Howie Roseman’s tenure as Eagles general manager has included a Super Bowl title, three fired coaches, and his fair share of critics. Through it all, he’s kept Jeffrey Lurie’s unwavering trust.
Jeffrey Lurie doesn’t like to be interrupted during Eagles games. At Lincoln Financial Field, he sits center stage, his gaze fixed on the field, immune to the 70,000 screaming fans, the 30 or so spectators in his suite, his wife, Tina, to his right, and sometimes even a celebrity guest to his left, like Bradley Cooper.
But then a familiar figure emerges who breaks Lurie’s concentration and kneels beside him to whisper in his ear. The Eagles owner listens intently. He might offer a few words in return. And then Howie Roseman withdraws, climbs a few steps, and stands in the back.
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Roseman’s visits can be frequent. Most times Lurie’s general manager is relaying information to his boss about injuries. More recently he has sent some updates via text. But that Roseman is even in the owner’s box, and the only Eagles voice Lurie hears, is to many team observers indicative of the unique bond the two men share.
Lurie will talk to various department heads. But on the football side, it’s overwhelmingly Roseman. Whether it’s game day, practice, or around the NovaCare Complex, if the owner is listening to anyone about the Eagles, it’s often his most trusted adviser and confidant.
The Inquirer spent months talking to more than two dozen team sources, past and present, as well as other league sources familiar with the inner workings of the Eagles to build a portrait of a team in transition — even if the relationship of the two men at the top remains unbroken. The sources, in most cases, requested and were granted anonymity because they were unauthorized to speak publicly on the subject, feared retribution because they had conflicts with Roseman, or felt they couldn’t speak freely if named.
Despite the Eagles’ fall since their Super Bowl championship three years ago, Roseman’s authority remains untouched. In other cities, few might question his staying power. But in Philadelphia, the professional football team is the No. 1 sports topic, and after finally tasting a title, many fans are left wondering what went wrong.
Every facet of the team has been questioned, but none more so than Roseman’s role. How has he survived the carnage? And why does he still have Lurie’s undying support? To many inside the organization, the answer lies in that owner’s suite: Lurie’s desire to have Roseman there, and the GM’s willingness to oblige.
Roseman is a rarity in that he’s the only current GM in the league to survive the firing of three head coaches. Few outlast two. When Lurie axed Doug Pederson two months ago, many weren’t surprised following an abysmal 4-11-1 season.
That Roseman would retain final say in personnel, even though his roster moves had as much to do with the team’s regression as did injuries, befuddled many outside the NovaCare Complex. That he would be involved in selecting the next coach — former Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni — and now lead another rebuilding project exasperated just as many.
“Jeffrey is not always present, and when he is present, virtually the only person he’s spending the majority of time with, or interacting with, is Howie,” said a team source who worked with both. “Jeffrey likes to ask questions, but it can often influence how he perceives things because he’s prone to believe the person he last spoke to.
“And there’s no one who comes close to talking to him as much as Howie.”
Roseman and Lurie, through a team spokesman, declined to comment for this article.
Eagles staffers never doubted Roseman’s invincibility, or Lurie’s abiding faith in his 45-year-old GM. Roseman did, after all, help construct the 2017 championship team just two years after spending a year in exile. Even if Pederson wasn’t held to the same standard, Lurie likely took Roseman’s entire resumé into account.
His win-loss record is above average. The Eagles have gone 91-84-1 (.520 winning percentage) and reached the postseason in five of his 11 seasons as GM. A fair accounting would also exclude the 7-9 season in 2015 when former coach Chip Kelly muscled Roseman out of the personnel department.
In the seven years Roseman has had final say on the roster — 2013-14 and 2016-20 — the Eagles have won 62, lost 49 and tied one (.563), qualified four times for the playoffs and gone 4-3 there, and won a Super Bowl.
Roseman is, in some ways, an exemplar for the modern-day NFL: a non-traditionalist GM who heads a many-faceted operation. With unorthodoxy can come resistance. But among the old guard, the ascendancy and standing of the former intern with a law degree has been justified.
“I’ve always had a lot of respect for Howie,” said Mike McCartney, formerly the Eagles’ director of player personnel, who was there when Roseman showed up to work on the salary cap in 2000, and has since as an agent negotiated several contracts with him. “He didn’t necessarily come up from a true football scouting path, but through the years, he really worked hard to watch tape and study players, and has a lot of success because of that.
“Howie has always had a spirit where he wants to learn and I’ve always found him to be very honest about players.”
Still, compared to GMs with longer or equal tenures, all of whom have worked with just one or two coaches, Roseman’s performance pales in terms of numbers. His last three offseasons, by almost any measure, have been subpar, and the roster is now arguably at its nadir.
Just last month he traded Carson Wentz, five years after forfeiting a ransom to draft the quarterback, and just two years after signing him to a $128 million extension. Roseman’s decision to draft Jalen Hurts in 2020, with encouragement from Lurie, was among the reasons Wentz wanted out of Philly, a source close to the quarterback said.
After Lurie fired his coach on Jan. 11, he defended his GM like a father protecting a favored son. Many fans were outraged that the 69-year-old owner hardly acknowledged recent poor drafts and dubious contracts.
But Lurie views the Eagles, as one team source put it, through “Roseman-colored glasses.”
The GM has long mastered the art of managing up, according to many team observers, past and present. And his ability to control the narrative was cited by many as a significant reason why Roseman is still held in such high regard.
Roseman is Lurie’s liaison on almost all football-related areas, and because he is ubiquitous, as one source put it, his point of view has become indispensable.
“His preferred method is to have a lot of one-on-one conversations,” a former Eagles staffer said. “So he’ll grab a coach here, grab a scout there, and it’s almost never in a group to hash out all the issues.”
Stay in one place for an extended period, especially in the cutthroat NFL, and you’re likely to have enemies. But even some of Roseman’s allies said they understand why sometimes he’s difficult to defend.
Roseman’s treatment of subordinates, particularly assistant coaches, compelled some to speak out. And while he has fostered relationships with some players, one notable locker room outburst toward a franchise cornerstone unmasked a different side of Roseman. (More on that below.)
“There’s nobody in the NFL, or almost anywhere, that doesn’t have some element of self-preservation as part of what they do,” said a league source who previously worked with Roseman . “But you can take it too far and be consumed by it and have it be all that moves you. And people sense that, or they’ll feel that, or they’ll live it. I don’t think people who are in Howie’s position who are really good at the job have these kinds of problems to the degree he does.”
Roseman has his defenders, those who attempt to contextualize his conduct and how he manages. He can have good intentions. He can be an attentive supervisor. He’s intensely loyal to loyalists. But the testosterone-filled NFL, and the instability of jobs, can at times play to certain impulses with Roseman, they said.
“He’s not a bad guy,” an NFL source said. “Does he have a good heart in him? Yes. … But at times he can be evasive. You just need to have certain people skills to deal with him.”
The bigger issue, to some, is Lurie. The owner has given Roseman unfettered power because it shields Lurie’s increasing involvement, on everything from draft picks to assistant coaches. And the GM, after 21 years with the Eagles, does some of Lurie’s bidding before he signs off on decisions, sources said. (Lurie, in January, disputed the notion that he has become more involved in football decisions.)
“The truth is Jeffrey is a lot more involved than people know,” one source said. “He puts Howie in a difficult spot.”
And with the impressionable Lurie receiving the majority of information through one lens, there has become a melding of opinion so that others have little say on major decisions, said sources who pinned blame for the team’s three-year descent in part because of this issue.
Compared to his predecessors, Lurie has been successful since buying the Eagles in 1994. In 27 seasons, the team has won 55% of its regular-season games, been to the playoffs 15 times, and, of course, brought home the region’s first Lombardi Trophy.
The organization was considered second-rate under Norman Braman, but Lurie invested in the franchise and the Eagles became a model for other sports teams. Various publications have named the company a top workplace. It serves Philadelphia through many community initiatives and has raised millions for charities.
Lurie is a likable figure. He’s idealistic, which can often leave him unsatisfied. Even after the Super Bowl win, he questioned defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz on his unit’s poor performance against the Patriots.
A year later, after the Eagles skirted past the Bears in the first round of the playoffs, Lurie was despondent in the locker room because the offense had scored only 16 points, sources said. In 2019, when the Eagles upset the Packers on the road, 34-27, Lurie’s elation was muted because the offense had favored the running game.
He is hands-on. On Tuesdays during the season, Lurie would meet with Pederson for in-depth conversations, about key decisions made in the previous game and the use of analytics. Discussions between Pederson and Lurie were hardly ever contentious, sources said. The coach, for one, was often amenable and Lurie is considered by those who know him to be conflict-averse.
That’s one reason he values continuity in his organization. He’s had only two team presidents — Joe Banner and Don Smolenski — and while he’s had a quick hook of late, five coaches in 27 years is fewer than most NFL teams.
Roseman is one of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs. Excluding owners Jerry Jones (Cowboys) and Mike Brown (Bengals), who hold that title for their teams, and coach Bill Belichick, who is the Patriots’ de facto GM, only the Saints’ Mickey Loomis, the Steelers’ Kevin Colbert and the Seahawks’ John Schneider have been in their positions as long.
Loomis contractually has final say, but he reportedly mostly handles contracts while coach Sean Payton makes most of the personnel calls. Colbert and Schneider share some sway with coaches Mike Tomlin and Pete Carroll, respectively, but both are the closest contemporaries to Roseman.
In Colbert’s 21 seasons in charge of personnel, Pittsburgh has gone 217-117-2 (.649), been to the playoffs 13 times, and won two of three Super Bowl appearances. In Schneider’s 11 seasons, Seattle has gone 112-63-1 (.639), been to the playoffs nine times, and won one of two Super Bowls.
Both have benefited from having franchise quarterbacks for most of their terms. Roseman thought he had his man in Wentz. But last season the 28-year-old had one of the worst-ever regressions for a quarterback, and wanted out of Philly for many reasons, including his lost faith in Roseman.
It’s unclear to most how Lurie views Roseman’s role in Wentz’s departure. The Eagles were able to receive a 2021 third-round draft pick and a 2022 second-round pick that could become a first — relatively fair compensation that some sources believed Roseman would tout to Lurie.
“There’s mistakes, but what I have to look at is the process,” Lurie said, asked in January about Roseman’s decisions, “and I have to look at the performance over time, but most importantly I have to look at the process.”
Lurie has said that he evaluates Roseman on more than just personnel, but also on how he supervises football operations, the equipment services, the medical and training staffs.
Roseman is Lurie’s liaison on almost all football-related areas, and because he is ubiquitous, as one source put it, his point of view has become indispensable.
Few in the organization ever voiced concern about Wentz, for instance, even during intermittent struggles, for fear of being shunned by Roseman.
“At almost no point in personnel meetings the last couple years did anyone say anything negative about Carson,” said a team source who was part of personnel discussions . “Even when he would actually look [bad] in practice, almost nobody was willing to say anything because they knew it would be their death sentence.”
The apolitical Schwartz, in a rare moment, sounded the alarm during a get-together Lurie hosted at his Main Line estate in June 2019 when he criticized the quarterback after a lackluster spring, said two sources who were there. But it was too late anyway: Wentz’s extension was announced later that week. (Schwartz declined an interview request.)
Lurie has long-held, big-picture beliefs on team building, but in the areas in which he lacks fundamental knowledge, he may ask many questions.
He can become enamored of the newest trends in analytics and sports psychology and will spend, if necessary. The Eagles’ infrastructure is vast like most NFL teams nowadays, but each department is layered with personnel, and that doesn’t even include the many consultants Lurie pays.
Roseman, thus, has been given a considerable budget.
“Part of the reason why Howie has survived as long as he has is because Jeffrey gives him an unlimited financial leash,” said an Eagles source who was involved in day-to-day operations, “to hire more people and to pay them more money — more than most organizations — to fix his mistakes.”
A willingness to identify and admit a mistake early on could be viewed positively. There have been many changes since the Super Bowl to the sports medicine and performance staffs.
Longtime team doctors Peter DeLuca and Gary Dorsheimer were let go during the 2018 offseason, and Stephen Stache lasted only one year as a replacement before Arsh Dhanota was hired as chief medical officer in 2019. Just last offseason, Roseman kept head trainer Jerome Reid, who had been hired just two years before, even though he was essentially demoted, and brought in Tom Hunkele as director and Reid’s superior.
The Eagles, meanwhile, were one of the most injured teams in the NFL over the last three seasons, and to many staffers, there was a correlation. Only three teams had more games lost to injury from 2018-19, according to Football Outsiders. And while the 2020 analysis has yet to be released, the Eagles are expected to be near the bottom again.
