What we learned: Philadelphia Eagles begin the purge

Eagles head honcho Howie Roseman is not being subtle about erasing all traces of former coach Chip Kelly in Philadelphia.

On a Monday that included one of the game's all-time greats retiring and a one-time superstar being released, the Eagles stole the show with two big trades as free-agency season truly kicked off.

DeMarco Murray will head to the Tennessee Titans as part of a trade that included a new contract for the running back, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport confirmed. Details regarding the trade terms and the contract remain unknown, and those details will help us better understand the move. No matter how the Eagles greased the skids to unload Murray, the Titans are now paying him to be the centerpiece of their offense.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey loves to load up his backs with 300 carries, and there is great reason to doubt whether Murray can still handle that load. He didn't look like the same player last season after being saddled with nearly 500 touches in 2014. Philadelphia was clearly motivated to make a big change, and knew it wasn't working with him. The compensation almost feels secondary. Philadelphia's two moves feel like NBA-style salary dumps.

The second trade involved cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso, two other players acquired during Kelly's year running the team's personnel department, heading to Miami. Rapoport was the first to report this agreed trade, which will send undisclosed compensation back to Philadelphia. Once again, we wouldn't expect the Eagles to get a ton in return. They decided that Maxwell wasn't worth the $19 million he is due over the next two seasons. Alonso, who was sensational as a rookie for the Bills, struggled badly last year in Philadelphia. It appeared he never truly recovered from his torn ACL in 2014. The Dolphins hope Alonso can get better physically, and that Maxwell upgrades a shaky secondary.

The arrival of Maxwell in Miami means longtime Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes (and his wife Miko) will be moving elsewhere in 2016. New Dolphins football czar Mike Tannenbaum, like Roseman, is starting to clear the decks of players acquired under the team's old regime. It's a common story this time of year to see new general managers get rid of the ghosts of free agency past, but it's rare to see a team do it as aggressively as Roseman.

After all, Roseman isn't exactly a new general manager. He's an executive vice president that used to be a general manager before he was banished to the other side of the Eagles' building by Kelly. These moves almost have a personal feeling to them. Chip got rid of Roseman and Andy Reid's guys, and now Roseman is returning the favor.

Here's what else we learned on the first day of the "legal tampering" period before free agency:

  1. As we get closer to free agency, the possibility of starting quarterbacks changing teams appears to be increasing. Rapoport reported that Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to make it to free agency and entertain offers elsewhere. The Broncos also haven't closed a deal with Brock Osweiler, who could be inspiring real interest by the Houston Texans. We believe Fitzpatrick has far more value to the Jets than he does with any other team, and the same is true for Osweiler and Denver. We'd still guess that both players wind up staying put, but crazy things can start happening when crazy amounts of salary-cap space are available.
  1. We knew that Robert Griffin III was going to be released for a while, but it still felt strange when it finally happened. It was only four years ago that he was one of the biggest stars in the league. Now, his release was practically an afterthought. We believe he'll wind up taking a backup job elsewhere, although there are plenty of logical landing spots.

The Redskins wound up clearing $30 million in cap space by releasing RGIII, safety Dashon Goldson, defensive end Jason Hatcher and safety Jeron Johnson. Nose tackle Terrance Knightonalso revealed on Instagram that he wouldn't be back with the team. Washington made a huge step by making the playoffs in 2015, yet this remains a team very much in transition. That's especially true on defense, where general manager Scot McCoughan figures to be active over the next week.

  1. Many of the teams that made moves Monday -- Dolphins, Eagles and Redskins -- are traditionally very active at this time of year. It doesn't necessarily result in regular-season success.
  1. Peyton Manning's retirement news conference was emotional and heartfelt, which was no surprise to anyone who saw him say goodbye to the Indianapolis Colts four years ago. He didn't try to hide how difficult it was to step away from the game, but noted he always has had "good timing." The words of Broncos general manager John Elway especially seemed to resonate with Manning. We might never again see an all-time great quarterback as the boss of another all-time great quarterback, especially a pairing that had such similar storybook endings to their playing careers.
  1. Roseman might not be done making trades of Kelly signings yet. Running back Ryan Mathewscould be the next to go.
  1. The Colts don't seem to value tight end Dwayne Allen as a receiver nearly enough on Sundays, with only 26 targets coming his way last season. But they certainly showed him plenty of love before free agency started, handing him a four-year deal that could be worth up to $30 million. We had Allen ranked high on our top 99 free agents list because he has such a complete skill set. It's telling that the Colts valued Allen over Coby Fleener, who is also a free agent
  1. One potential marriage we could see consummated on Wednesday: The Cardinals are making a "big push" to signSeahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, according to Rapoport. Arizona is desperate for some pass rush help and Irvin would be a nice fit for a group that likes to show a lot of different looks to opposing offenses.
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content