Take a bow, Howie. After that, take a break.
Even I, one of Howie Roseman’s biggest critics, admit what the Eagles De Facto General Manager did on the first day of NFL free agency was impressive. Roseman acquired one of, if not the top wide receiver on the market in Alshon Jeffery on a one-year prove it deal. He also landed Torrey Smith, a recently underachieving wideout, on a three year contract that’s really only one if they decide to decline his reported option.
The fact is Jeffery, Smith and Jordan Matthews is a lot better looking on paper than Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham. Not only that, Roseman added offensive line depth by taking a one-year CHANCE on Chance Warmack, a once promising first round pick.
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There is FINALLY weapons for Carson Wentz throw to and Roseman didn’t need to break the bank, at least this season, to make that happen. Even cooler, NFL Network reported Jeffery turned down a longer deal with the Vikings to play with Wentz. Once again, props to Roseman because it was he who made all those moves in 2016 to draft Wentz.
Making good cap decisions with most free agent contracts, trades or cuts (which more are probably happening) is Roseman’s strength. He gets an “A” for significantly improving the wide receiver corp with Jeffery and Smith.
Now, about that break. Unless Roseman intends on bringing in more free agents, it’s time for him to go on a long vacation, maybe Turks and Caicos since he has been there before. That vacation should last through the end of April because while Roseman is great with the cap and deals, his weakness is the NFL Draft. He needs to step aside and let new Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas work his magic with complete autonomy.
The only thing I feel comfortable letting Roseman do with the draft is physically sending in the card that goes to the commissioner and hopefully the person filling out that card will be Douglas.
Why isn’t Roseman good at the draft? Selecting Danny Watkins and Marcus Smith in the first round says plenty, but don’t forget about second rounders Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett, as well as 3rd rounders Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Curtis Marsh. Not to mention, the only Roseman draft picks who have consistently contributed in a positive manner are Brandon Graham (who took forever to get going), Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson and Carson Wentz. Even putting Wentz on that list is stretch because it has only been one season, but I’ll Roseman the benefit of the doubt on his franchise quarterback. Other than the group just mentioned, there’s a lot of misses.
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Douglas is known for being a key contributor to many solid Baltimore drafts. It’s why Jeffrey Lurie and Roseman brought him to the organization.
While Roseman stocked up on wide receivers in free agency, there’s still major problems on the Eagles defense, specifically at cornerback. Roseman has stated this draft is a good corner draft. The Birds can’t afford to mess this up as they need to pick at least two solid ones who can be long term starters. Why take that chance with someone who has repeatedly come up small with evaluating college players?
Like I said, treat yourself to an exotic vacation, Howie. You deserve it, while your employer and its fans deserve an excellent draft for the first time in a long time.
And Before I Forget…
-In order to clear cap space to land players such as Jeffery and Smith, the Eagles released fan favorite Connor Barwin, who in four seasons with the Eagles recorded 31 1/2 sacks in, highlighted by a Pro Bowl 2014 campaign with 14 1/2. A drop in production and position change forced the Birds to part ways with Barwin, who was more than great Bird on the field. He was a better Philadelphian off of it. You could argue Barwin’s popularity was in the same league as recent Philadelphia athletes named Iverson, Utley and Dawkins. Except, Barwin didn’t carry the “Iversonian Baggage” or purposely hide his personality like Utley. In addition, unless I’m mistaken, Dawk never rode SEPTA regularly or was a face in the music community. I’m not trying to diminish the great legacies of the three aforementioned icons, but Barwin was in a league of his own. His devotion to charity, music, the Eagles and the Philly community raised the bar for everyone else. Barwin grew up in Detroit, played half his career so far in Houston and is heading elsewhere, but he will always be a Philadelphian. Much respect.
-Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock … the Flyers are running out of time. However, you wouldn’t know it listening to some of their post game comments after a 4-2 loss at the Maple Leafs on Thursday. In addition to Toronto winning, the Islanders and Lightning picked up two points as well. The Orange and Black are five points behind New York for the last wild card spot, four back of the Leafs and three behind Tampa. There are 16 games left, but Sean Couturier didn’t think the loss in Toronto hurt their playoff chances. Head coach Dave Hakstol said they’re not going to win every game as they go down the stretch. Shayne Gostisbehere suggested their were “glimpses” of desperation versus the Maple Leafs. If that’s the case, the Flyers won’t duplicate last year’s late season run. I should add that it was a bad decision for Hakstol to start a rusty Michal Neuvirth over a hot Steve Mason in Toronto.
-I don’t profess to be a big college basketball fan. In fact, I’m not. My interest increases come mid-March and peaks at the point the locals are done, or in last year’s instance, when a team like Villanova wins it all. Speaking of the Wildcats, what Jay Wright has done with that program is remarkable. NOVA doesn’t pump out “one and done’s” like Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and other so called “power houses.” Instead, Wright builds teams of NBA hopefuls and is in National Title consideration every season, including this one. The Cats can absolutely repeat as National Champs. It’s so hard to do though. Regardless of how far they go or don’t in the NCAA Tournament, Villanova’s season was a major success.
-The Sixers, for the time being, are irrelevant again, just like they were during the three seasons of Hinkie’s Tank™. There are 18 games left in their season, which won’t include playoffs. Mismanagement of injury prone cornerstone players Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons resulted in a shorthanded roster on a majority of nights and blatant deceit of the fans by the front office left a lot of people disgusted. Assuming Embiid and Simmons can ever be consistently healthy, the Sixers have the biggest upside of any team in the city. Yet, the other three pro squads don’t mislead the public like this team does. Clearly, forcing Sam Hinkie towards quitting didn’t improve this franchise enough. They’re going to finish in the bottom five of the league again. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I’d rather have Hinke than Bryan Colangelo.