The general manager
Roseman’s rise with the Eagles, from intern to GM, and his transformation, from the business side to the football one, has been oft-told. Lacking playing or scouting experience, he got his foot in the door as a salary cap analyst. And as his fiscal responsibilities grew, he started contributing write-ups on players.
He put in long hours of film study and soon became one of the Eagles’ more trusted evaluators. He moved full-time into personnel in 2008, but maintained his role as Banner’s right-hand man for contracts.
Roseman is generally well-respected in the agent community, known as both a tough negotiator and as a deal maker. Certainly there have been agents who have felt taken advantage of, but Roseman’s wizardry with numbers has at least presented many “win-win” deals.
The Eagles, long one of the more fiscally sound teams, have found themselves in salary-cap purgatory this offseason, however. Roseman’s borrowing from the future and the dead money he’s had to eat on many contracts will hinder the team’s ability to invest in the present.
No one could have predicted that a pandemic would flatten the cap when Roseman signed off on many of those deals. And he’s already begun to release expensive veterans and restructure contracts to create space. The Eagles aren’t in as dire shape with the cap as some have suggested.
But there is obvious concern, both internally and externally, about Roseman’s ability to rebuild the roster. He helped orchestrate quick turnarounds in 2013 and 2016, after Andy Reid and Kelly were fired — likely reasons Lurie will entrust him a third time — but the current cast is debatably the worst it’s been in over 20 years.
Compared to most GMs, his drafts and free-agent signings have been solid. And when he has missed on prospects, he has been able to recover occasionally with bold trades. But the last three years there have been more drops than catches.
Roseman has been unable to escape criticism from some, fair or not, that his lack of football background makes him less of a judge of talent. Sources close to Roseman suggest he has used these slights as motivation.
But he also gained a reputation as a schemer who outmaneuvered his competition within the personnel department until he was the only top evaluator left standing in 2010 when he rose to GM. Reid and Banner countered those claims at the time, and said that Roseman was the most qualified.
“Some of that could be bitterness,” an NFL source said of the resentment from past colleagues. “Some of them, I think if they honestly evaluated themselves, they would see they could have done things better so it wouldn’t have gotten so bad.”
Roseman was ousted from personnel five years later when Kelly forced Lurie’s hand. The coach never directly communicated his issues, and instead would often avoid the GM, or ridicule him behind his back with then-vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble.
That experience, along with other such non-”football guy” derision, are reasons why, sources close to Roseman said, he can return fire.
“What do you expect? Howie wants you to tell him the truth,” a league source said. “He just doesn’t want to have a big argument in a group setting. So if you have those conversations one-on-one, Howie’s going to respect it. He might not always agree, but he’s going to listen.”
Roseman spent much of his yearlong exile studying other professional sports teams, and when reinstated he said the thing he learned most was that running a team was “all about the people.”
Was Roseman 2.0 different? A few leftovers from the previous regime said he made a concerted effort to mature into his standing. Some countered the notion. Winning may have masked some of his managing flaws, but as the Eagles’ fortunes declined after the Super Bowl, Roseman lost sight of his all-about-the-people credo, sources said.
Scarred by the Kelly experience, and aware that many GMs don’t get second chances, he became even more of a self-preservationist in his dealings with coaches, staffers, and players, sources said. To others, inter-department clashes can also be attributed to the cost of doing business in a competitive field.
“I think there’s always a natural tension between the short-term goals of a franchise and the long-term goals,” said McCartney, who represented past Eagles quarterbacks Josh McCown and Mike Kafka. “You could do a deep dive with any team and find that. That’s life in the NFL. I’m not dismissing it, but I also don’t view it as abnormal if there have been tough conversations through the years.”
In September 2018, when the Eagles lost an overtime heartbreaker to the Titans, Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson allowed two sacks, the second to rookie defensive end Harold Landry, who forced a fumble in the fourth quarter.
The following week, Johnson was with teammates in the NovaCare cafeteria when Roseman walked up and said, according to sources, “I’ve never seen you get beat by a rookie before.” The pair were known to bust each other’s chops, but Johnson, who was also dealing with personal issues at the time, didn’t take kindly to the jab. He left the facility.
