Howie Roseman: Last Man Standing
Eagles fans have a ton of range when it comes to rooting for their starting quarterback. We can go from embracing a great comeback story like Michael Vick as one of our own to offering Mark Sanchez cheese fries after a Monday Night victory. As long as our QB1 is giving 110% on and off the field, we will have your back.
In comes a quarterback from seemingly out of nowhere with an FCS background who catches the eye of Howie Roseman. So much so that he orchestrates two trades in order to draft him. The Eagles originally held the 13th pick in the 2016 draft before packaging it along with Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso in a deal with the Miami Dolphins for the 8th overall pick. That trade allowed Howie to offer a much more lucrative top ten draft pick, along with a host of others, to the Browns in order to move up to number two in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Back in 2016, the Eagles had just gotten out of the toxic Chip Kelly era and went back to the Andy Reid coaching tree with the hiring of Doug Pederson. Despite the change, the Eagles signed Sam Bradford to a two-year $36 million deal one week prior to that initial Dolphins deal. It wasn’t an ideal situation under center but Howie had a veteran signal caller on a team-friendly deal and, more importantly, was putting the Eagles in a position to take the quarterback he believed could be the next face of the franchise.
In his first offseason, Carson Wentz impressed the organization to the point where they felt confident in naming him the starter before Week One. Leading up to that, the coaches and front office seemed like they wanted to take the “don’t rush it” approach with their promising young quarterback. But after Wentz proved that he was the real deal, Bradford and his freshly inked contract were sent packing to Minnesota in Howie’s greatest finesse to date.
So to this point, everything is coming up Howie Roseman. He just negotiated his way into drafting a franchise-changing quarterback AND traded an aging Sam Bradford for another first-round pick. Even with the amount of draft capital spent on getting Wentz, the Eagles were in a phenomenal position to build around him for the duration of his rookie contract. All that was left was for the former North Dakota State Bison to show the rest of the league what he was truly capable of.
Carson’s 2017 campaign solidified Howie’s gamble to draft him and the sky became the limit in Philadelphia. Not only did Wentz impress as a leader within the organization but fans fell in love with his relentless effort and MVP-type play on the field. Just when you thought the pocket had collapsed and the play was over, “Ginger Jesus” miraculously broke free while making an incredible 20+ yard throw downfield. Those instances happened regularly for Carson as he accounted for some of the most jaw-dropping highlights over the past five years.
Following their unforgettable 2017-2018 Super Bowl run, the Eagles offense never really returned to its previously dominant form. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich left to be the new head coach for the Indianapolis Colts’ and the Eagles’ offense slipped into mediocrity. It was a comedy of errors for the next three seasons between the mass injuries to Pro Bowl players, the constant revolving door on the offensive line, and a severe lack of playmakers surrounding Carson Wentz.
Howie misspent too many consecutive offseasons by relying on aging/often-injured wide receivers or questionable draft choices to become elite weapons for a stagnant offense. It wasn’t for lack of effort; Howie attempted and re-attempted to shuffle the cast around Wentz several times. Players like Mike Wallace and Golden Tate had short tenures in Philadelphia while rookies like JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor saw peers from their draft class see much greater success. Others like DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery simply could not remain on the field consistently enough to be considered “the guy” for future seasons.
On top of that, Howie undermined the four-year, $128 million contract invested in Carson Wentz by drafting another quarterback for him to compete with in the second round. Regardless of the team, drafting a quarterback in the first three rounds ultimately is second-guessing your current quarterback as the leader going forward. After multiple botched draft picks and offseason signings, Howie seemed to be shifting blame to the play of Carson Wentz only one season after giving him the keys to the franchise.
On the surface, Carson still had his job as QB1…so long as his play met the standards of the front office. However, if a quarterback constantly has the pressure of being benched or someone potentially taking their job, their focus and play is only going to suffer, especially for someone still so young in their career. At the end of the day, no one except for Carson Wentz knows why last season went the way it did. And even he may not know. But when everything settled, it was clear that the mental damage had been done and that there would no fixing Carson Wentz in the Eagles’ future.
After a disastrous year like 2020, things had to change. People looked at Doug Pederson, others look at the declining play of Carson Wentz, while some held Howie Roseman to the fire. When the crumbling relationship between Roseman and Pederson became public, it looked like the fans would be getting a tough answer soon. It’s never easy to part with a Super Bowl winning head coach but when you also trade the young quarterback who’s MVP campaign led you to the greatest heights of the franchise, and you manage to do it all within four years, that’s a disaster that the fan base won’t soon forget.
What makes the Carson Wentz trade so historic is that only two summers ago, the Eagles organization and entire fan base believed he was the franchise quarterback for the next decade or more. At the time of his deal, Carson Wentz set the NFL record for most guaranteed money in a contract for any player.
The front office’s lackluster drafting, inability to develop talent around a franchise quarterback, and overall handling of that player is almost unprecedented in the NFL. The Rams and Jared Goff offer a glimmer of comparability until you realize Los Angeles is still in a position to win right now.
The Eagles are far removed from being contenders, and in record timing. In fact, they are in the exact opposite position of competitive teams: onto their third head coach in nine seasons, paying their franchise quarterback over $30 million to play for another team, and left with Howie Roseman cleaning up his own mess.
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY