Eagles

NFL agents vote Eagles' Howie Roseman smartest general manager in the league

NFL agents vote Eagles' Howie Roseman smartest general manager in the league

NFL agents carry a sneaky amount of power across the league, but they often choose to avoid talking publicly about their day-to-day work.

So when The Athletic polled 30 agents from across the league this week on a whole host of topics, from COVID-19 to Cam Newton, I tuned in - and one question in particular caught my eyes:

"14. Among general managers or front-office leaders, who is the smartest?"

General managers juggle plenty of things throughout the year, one being a spiderweb of relationships with a number of player agents. (A failure to get on the same page with agents was one of the main critiques of former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie!) So if agents think highly of a certain guy, it's obviously a good sign for the whole organization.

So the answers should have Eagles fans feeling pretty good.

Howie Roseman finished in the No. 1 spot, receiving five votes. He landed one vote ahead of New England's Bill Belichick, and two votes ahead of Colts general manager Chris Ballard.

Here are a couple specific quotes about Roseman's acumen, from the agents themselves:

"He knows how to put teams together. And he's working with a limited amount in terms of the cap. He knows how to maneuver and get players that he feels like will fit the scheme even if he doesn’t have to pay them top dollar. He's very smart in terms of chess moves. I'm not a huge fan. I will say that, as well. But he knows what he's doing in terms of putting things together."

"If I was gonna go into the lab and build a GM, it's a guy that can deal with the media, a guy that knows personnel and a guy that knows money. Those are the three things. Howie Roseman is a guy who I think is very good with the media from what I can tell. I know that he knows the money game very well. And I've known him for 15-18 years and he's worked incredibly hard to learn football and how to evaluate to the point now where he's really good. I give him a lot of credit that he can handle all three parts of the job."

That's the kind of evaluation you pin to the fridge. Good stuff.

This echoes what we heard earlier this year from Browns general manager Andrew Berry, a former Eagles front office member, who had nothing but amazing things to say about Roseman:

"With Howie, I've said it before: I think he's the best general manager, currently, in the sport. Very well-rounded skillset. I've taken a lot from in him, in terms of my approach to free agency, trades, general aggression with roster building, contract management, and then just overall people management and philosophy."

Roseman brought Philadelphia its first Super Bowl, kept Carson Wentz around on a team-friendly deal, and generally keeps the Eagles in good standing with the salary cap.

Keep doing what you do, Howie.

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Chad Johnson geeked up about these DeSean Jackson clips from training camp

Chad Johnson geeked up about these DeSean Jackson clips from training camp

DeSean Jackson is 33 years old now and he’s coming off a sports hernia surgery that basically wrecked his 2019 season. 

But he still has it. 

On Friday afternoon, former NFL receiver Chad Johnson shared some 1-on-1 practice video that Jackson sent his way from the Eagles’ ongoing training camp practices. Johnson was pretty excited to get these clips and posted a couple on his Twitter account. 

That one is Jackson going against Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, in his first training camp with the Eagles. This will be a fun battle all camp long. Last year in training camp, DeSean dominated but he didn’t have a top tier cornerback to go against. 

It was fun to watch Jackson do this to the DBs in camp last year, but now he’s going against a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the best corners in the game. And Slay still stood no chance. 

That little hesitation step from Jackson and the explosion out of it is pretty wild. In a regular foot race no one is going to beat Jackson; if he gets the DB flat-footed, forget about it. And Jackson is going to beat corners as long as he’s healthy. That’s why so many defensive coordinators slide any help they can that way. 

And then there’s this hitch route that Johnson posted with some NSFW language.

On that one, you can see that Slay has to respect the deep ball and Jackson has that change of direction ability. One of the misconceptions about Jackson is that he’s just a go route deep threat; but that’s not the case. He can run short and intermediate routes well and it’s all set up from his ability to burn corners deep. 

The Eagles won’t be in pads until Monday, which is also when reporters are allowed to watch practice. I can’t wait to see this battle in person and report back. 

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Jon Gruden's curious comparison of Nelson Agholor and Randall Cunningham

Jon Gruden's curious comparison of Nelson Agholor and Randall Cunningham

Twenty-five years ago, Randall Cunningham retired after a dismal final season with the Eagles. 

Two years later he came out of retirement, signed with the Vikings and a year later had one of the greatest quarterback seasons ever, earned MVP honors and would have taken the Vikings to the Super Bowl if not for some terrible coaching by Dennis Green.

Cunningham’s offensive coordinator his last year in Philly? Jon Gruden.

Gruden today is head coach of the Raiders, and one of his pet projects is Nelson Agholor.

“A change of scenery worked for Randall Cunningham, maybe it will work for him,” Gruden told the Athletic.

Interestingly, Cunningham, who settled in Las Vegas after playing college football at UNLV, is now the Raiders’ team chaplain.

As for Agholor, he’s trying to rebuild a career that despite some great moments in 2017 and a brilliant Super Bowl never lived up to expectations.

"I trust him and I think he was picked high in the draft for a reason,” Gruden said of Agholor. "He’s a good player. You can pick up the Philadelphia Inquirer and they will probably say something different, but this guy has caught over 200 passes, he’s a young guy, he has played split end, flanker and in the slot. He caught eight or nine passes in a Super Bowl (9-for-84) and won a Super Bowl. So he's a world champion. He's a great person.”

Agholor caught 224 passes for 2,515 yards and 18 touchdowns in five seasons with the Eagles, who made him the 20th pick in Chip Kelly’s 2015 draft.

He never caught more than 768 yards in a season and he surpassed 64 yards in only nine of his 76 games here.

Agholor said he and Gruden actually have a family connection that goes back to when he was in high school at Berkeley Prep in Tampa and Gruden had just finished coaching the Buccaneers.

“He actually used to hang around after his days coaching in Tampa, he still lived in Tampa, and he would always go to a racetrack near his home, and my brother worked at that racetrack so him and my brother spent a lot of time talking every morning when Jon was getting his coffee about football and about my college career and things like that,” Agholor said in a Zoom call with Raiders writers. 

“So it’s a blessing to be in this opportunity having a previous relationship. But at the end of the day I chose this relationship because he knows the game and all I want to do is learn and be a better player.”

The Eagles, who paid Agholor nearly $19 million over the last five years, made no attempt to re-sign the 27-year-old after last season ended.

He signed a one-year minimum salary benefit deal with the Raiders worth barely above minimum wage - $1.0475 million.

In Vegas, he’ll likely compete for slot reps with Hunter Renfrow, who had 49-for-605 with 4 TDs as a rookie 5th-round pick last year.

“Honestly, this is a beautiful opportunity for me to get a chance to play with a guy like Jon Gruden, who has a background in coaching receivers,” Agholor said. “I chose this opportunity to make myself a better player. There’s no better opportunity to play for a head coach that knows receiver play and can articulate ways you can get better.

“My No. 1 goal is to progress as a player.  Lot of things that happened in the past, some really good things and some things I wanted to grow from. I told myself this opportunity is to be 2 percent better than the player I was in my previous five years.”
 

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