A month later, the Eagles were in London to face the Jaguars. Johnson had suffered a high ankle sprain three games earlier but continued to forge on. But as the players geared up that Sunday in the Wembley Stadium locker room, Johnson voiced concerns about playing.
Roseman caught wind and berated him, sources present said. Nearby teammates and coaches couldn’t understand why he would provoke him, considering Johnson’s current state. The tackle finished suiting up and as he walked by Roseman, the GM said, according to sources, “Good, you have your mouthpiece in, now you can’t say anything stupid.”
The last comment, which a source close to Roseman said was intended to be playful, set Johnson off. “I can’t play for this [expletive],” he said, according to a source. He took off his equipment and went to the showers and missed pregame warmups. Left tackle Jason Peters went to Pederson’s office for help defusing the situation.
Defensive end Chris Long, right guard Brandon Brooks, and others talked Johnson into playing. He lasted seven plays. Johnson further aggravated his ankle injury and sprained a knee ligament.
The Eagles still won. Roseman sought counsel on how to apologize to Johnson and did so on the plane ride home, sources said. Johnson sat out the next game, but he returned in Week 11 and played through injury the rest of the season. (Johnson did not respond to a request for comment, although a source said his relationship with Roseman is good.)
Johnson signed a four-year contract extension with the Eagles in November 2019. A few weeks later, he suffered another sprain to the same ankle, and during the following training camp had surgery. He played in only seven games last year before another surgery to his ankle ended his season.
Roseman’s flare-up with Johnson wasn’t indicative of his typical outward relationship with players, sources said. If anything, he is often chummy and isn’t afraid to penetrate the usual divide between management and the workforce.
Some executives prefer to stay away from the locker room. Roseman’s affection for certain players, sources close to the GM said, shows that he cares deeply about the product. But some also concede that it can color his decisions (see: bringing back wide receiver DeSean Jackson).
GMs may be forced to have direct, difficult conversations with players, but typically those occur in one-on-one settings and in the offseason. The coach is often the voice of the team in-season, but Pederson, as much as players liked playing for him, could be aloof, sources said. Roseman might have felt compelled to step in and fill that void.
To some players, Roseman was just the conventional embodiment of untrustworthy NFL front office types.
Some sources pointed to the Johnson incidents as examples of when Roseman either failed to read a situation properly or said or did something without realizing the harm he’d done unless it was pointed out to him. While trying to be just one of the guys in the locker room, it could come off as nothing more than theatrics.
“I think he feels like he has those relationships with everyone in the locker room,” a player said. “I think he would be horrified by the truth.”
One player recalled how immediately after he agreed to a contract, Roseman’s attention shifted to determining which national reporter he should pawn the details to — without asking the player how he felt about his personal information being shared.
Roseman certainly understands he isn’t popular with every player. But he does have his guys, players he has fostered relationships with long past their careers. There can be a sense from some that he favors stars, or too often takes their preferences into consideration.
Franchise-caliber players across the league, especially quarterbacks, may be given sway on their teams. But many sources believed that the opinions of Wentz and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox on coaches and personnel factored too much into decisions.
Wentz butted heads with offensive coordinator Mike Groh. He favored Press Taylor. The former was fired and the latter promoted. Wentz wasn’t picking players, per se, but Roseman kept him too involved in the process, sources said.
The same could be said of Cox and his influence in coaching decisions. Did the six-time Pro Bowler make the final call on the hiring and firing of assistants Chris Wilson and Phillip Daniels? No. But his thinking weighed heavily on the resolutions, sources said.
There were likely other reasons for their departures, but based upon production, the defensive line was consistently among the Eagles’ top-performing units.
Pederson technically made the final decisions on his assistants. But in many of the firings he first told the coaches they were returning until Roseman and/or Lurie stepped in to either argue their cases or provide context, sources said.
Wide receivers coaches Greg Lewis and Carson Walch, Groh, and Daniels were initially told by Pederson they’d be back, only to be fired days or weeks later. There was a front office desire for offensive coordinator Frank Reich to be removed after the 2016 season, but Pederson was able to save the now-Colts coach, sources said.
Many differed on who was most to blame for the coaching carousel at certain positions. Was it Roseman for apparently overreaching out of his domain? Was it Lurie for seemingly pulling the strings? Was it Pederson for possibly not making the right hires in the first place? All of the above?
