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Howie Roseman Continues Make Up For His Disaster

Manny Shklar

Managing Editor

“THEY CAN’T KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH THIS” read the tweet of a popular Twitter user under the handle @elitetakes_. Despite the user’s 45,000 followers, this tweet garnered nearly 350 thousand views in just five days. The context referred to the Philadelphia Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman’s latest transaction, in which he signed undrafted cornerback Eli Ricks to a minimum contract. Ricks, a 6’2” University of Alabama product, was projected to be drafted as high as 10th overall just a year before. However, after spending most of his 2022 college season injured, Ricks surprisingly went undrafted. If the lanky defender can reach the potential many saw in him last year, it would be just one more incredible move for Roseman to add to his resume.

Howie hasn’t always had this kind of support. Howie has had his fair share of ups and downs since joining the Eagles’ organization. Despite being named the official general manager of the Eagles in 2010, he did not get full access to the job until 2016, when the organization fired head coach Chip Kelly. Just two years later, Roseman had constructed the first Eagles team to win a Super Bowl. The team would go on to make the playoffs the following two seasons, until everything collapsed in the 2020-21 campaign. Many fans blamed the players, the coaching and the conditions caused by COVID, but ultimately Roseman took much of the blame. People were relentless on social media, begging the administration to fire him and fix the team. Howie was, somewhat deservedly, on a very short leash.

The Eagles’ collapse may have started before they even won the Super Bowl, as then-superstar quarterback Carson Wentz had torn his ACL. Wentz would go on to suffer a major back injury in 2018, a concussion in 2019 and numerous other injuries. This led to one of the worst quarterback seasons ever, but it did not help that his premier pass catcher was Jalen Reagor, Howie Roseman’s 2020 draft crush. Reagor was taken at pick 20, one spot before the Vikings selected Justin Jefferson, who is easily the best wide receiver in the NFL and the 2022-23 Offensive Player of the Year. This past season, Jefferson had 128 catches for 1,809 yards and eight touchdowns en route to one of the best individual seasons of all time. Reagor, however, has just 72 catches for 799 yards and four touchdowns in his entire career. It’s safe to say that while Jefferson could end up being the best receiver of all time, Reagor will forever be known as the player taken one spot ahead of Justin Jefferson. But it doesn’t stop there.

The Eagles held another premier pick in this draft, which they used to take quarterback Jalen Hurts. Wentz had just thrown for a career high in yards with a subpar receiving core, and despite injuries there was no obvious reason to give up on him. It’s thought by many that this draft pick got to Wentz’s head and was a huge factor in causing him to have his horrible year. He would be benched for Hurts late in the season, traded and never heard from again in the sports-crazed city of Philadelphia. Now, with the sixth overall pick and a stacked draft class incoming, Roseman could find a way to redeem himself, but the odds were against him.

Howie made numerous trades, acquiring tons of future picks, all for less than he should have been able to. Eventually, the Eagles would end up with the 10th pick and take Devonta Smith to lead the receiving core. Roseman also selected offensive lineman Landon Dickerson. Smith would go on to break many franchise rookie records and establish himself quickly. Hurts, who played college football with both Smith and Dickerson, surprised many in his first year as a full time starter. He was endlessly ridiculed for lacking arm strength and being insecure inside the pocket, but this didn’t stop him from leading the Birds right back to the playoffs.

Even though they suffered an embarrassing first round exit, the Eagles were a legit team again. This was a team that still had a ton of holes and a bad contract situation, and it seemed unlikely Roseman would be able to fix it. After tirelessly working to restructure deals and find perfect free agent fits, Howie built enough capital to feel solid heading into the draft. He held three first round picks, the most of any team, but only one of those would be used to draft a player that year. Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle Jordan Davis was the 13th selection, but what happened with picks 16 and 19 was even more impactful. 16 was traded to the Titans for AJ Brown while 19 would be dealt for a 2023 first rounder from the Saints. These moves were seen as safe, smart and possibly job-saving moves by Roseman.

Now, looking back on those trades, they didn’t just save Howie’s job, they defined his legacy in Philadelphia. Brown would go on to be a top five wide receiver in 2023, while pick 19 would become the tenth pick in 2023. Due to Brown’s production, Smith’s improvement and Dickerson’s chance to start, Jalen Hurts would finish as the MVP runner-up and lead this team back to the Super Bowl just five years later.

The Eagles’ general manager made five draft day trades this year, including moving up from ten to nine for just an extra fourth round pick. Roseman selected Jalen Carter at nine and Nolan Smith at pick 30, both Georgia defensive linemen who were projected to go higher. He also traded for star running back and Philly native D’Andre Swift, addressing another clear need. The Eagles will head into training camp this year with all of their needs addressed and an infusion of young talent that will make an instant impact.

Howie Roseman has never been one to listen to rejection. He has always had a main goal and stuck with it. His determination to be a general manager started when he was still in elementary school, and he would end up writing letters to NFL general managers every day once he was in high school. The two time Executive of the Year is still hungry for more, as the Eagles are a surefire bet to compete for another Super Bowl. Whether it’s been dealing with the most expensive contract in NFL history, or having to let go of fan favorites, Howie Roseman found a way to keep the Eagles competitive, and it looks like Eagles fans won’t be doubting Howie again for a while.


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