spoke, he was thoughtful, thorough and professional. There were no demands, no threats - quite the contrary - he was passionate, engaged and articulated a dynamic and clear vision on how this fully integrated approach will work. We look forward to seeing it come to life over time."
Given that Kelly will hire a personnel exec, the whole business of him being upset about the departure of Gamble now seems a bit odd; Gamble was supposed to be Kelly's guy, yet Kelly will now be hiring Kelly's guy. For what it's worth, an Eagles source indicated last night that Gamble's departure did not spur the restructuring, meaning the Gamble firing alone was not a big issue for Kelly.
Roseman, who has not responded to requests for comment, was quoted by the Eagles as saying: "Philadelphia is my home and the Eagles are my family. My No. 1 goal is to help bring a championship to this city and that will never change. I believe this will solidify the trust we have all placed in coach Kelly."
Roseman was given a contract extension in the restructuring, the Eagles said. Nonetheless, given his long quest to have a strong personnel role, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him seek other opportunities, now that he has been cut out of that setup.
Kelly was quoted as saying: "I am very confident about where we are headed as a team and as an organization. I look forward to continue working with Jeffrey and Howie as well as the personnel department.
"This is not a one-man operation. It will truly take a team effort to acquire and develop the best football players and then put the best team on the field each week. It will take all of us working together."
Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was back home last night after interviewing for the head coaching job in Oakland . . . Four Eagles were named second-team Associated Press All-Pro - Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin, Jason Peters and Darren Sproles. Cox's inclusion was most important, because as a 3-4 defensive lineman, he was relegated to sixth alternate status in the Pro Bowl voting.