Ultimately, Lurie fired Pederson partly because the head coach refused to back off from his initial suggestions for coaching changes this offseason. (Pederson declined to comment.)
“If you reach the point you don’t have confidence in the coach to pick his own staff, you should be replacing him,” said a league source familiar with the Eagles’ inner workings. “On the other hand, they win the Super Bowl and make the playoffs the next two years — what moment were you supposed to fire the guy? While generally it’s a bad idea, Doug did seem to drop the ball.”
It’s important to not lose sight of the fact that the Eagles, from top to bottom, did a lot right from 2016-19. They built a winning group of coaches. But the dynamic shifted when Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo left and Groh was promoted from receivers coach.
Groh and his replacements — first Gunter Brewer and then Walch — became lightning rods for fans, and fall guys in some internal corners for the offensive struggles. Roseman became a sounding board for some players, but there were instances when players felt their opinions were only sought to mount a case against certain coaches.
Roseman held meetings during training camp or in-season when specific coaches were discussed. Once, a player went back and told his position coach, sources said. Assistants felt as if they were being undermined and destined to be sacked.
In 2019, after the 5-7 Eagles were beaten by the Dolphins, a coach stumbled upon a list of potential assistants that was left on a printer. The copy made its away around the staff. It turned out that the list was something the scouting department had compiled for years.
But the reaction spoke to the general paranoia surrounding some on the coaching staff. There was an increasing fear since the Super Bowl that any criticisms said to the wrong person or in the wrong environment could find their way to Roseman.
One recurring debate is developing prospects for the future vs. sticking with veterans in the present. GMs and coaches have to often toe that line, especially as it relates to their scouts and assistants. Roseman may have to be the middleman, but there was a perception from some coaches that when there would be confrontations over players, his draft picks mattered most.
In one example, Roseman and his scouting staff met with a position coach before the season to review players. The coach gave a dim assessment of two rookies. Roseman approached him individually and lashed out, sources said. “You’re making me look bad in front of my scouts,” he said.
Roseman felt that the projection was far too early and that he needed to stick up for his scouts, sources close to the GM said. The players, it should be noted, did not contribute much in their first season.
Pederson welcomed Roseman’s input on game day rosters. While there were curious times when underperforming rookies were active — defensive end Shareef Miller dressed for two games in 2019, yet never took a snap — the Eagles generally didn’t force their picks onto the field.
Roseman’s recommendations were mostly to help with the juggling of numbers at each position. In terms of starting lineups and rotations, Pederson and his coaches made those decisions.
If there was a stepping over the line, several sources said, it was that Roseman would offer suggestions based on players’ preferences, such as how to handle rotations at certain positions.
One assistant resigned before Pederson was even fired, for various reasons including his disillusionment with management, sources said. A few other coaches had begun actively looking for lateral moves to avoid having to work with the Eagles front office.
Morale, across the board, was low last season. How could it not be? The Eagles were the worst team in the worst division. The pandemic and the restrictions it placed on gatherings only made things worse.
The draft triggered the first significant realization from staffers that business would not be conducted as usual. The usual suspects worked from their homes and meetings were conducted via video calls, which didn’t allow for the normal number of voices in the draft room.
Few can predict how even the first 10 picks unfold. So decisions may still have to be made on the fly, even after months of preparation.
Roseman will typically gauge the room, from personnel heads to top coaches, from Lurie to the analytics staff. Unanimity is unlikely, but a consensus usually makes the verdict an easy one. More often than not, opinion is mixed.
Both scouts and coaches grouse that there isn’t enough transparency between the departments when it comes to prospect gradings, and that has been one reason why there have been some notable recent mistakes.
Roseman has to ensure that information isn’t leaked to reporters or other teams. But, to some sources, his secrecy goes back to his desire to control the narrative.
“Everything is so secretive,” said a team source who worked in personnel, “and Howie is so paranoid about things getting out that terrible mistakes happen.”
Picking wide receiver Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson in the first round last April was a prime example. Roseman favored the coaching recommendation that Reagor would be better suited to the offense, vs. the scouts, who preferred Jefferson, but Roseman was all in on Reagor, too, sources said.
Roseman’s willingness to make bold decisions may be one of his greatest attributes. Although it hasn’t aged well, the trade-up for Wentz was outside-the-box thinking at its grandest. But there have also been some puzzling choices, most recently the drafting of Hurts. The scouts had safety Jeremy Chinn teed up, but Roseman went big.
