When Ryan Grigson left the Eagles in 2012 to become general manager of the Indianapolis Colts, his departure created a hole at the top of the Eagles scouting department that general manager Howie Roseman opted not to fill.
"We're going to go with the people we have," Roseman said at the time. "Through this process when Ryan left, we kind of went with the people we had here, and we added some people that we feel really good about, and we like the dynamic as it's currently set, and we're going to go with it."
What Roseman liked best about the new dynamic was that he had finally consolidated total control over both the scouting and the football administration departments. Grigson's title had been director of player personnel, which was also the title held by Roseman before he supplanted Tom Heckert as GM in 2010.
But at that moment in late May 2012, with Grigson gone and no intent to hire a successor, Roseman held almost every card. Two weeks later, that full consolidation of power was revealed to the world when Joe Banner resigned as president, leaving Roseman without a true rival in the building.
"I came to the conclusion that the person that was providing by far the best talent evaluation in the building was Howie Roseman," owner Jeff Lurie said of the front-office moves.
Power can shift like falling and rising tides, however, and rivals can appear out of nowhere. Despite the moat he dug around his keep, Roseman's tenure as the most important man in the Eagles organization lasted barely seven months. Now, two years after that, his role has been so drastically curtailed that he has no authority concerning trades, free agency, and the draft, the very core of why he wanted to work in the NFL since he was 10 years old.
When the Eagles promoted Ed Marynowitz to the position of vice president of player personnel on Thursday, apparently to do Chip Kelly's bidding in all things concerning the roster, that was the last brick in the wall constructed between Roseman and personnel matters, but it wasn't the first or the most important. For whatever reason, Roseman lost the GM job the minute Kelly walked in the door, even if he got to keep the title a while longer.
Within a month of Kelly's arrival, the Eagles reversed the course set by Roseman and hired Tom Gamble as the VP of player personnel. We know now that the new coach was bringing an ally on board to act as his proxy in the scouting department.
"Since Ryan Grigson left to become the general manager of the [Indianapolis] Colts, we've been looking for the right person to fill his spot," Roseman said as he buried the "dynamic" he had so recently constructed.
It is left to speculation whether Kelly didn't care for Roseman's acumen as a talent evaluator, didn't care for Roseman's melding of the business side with the personnel side, or merely didn't care for Roseman. Any and all of those are possibilities. It could be as simple as a "football guy" preferring to deal with other football guys. Whatever the motivation, Kelly didn't want to deal directly with Roseman, and, after the GM sought to regain the upper hand by firing Gamble this offseason, Kelly took him out of the picture with one fearful swipe.
Kelly chose Marynowitz, who will turn 31 later this month, to replace Gamble, and everyone agrees the new personnel boss is a bright football mind with a brighter future. That doesn't mean there isn't some peril in the current setup, though.
For one thing, Marynowitz was hopscotched over two more senior members of the scouting department, Anthony Patch, the director of college scouting, and Rick Mueller, the director of pro personnel. Patch, who has an MBA and is conversant on the business side of the ledger, is the longest-tenured member of the scouting staff. Mueller is a former vice president of player personnel with the Saints. It is possible they will shrug and accept the handwriting on the wall, but if either or both left for other jobs, those would be significant holes to fill.
Far more worrisome is the matter of how Roseman and Marynowitz will coexist. Roseman better keep a tight grip on his football administration staff as it analyzes and projects the salary cap and contractual side of things, because Marynowitz can play that game, too. He holds two postgraduate business degrees, which is exactly two more than Roseman. When the Eagles eventually haul out the GM title again, even-money is that it will be given to Marynowitz.
"We intend to build a collaborative and competitive work environment with our coaches, one built upon trust and respect with a focus on winning," Marynowitz said in a statement released Thursday.
There wasn't anything in the statement about seeking collaboration elsewhere in the building. It will be interesting to see whether that is even possible.
Back in May 2012, when Roseman said the director of player personnel position would remain vacant, he announced a few other changes to the scouting department. Down the list of moves that day was the announcement that a 28-year-old player personnel director at the University of Alabama would become the Eagles' assistant director of pro scouting. Roseman couldn't have imagined that the young man, Marynowitz, would essentially have his job in less than three years.
Things happen quickly when Chip Kelly is around, though, and his is the only dynamic that matters any more.