NFL

NFL AM: Eagles Dumping Chip Kelly’s Acquisitions

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Philadelphia Eagles Trade Chip Kelly guys DeMarco Murray, Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell:

It was almost exactly a year ago to date that we penned the article “Chip Kelly Better Have a Good Plan,” after the now San Francisco 49ers coach turned the Philadelphia Eagles on their head by forcing his way to the top of the power structure.

Per Kelly’s demands, former Vice President of player personnel Tom Gamble was let go by the team, and general manager Howie Roseman was promoted (so to speak) to Executive Vice President of Football Operations, leaving Kelly in charge of the team’s roster. Something the former head coach insinuated was important to build the kind of unit he needed to run his unique, college-style offense.

Even after pushing his way into control by threatening to leave Philadelphia if things didn’t go the way he wanted them to, it seemed unlikely that things could have gone as poorly as they did, as quickly as they did.

Now that he’s once again in control of the roster, Roseman is left to try to clean up Kelly’s mistakes, and he began that exorcism on Monday by trading away three of Kelly’s additions, DeMarco Murray, Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell.

Murray is headed to Tennessee to join the Tennessee Titans after restructuring his contract to help the deal get completed. Details of the trade and of Murray’s new contract have yet to be disclosed, but it’s unlikely the Eagles got much in return for the back after a very poor season in Philadelphia. The former Cowboys and Eagles back should be fine in Tennessee, but they shouldn’t expect anything like the production he put up two years ago in Dallas. As we said last year, Murray’s production was a lot more about that Dallas Cowboys offensive line than it was about Murray being a special back. He’s a good football player, but he was never great.

The Eagles traded both Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell to the Miami Dolphins for undisclosed draft picks Monday as well, capping off one of the most frustrating moves for Philadelphia fans. Remember, Alonso came to Philadelphia in a trade for fan favorite LeSean McCoy. Just as is the case with the Murray trade, there likely won’t be a ton of compensation coming back for Alonso and Maxwell after both struggled mightily in Philadelphia, and considering Maxwell’s contract was ridiculous the day he signed it.

The compensation for these three pretty good football players likely won’t be much, but for Philadelphia, we’re pretty sure compensation wasn’t the point. For the Eagles, it seems like they just can’t wipe the Chip Kelly off themselves fast enough. Can you blame them?

Peyton Manning says goodbye:

Who cares if he’s the greatest quarterback of all time? That’s always the discussion revolving around Peyton Manning, and of course on of the lazy conversations that was sure to come up when the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos retired. The reality is, it doesn’t much matter.

Joe Montana hit the nail on the head when he said that we’ll just never know who the greatest of all time is. Because of the evolution of the game, the pieces around each quarterback, and the way the rules have changed to benefit the offense and quarterback play, we’ll never truly know who the greatest quarterback of all time is.

Again, who cares?

For Manning, it’s not about whether he was the greatest of all time, or even of his era. We should spend less time worrying and talking about whether or not Manning or Tom Brady were better than each other, and more time celebrating the players like them who stand out among the greats of the game.

Where he ranks doesn’t really matter. Instead of trying to quantify who Manning was as a quarterback, we should just appreciate that he’s one of those players who exhibits traits so rare, that you may never see another player quite like him again.

Just as Brady has drawn comparisons to Montana, there will one day surely be a quarterback so cerebral that we’ll talk about how he reminds us of Manning, but the comparisons should be there only to remind us that these players are in a class of their own.

Monday Peyton reminded us that he’s always the most prepared guy in every situation. Just as he had for 18 years on the football field, Manning got through an emotional press conference with almost surgical precision while speaking about the game he loves so much.

“I had met him once before, but when the game was over I had the chance to shake Johnny Unitas’ hand,” Manning remembered. “He told me, ‘Peyton, you stay at it. I’m pulling for you.’

“Well, I have stayed at it. I’ve stayed at it for 18 years and I hope that old No. 19 is up there with his flat top and maybe his black high tops on and I hope he knows that I have stayed at it, and maybe he’s even a little proud of me.”

It’s pretty difficult not to be proud at Manning’s football career. The endless records are impressive, but what’s perhaps most impressive was the fact that Manning became the first quarterback to go to the Super Bowl with four different head coaches, and the only quarterback to guide two franchises to Super Bowl victories.

Manning’s success with different franchises and coaches is just another reason why the Manning – Brady comparison is a foolish one. The same people who will tell you that Bill Belichick is the greatest head coach of all time will also suggest that the New England Patriots head coach couldn’t have duplicated the success he’s had with Brady with Manning, which is pretty absurd.

So forget about where Peyton belongs in the discussion of best ever, because the discussion doesn’t really matter. What matters is that those of us who are old enough witnessed one of the greatest, most unique players to ever play the game of football, and now he’s all done. No. 18 is walking away after 18 years, and he’s walking away on top.

“Eighteen is a good number and today I retire from pro football.”

Logan Mankins retires:

Peyton Manning wasn’t the only long-time great to retire Monday, as Tampa Bay Buccaneers left guard Logan Mankins announced his retirement after quietly being one of the better guards in football during an 11-year career that included Pro Bowls, Super Bowls and working with a couple of ok quarterbacks.

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, who like his young quarterback Jameis Winston, was hoping Mankins would return, issued a statement about Mankins decision.

“It is always difficult losing a player of Logan’s caliber both on the field and in the locker room,” Licht said. “He is one of the toughest, most intelligent and skilled players at his position that I have seen in my years around this game. Logan distinguished himself as the ultimate professional over his 11-year career and he was an unquestioned leader for us over the past two seasons. His leadership, work ethic and selflessness played a key role in the development of our younger players and he set the standard which we use to evaluate all of our offensive linemen.”

That standard was set as a member of the Patriots, and while Mankins was always careful when asked to compare Brady and Winston, seeing a player who shared a locker room with an all-time great like Brady gravitate towards Winston helped solidify the Bucs quarterback as a leader.

Mankins was a first-round pick by the Patriots in 2005, and started all 16 games as a rookie left guard. Mankins started every NFL game he played in, and missed just 15 games over his entire 11-year career. Other than moving over to fill in for injured left tackles in 2011 and 2013, the Patriots and Buccaneers offensive lineman played his entire career at left guard.

Mankins played on teams with some big personalities and great players, but if you talk to anyone who shared a locker room with the man, it was clear he was always one of the guys that other guys in the room looked to for leadership. He won’t get the kind of accolades that Manning is going to receive after his announcement, but for the players in Tampa Bay, there’s no question that Mankins will be missed.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.