[Roseman] helped orchestrate quick turnarounds in 2013 and 2016, after Andy Reid and Kelly were fired — likely reasons Lurie will entrust him a third time — but the current cast is debatably the worst it’s been in over 20 years.
Lurie, of course, will be involved in first-round picks. But that he has as much influence as he does, even on second-rounders like Hurts and receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, could be placing Roseman in an awkward spot, sources said.
It’s his team, of course, and he can do as he sees fit. But would it make more sense to focus on macro decisions, like head coaches and organizational investments, in which Lurie has comparatively done well, than on the micro?
The personnel department often has to deal with others muscling in on their territory, especially with the Eagles’ expanding infrastructure. But there has been a mounting frustration from some with the inconsistencies of the draft process, or that their evaluations aren’t being considered enough.
The last four drafts have been poor. Pro Football Focus last month ranked teams’ drafts from 2017-20 based upon their WAR (wins above replacement) model and the Eagles finished 30th out of 32 teams.
Roseman has done better in free agency and with trades. There aren’t as many viewpoints to consider, which could be one reason for the various successes. But it has also left him more to his own devices and more willing to follow his instincts.
He wasn’t always alone in the process, but he’s not making questionable calls like trading for a team-culture misfit like defensive end Michael Bennett, or bringing back the aging Jackson, or guaranteeing receiver Alshon Jeffery’s 2020 salary, or rolling it back one more time with tackle Jason Peters unless he felt strongly about doing so.
Pederson wasn’t exactly on the sidelines in terms of personnel. He supported the Hurts selection. He went along with Lurie on Arcega-Whiteside. He lobbied for his guys, like quarterback Chase Daniel.
But the coach could also be removed. One team source recalled a draft meeting in which Pederson didn’t speak up once. He and Roseman maintained a consistent working relationship for most of their five years together, but it wilted last season, sources said, and understandably so.
Pederson had been worn down by the time Lurie met him after the season. He knew the owner wouldn’t be happy with his staff suggestions — promoting Taylor to offensive coordinator, pass analyst Andrew Breiner to quarterbacks coach, and defensive line coach Matt Burke to defensive coordinator after Schwartz stepped away.
And yet, after years of “trying to maintain the peace as much as possible,” as one source close to Pederson said, he stood his ground. There were other reasons Lurie fired Pederson, but he clearly viewed his coach as more of the problem than Roseman.
As for how much of a role the GM played in Pederson’s exit, most sources believe that Lurie made the decision on his own. The greater uncertainty is how much is Roseman spinning the narrative to his advantage.
How much does Lurie believe Roseman was complicit in the 2012, 2015, and 2020 crashes? How much does he know about Roseman’s confrontations with players, coaches, and staff?
On the surface there’s enough to understand why Lurie has entrusted his team to Roseman, as the owner nears his 70th birthday: two previous rebuilds, one of which led to a title, their long-standing relationship, and a comfort with organizational stability.
But why is Roseman, after all these years, and so many significant departures — from Banner to Reid, from Gamble to Kelly, from Pederson to Wentz — the last one standing?
Lurie has a solid record when it comes to his coaching hires. But what each has in common, and Sirianni falls into this category, is that they were first-time NFL head coaches.
Roseman has been part of the last three search committees, and gets a vote, but Lurie makes the call. And while Sirianni is not expected to interfere with Roseman in personnel, an inexperienced coach and devoted GM, in the grand scheme, allows for the status quo.
The coach will coach. The GM, who normally sits with his scouts, will watch games from the owner’s suite. And the owner will remain involved in football decisions. All because that’s the way Lurie wants it.
But how much patience will the owner have a fourth time? The roster needs overhauling. A quarterback needs to emerge. Sirianni needs time to grow into his job.
Roseman has only two years left on his contract. What if he wants out? What if he wants to go to a team without as much owner interference, and a city where maybe his accomplishments would be appreciated more and each decision was not scrutinized?
He gave no such indication a day after the season ended.
“I’m not worried about my job,” Roseman said. “That’s not anything that really concerns me. That’s out of my hands. I’m worried [about] doing what’s the best and right thing for this team to get back.”
He has stayed with the Eagles long enough to see himself become the villain. It might take another Super Bowl to leave Philly a hero.