What’s the story in Philadelphia?
If you’ve been following the NFL’s offseason, and you’re easily given to fits of delusional paranoia, you’re probably wondering the same thing I am: Just what the hell are you up to, Chip Kelly?
In an offseason markedly more crazy than normal, the wheelings and dealings of Kelly and his Philadelphia Eagles have stood above the fray. The March 4 release of long-time Philly pass-rusher Trent Cole left some folks scratching their heads, but the move isn’t hard to figure out when you take into account the dollars and cents. Philadelphia’s front office would rather take the $3.2 million cap hit incurred by releasing the 32-year-old Cole than pay him the more than $11 million he was set to collect from the Eagles this season. It’s never easy to let go of a fan favorite like Cole, but the move didn’t warrant any serious attention.
Things started getting strange a week later, when the Eagles traded LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso. McCoy had been the face of Philly’s offense since fellow Irishman Donovan McNabb’s unceremonious departure after the 2010 season, so trading him signaled a significant change in the air. I’m still wrestling with this one in my mind. McCoy has been steadily productive for the Eagles over the past 6 years, but an NFL running back’s shelf life is not a long one, and it’s likely that his best football has already been played. Forget the fact that straight-up player-for-player trades almost never happen in the NFL; What would compel the Bills to trade a young tackling machine who plays with his hair on fire like Alonso for a mouthy misogynist whose tread might be wearing thin? Is it possible that Chip Kelly developed some sort of a mind-control device and used it on Bills GM Doug Whaley?
So the Eagles lose McCoy, but they still have Darren Sproles in the backfield. Then, 48 hours later, Philadelphia signed Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray on the same day. But the Eagles’ running back situation should hardly raise any eyebrows when you compare it to the sheer lunacy surrounding their quarterback position.
When Nick Foles tossed 27 touchdown passes and only 2 interceptions in 2013 (his first season working in Kelly’s offense), many people thought he would be at the helm of the “quack attack” for years to come. As of press time, the Eagles roster includes five quarterbacks, and none of them is named Foles. That’s because on March 10, Philadelphia traded the apparent heir to Kelly’s Duck dynasty to the St. Louis Rams for former Oklahoma Sooner and current disappointment, Sam Bradford. They would then, for some reason, re-sign Mark Sanchez to a 2-year deal. But the real kicker in the signal-caller situation came on Monday, when the Eagles announced the signing of…cue the trumpets and the harps…Tim Tebow. Matt Barkley and someone you’ve never heard of named G.J. Kinne round out the quintet. Do you think Chip Kelly just doesn’t watch the NFL and only remembers the college careers of these men? His menagerie of mediocrity at quarterback leads me to believe that Kelly is subscribing to the same philosophy I applied to dating when I was in high school: If you can’t go home with a ten, go home with five twos.
But maybe there’s something more nefarious at play here.
I think Chip Kelly might be planning to physically dismantle all five of his passers in hopes of creating some sort of Frankenstein-esque amalgamation out of their parts. While I can only speculate as to the particulars of Kelly’s gruesome plot, here’s how I think it might go: Kelly’s Franken-QB would have Tebow’s legs and heart, Bradford’s jawline, Sanchez’s hair, Barkley’s ability to make Sanchez look like a viable starter by comparison, and Kinne’s miniscule contract. All they need now is an accurate arm.
Whatever it is Kelly has up his sleeve, the Manhattan Project he’s orchestrating up there in Philadelphia is going to provide some entertainment this season. He might be a genius at the end of the season, or he might be hugging himself in a rubber room. Either way, it should be fun to watch.