One year ago, the Philadelphia Eagles gave head coach Chip Kelly the keys to the car: complete personnel control. A deluge of moves followed, as King Chipster the First remade the Eagles in his image.
That image led to a 6-10 mess of a season and Kelly's firing. And as the team showed in dealing away several of Kelly's additions Monday, the Eagles are trying hard to create a future in which they won't have to think about the past.
As ESPN's Adam Schefter reported, the Eagles are working out the final details on a trade that would send cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for draft picks:
Eagles-Dolphins now trying to finalize trade that will send Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell to MIA for draft-pick comp, per league— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 7, 2016
Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, pending physicals for the two players, it's a done deal:
Kiko Alonso & Byron Maxwell have both been informed they are being traded to the #Dolphins, pending physicals, source said. It's happening— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2016
Usually, I'd like to see what compensation the Eagles are getting before passing judgment on a deal. But frankly, it's more than a bit surprising the Eagles were able to get anything in return for Maxwell. A used toaster and a box of Pop-Tarts would have been a good haul.
In fact, that's a pretty apt analogy. Maxwell spent most of his lone season in the City of Brotherly Love getting repeatedly toasted.
After starting opposite Richard Sherman in the Legion of Boom in Seattle in 2014, Maxwell was lured to Philadelphia from the Seahawks by Kelly last year. Well, Kelly and a six-year, $63 million free-agent bonanza.
And what did the Eagles get for that investment, which included $25 million in guarantees? The NFL's 69th-ranked cornerback in 2015, per Pro Football Focus. There may not be a player in the NFL who was paid more to do less.
In fact, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, if there's anything that might torpedo this transaction, it's Maxwell's abomination of a contract:
Trade between Dolphins and Eagles is done but contract work between Dolphins and Byron Maxwell being finalized. Alonso needs no extension..— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) March 7, 2016
Alonso came to Philly in the trade that sent LeSean "Troublemaker" McCoy to the Buffalo Bills. Reunited with his coach from the University of Oregon, Alonso was inserted as a starter at inside linebacker—where he, like Maxwell, was awful.
How awful? In 11 games, the injury-prone third-year pro ranked as PFF's 12th-worst inside linebacker. As a rookie in Buffalo, Alonso piled up a gaudy 159 stops. He managed all of 43 in his one season in Philadelphia.
And the Eagles were only getting started.
Hard to believe that the Eagles were able to deal off RB DeMarco Murray and CB Byron Maxwell in the same day. But here we are ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 8, 2016
As with the Miami deal, terms of the trade won't become official until it does. Trades can't be officially completed until the new league year starts at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. But according to at least one pundit, Mike Ortiz Jr. of DYSTNow.com, the Eagles will receive draft picks:
I'm hearing that multiple draft picks will be sent to Philadelphia in return for DeMarco Murray. However not confirmed yet.— Mike Ortiz Jr. (@xOrtiz4x) March 8, 2016
And as with the Alonso/Maxwell deal, that the Eagles were able to both get some return and rid themselves of an onerous contract is something of a coup.
I'd break down Murray's lone season with the Eagles, but it's counterintuitive for a writer to spur his readers away from their seats.
Let's just say Murray, who inked a five-year, $40 million deal, rushed for 1,143 fewer yards in 2015 than he did in 2014 and leave it at that.
Take your seat, please.
Still, as Conor Orr of NFL.com pointed out, if new Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is going to run essentially the same offense in Philadelphia that he did in Kansas City, it's not surprising Murray would be another odd man out:
If ... Pederson is planning on running a copycat version of Andy Reid's offense, downhill power runners aren't necessarily part of the plan. This is especially true for Murray, who had a massively disappointing season in 2015, and was eventually sidelined for [Ryan] Mathews, Darren Sproles and sometimes Kenjon Barner. In fact, Barner and Sproles seem like far more likely fits on the roster.
Mathews was another Kelly addition who fizzled in 2015. Here's hoping he rented instead of bought, because given the Eagles' fire sale Monday, it wouldn't be a surprise if he's on his way out of town as well.
It also isn't surprising that at least one Kelly addition will stick. No, Sam Bradford did not have an especially good season with the Eagles in 2015. Certainly not a season that would justify a two-year, $36 million contract with $26 million in guarantees.
But Bradford is also a quarterback. The rules don't apply to quarterbacks. Teams without one are desperate to acquire one. And teams that have one are every bit as desperate to keep him in the fold.
For what it's worth, Pederson told Josh Paunil of Philadelphia Magazine he's excited to have Bradford back in 2016:
We're so excited. I'm so excited. I also want these players that are free agents to want to be here, and he wants to be here. That's probably 90 percent—I want all of them to be here, but having Sam is obviously a big boost now heading into free agency.
His best days are ahead of him. What he did toward the end of the season last year, building on that. He mentioned continuity—he knows the team, he knows the players. It might be a little different set of plays that we're installing, but he knows the guys. That right there leads me to believe that we can have success.
Maybe that enthusiasm just didn't extend to an overpaid cornerback, an underwhelming linebacker and a disappointing tailback (or two).
Maybe former general manager Howie Roseman, back in a position to make personnel moves, is wasting no time getting rid of players he never thought the Eagles should have acquired to begin with.
That's certainly the impression Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle got from this frenetic day of wheeling and dealing:
Actions speak loudest, and Howie Roseman making a strong statement about how he felt about Chip Kelly's personnel handiwork— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 8, 2016
And Wilson was not alone in that regard:
Howie Roseman is getting rid of the trash players that Chip Kelly brought in like... pic.twitter.com/HkKeFcsTpX— Chad Gelfand (@ChadGelfand11) March 8, 2016
Whatever the reason, the Eagles aren't being even a little bit shy about erasing the (mostly) regrettable personnel moves Kelly made. However, in at least one respect, this era in Philadelphia looks an awful lot like the last one.
Because there's no shortage of roster turmoil with the Eagles right now.
And heads may not be done rolling.
Gary Davenport is an NFL analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPSharks.