Sometimes they say you never know what new ownership will bring to any organisation, but it’s fair to say Eagles fans had their suspicions as soon as Hall of Fame Wide Receiver, Terrell Owens surprisingly headed up a consortium to buy the team, after his famous spell with the team ended in 2005.
Voices of dissent were loud throughout the city and beyond, while the formalities were being completed.
Former coach, and 2018 Super Bowl winner, Doug Pederson was one of the higher profile voices of dissent, and it was little surprise that the first major move by the new regime was to termiate the contract of the popular Head Coach. After a very brief search, Madden Legend Matt Hedrick was appointed to the role, and tasked with taking the team forward.
To the further dismay of the fan base, Owens has spoken of a 4 year plan since taking over in Philadelphia. The former regime pushed the salary cap to it’s limits, and left the franchise in a dire position against future year’s cap limits, with a popular win now philosophy. Under T.O. there has been shock to the fan base, with the revelation that Matt Hedrick was permitted weeks 14-17 this season as a holiday under the negotiations, due to previous family arrangements. 😲
The new regime were barely in the door when a blockbuster trade shocked the fan base. Tight End Zach Ertz (93), Wide Receiver Nelson Agholor (83), Safety Rodney MacLeod (79) and promising Running Back Josh Adams (72) all found themselves shipped off to the Houston Texans. Their own new ownership had been originally from Philadelphia, and @Toby Carswell took advantage of his connections to raid the Eagles. Exciting 2nd year Safety Justin Reid (84) , and a pair of draft picks, a 1st and a 5th, came to Philadelphia in return.
Other pre season cuts or trades saw numerous faces leave the organisation – LG Isaac Seumalo (70), CBs Orlando Scandrick (73) & Cre’von LeBlanc (74), LB Nigel Bradham (79), HB Wendell Smallwood (72) and TE Joshua Perkins (71) – all left the Eagles as the cuts dug deep.
With all the upheaval, it was little surprise that the team got off to a slow start. Early defeats to division rivals Washington Redskins, and the Atlanta Falcons, were typified by offensive miscues. A low scoring win over Detroit Lions did little to paper over the cracks, as highly paid Carson Wentz had 1 TD and 3 Interceptions after 3 games. A run of 3 defeats followed, as the Eagles sunk to a 1-5 start.
With the season appearing as good as over at a very early stage, the rush of veterans out the door continued at an alarming rate. LT Jason Peters (87) followed the path to Houston – HBs Darren Sproles (80) & Corey Clement (75), DE Vinny Curry (75), WR DeSean Jackson (85), LBs Zach Brown (81) & Paul Worrilow (68), OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai (67) & Stefan Wisniewski (66), and CB Jalen Mills (74) all joined the mass exodus.
In a rare trade for a player to join the Eagles, and despite depth at the position, the organisation made the move for the elite speed offered by Matt Breida (83). The 24 year old had been limited to 7 carries through the first 5 games of the 49ers season, and a 2nd round pick was sent West in exchange. Initial scepticism from the Eagles fanbase has been silenced as he has over 200 yards, and a TD through his first two games , as the team has back to back wins , and has reached 3-5 at the season’s halfway point.
Time will tell whether this is a momentary blip on a downward spiral, or the first hint of an upturn in the fortunes of the new regime. Only 6 passing TDs vs 15 interceptions, after these 8 games shows that there are many questions to be answered, especially around the passing game, and the highly paid Wentz, who has failed to live up to expectations at thi stage. And despite all the roster changes, there are still issues ahead, with only 29 players currently under contract for the 2020 season .
Our next report will take a closer look at those under contract, the status of any contract negotiations, and how the organisation will replenish the Eagles roster…