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Eagles trade 3 disappointments tied to Chip Kelly

Asked last month what role, if any, he had in signing Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray, Howie Roseman avoided piling on Chip Kelly and steered his answer toward the future. If only Kelly was so kind when asked about Marcus Smith last March.

Asked last month what role, if any, he had in signing Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray, Howie Roseman avoided piling on Chip Kelly and steered his answer toward the future. If only Kelly was so kind when asked about Marcus Smith last March.

"I think the best thing we can do is just move forward this year," the Eagles vice president of football operations said at the NFL scouting combine, "and talk about what's going on this offseason."

But in about five hours on Monday - the first day that teams could officially negotiate trades and free-agent acquisitions - Roseman's actions spoke clearly. He traded both Maxwell and Murray, thus distancing himself from those 2015 offseason additions.

Maxwell will go to the Dolphins and Murray to the Titans. Kiko Alonso, also included in the trade to Miami, was the cherry on top. In one fell swoop Roseman exorcised three major transactions from Chip Kelly's year in charge of personnel.

But these weren't just cursory moves meant to signal the return of Roseman. All three - Maxwell and Murray came via free agency and Alonso in the trade for LeSean McCoy - underperformed last season. All three weren't scheme or locker room fits and likely would not be with the new coaching staff.

That the Eagles wanted to part with the three, especially Murray, was one of the worst-kept secrets in the NFL. That Roseman convinced the Dolphins and Titans to take his expendables seems remarkable. Of course, details of the deal remain unknown, and Miami and Tennessee's incompetency shouldn't be underestimated.

Maxwell and Murray also had to agree to restructure their contracts, and the draft-pick compensation won't be especially significant, but the Eagles cleared about $10 million from their salary cap.

They still have to eat about $9 million in dead money, but now they have approximately $26 million in cap space heading into the start of free agency on Wednesday. The trades will become official at 4 p.m. that day.

Roseman may not be finished erasing Kelly. The Eagles were also dangling running back Ryan Mathews on the market, but that was before Murray was dealt. Almost every move this offseason has been to affirm decisions made before January 2015 and correct the ones made after.

The Eagles have signed Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Vinny Curry and Malcolm Jenkins to new contracts. The only significant deal that had Kelly's fingerprints on it was retaining Sam Bradford, who came in exchange for Nick Foles last March.

When Jeffrey Lurie handed the reins to Kelly more than a year ago, he softened the blow to the expunged Roseman. He extended Roseman's contract through 2019, increased his annual salary to $1.6 million, gave him a fancy new title, and maintained in a statement that the former general manager would still oversee the salary cap and contract negotiations.

The Eagles owner may have felt he was doing Roseman a favor, but what he did by defining his role was give the false impression that he had almost as much clout as Kelly. A commonly heard refrain has been that while Kelly may have had final say on going after Maxwell and Murray, it was Roseman who negotiated bad contracts.

Roseman handled several negotiations, but he was merely following Kelly's orders. His office, it should be noted, was moved out of the football operations end of the NovaCare Complex. Kelly didn't seem to even know what Roseman's responsibilities were, aside from contracts, last June.

"There are some things he's doing - I don't know exactly what those are," Kelly said. "Those are under the direction of Mr. Lurie."

It's hard to feel sorry for Roseman now. He's back in the saddle with even more power and a coach in Doug Pederson who won't likely make him look over his shoulder. And Lurie has more than made up for his lapse by avoiding questions about Roseman's role moving forward.

But there is no longer any confusion about who is running personnel. There shouldn't have been before. Roseman was chiefly responsible for the 2010-14 offseasons. Clearly, his handling of free agency over the last several years and already this offseason is a response to the 2011 Dream Team disaster.

Maxwell and Murray were 2015 versions of Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, et al. They were signed to contracts above market - Maxwell for $63 million over six years and Murray for $40 million over five years - and neither seemed to want to play up to the numbers.

Early on it was apparent that Maxwell wasn't skilled enough to be a shutdown cornerback, but there were also many instances of alligator-armed tackle attempts and lackadaisical running. Like Asomugha, he didn't have the temperament to play under the Philly microscope that harshly judges high-priced free agents.

Murray almost seemed as if he didn't want to be here from the get-go. He inexplicably didn't practice on the first day of training camp and missed sessions throughout. Malcolm Jenkins once brought him a chair as he watched from the sidelines.

The Eagles safety said it was just in fun, but almost all of the locker room never embraced Murray. He remained standoffish throughout, and when he slid to avoid a hit from a 185-pound Dolphins cornerback in November, several teammates paid notice.

Kelly didn't exactly help Murray on the field with his reluctance to run the ball from under center, but the then-27-year-old, who led the NFL in rushing and carries in 2014, looked as if he was hitting the 30-year-old wall for running backs a few years early.

Alonso never looked 100 percent after September arthroscopic knee surgery. He may still have upside, but he may also be ill-fitted to play strong-side linebacker in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's 4-3 scheme.

Ultimately, the Eagles parted with three players who were poor investments. There are holes at cornerback, running back and linebacker. The question now, and one that has often been answered dubiously, is whether Roseman can effectively fill those holes.