Is it possible Eagles GM Howie Roseman’s career is both underrated and overrated? Let us explain

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If you think you have a handle on which NFL coaches and general managers know what they’re doing, just wait a few months. Brian Daboll, the 2022 Coach of the Year, and the Giants lost eight of their first 10 games in 2023. The 2021 winner was Mike Vrabel, who was fired by the Titans after a 6-11 season in 2023. Kevin Stefanski took home the 2020 and 2023 awards, but his Browns went 15-19 in between, and there was a meaningful subset of Cleveland fans who wanted him fired. Judging coaches is difficult.

Judging general managers might be even tougher. Leaving team owners such as Jerry Jones who can’t be fired aside, the median tenure for the league’s active GM is three years. One simple rule for new GMs entering their jobs is “three and one”: executives can probably expect to get three drafts and/or one change at quarterback. There are exceptions on both ends of the spectrum, but if a GM hasn’t shown signs of progress across three drafts or whiffs when changing the quarterback, it’s a surprise if he gets to keep his job.

One general manager new hires might want to emulate — at least in terms of performance — is Howie Roseman. During his time as Eagles general manager and executive vice president of football operations, which began in 2010, his teams have been to two Super Bowls, winning one. They’ve made eight trips to the playoffs in 13 years. He landed a franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz, and even before that relationship went south, drafted another one in Jalen Hurts.

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At other times, Roseman has been seen as a problem. In 2015, he was essentially fired from his role running personnel after losing a power struggle with coach Chip Kelly and moved to a different part of the Eagles building. Six years later, after a disastrous 2020 season and some curious decisions in the draft, many Philly fans called for Roseman to be fired. Two years after each of those flashpoints, his team was in the Super Bowl.

Every long-standing executive has highs and lows, but Roseman has survived lower lows and achieved higher highs than most. And by lasting over a decade in his role, we’ve been able to get clear insight into how he functions as an NFL general manager. Those decisions don’t always work out, but simply observing how he has gone about his business tells us about how the Eagles approach their thinking.

There’s a lot to be learned from what has gone on with Roseman that extends beyond the Eagles. The dramatic shifts in opinion about him from his most recent performances give us insight into how we should approach less experienced GMs and think about executives whose jobs might be on the line.

On top of that, much like his former colleague Andy Reid did with the Eagles, we’ve seen the league emulate some of Roseman’s tactics. The league and the way its GMs operate have been influenced by his style and decision-making. Understanding him and where he has succeeded and failed can help us understand the broader NFL in 2024.

Let’s start with the near-firings I mentioned. What do they tell us about how we evaluate NFL general managers?

Jump to a section:
How Roseman’s executive career almost ended early
The disastrous 2020 season, and what happened next
Is Roseman actually good at finding value in the draft?
How the NFL has evolved in Roseman’s image
So … is Roseman a great general manager?

Chip Kelly and the takeover

While Roseman was technically named general manager in 2010, the Florida graduate didn’t immediately have the sort of power he would wield later during his time with the organization. He was still underneath mentor and longtime Eagles executive Joe Banner during his first two years in charge. In 2012, Banner was moved into an advisory role before leaving the organization altogether.

Ultimate control for personnel belonged to Reid in 2012, but after a disastrous 4-12 campaign, the Eagles fired their coach, a decision which many Philadelphia fans saw as the long-overdue departure of an out-of-touch coach who couldn’t win a Super Bowl. You know what happened with Reid in Kansas City.

The Eagles gave Roseman personnel control and made a splashy hire in importing widely admired Oregon coach Chip Kelly from the college ranks. Kelly had nearly joined the Buccaneers the previous offseason before spending one more year with the Ducks, and his progressive approach toward sports science, tempo and offensive football seemed to appeal to an organization that already was comfortable thinking outside the box. The Eagles had been the most pass-happy team in the league before the Patriots took the NFL by storm in 2007, and in the nascent days of football analytics, Jeffrey Lurie was perhaps the only team owner in the league comfortable with both spending money on data analysis and discussing it publicly.

Kelly quickly turned around the Eagles. They jumped from 4-12 in 2012 to 10-6, winning the NFC East in a de-facto playoff game with the Cowboys in Week 17. They lost a home wild-card playoff game to the Saints to end the season. Then, after starting 9-3 in 2014, a 1-3 finish cost Kelly’s team a playoff berth.

The solution? More Kelly. After the season, the Eagles stripped Roseman of personnel control, giving him a new title while reassigning him to what amounted to a contract negotiation role. The organization even moved Roseman’s office from the football side of the facility to the business side. For all intents and purposes, he had been removed from his prior role in terms of making football decisions.

At that time, it would be hard to say that this was a stunning move, especially from a public perspective. Roseman had been assigned at least some portion of the blame for the failure of the “Dream Team” Eagles at the end of the Reid era, with free agent cornerback signing Nnamdi Asomugha failing to live up to lofty expectations. With various explanations for why, the team had cut wildly popular wideout DeSean Jackson before the 2014 season, opening up more playing time for Riley Cooper, who Roseman had retained with a five-year, $25 million extension. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, a free agent addition in 2014, played well, but the Eagles still ranked 18th in DVOA against the pass and allowed the second-most passing yards in the league. (The latter figure owed something to the fact their offense played at the fastest rate of any team.)

Most critically, though, it looked like Roseman was over his head when it came to the draft. In 2013, the Eagles hit an immediate standout on their No. 4 overall pick with right tackle Lane Johnson, but second-round pick Zach Ertz had been a part-time tight end before posting one big game late in December of his second season. Roseman used midround selections on defensive tackle Bennie Logan and quarterback Matt Barkley which didn’t move the needle through two seasons.

More distressingly, 2014 seemed to be an instant disaster. First-round pick Marcus Smith, who was supposed to help Philly’s pass rush, played just 68 snaps over eight games as a rookie and was essentially a meme by the end of his rookie season. Second-rounder Jordan Matthews was more impressive as a slot receiver, but midround picks wideout Josh Huff and defensive back Jaylen Watkins weren’t regular contributors.

At that time, it would have been entirely reasonable to presume Roseman simply wasn’t qualified to run a personnel department. He didn’t have a scouting background before joining the organization, nor had he played football at a high level. It was a talking point when he was promoted into a player personnel role in the first place, the idea that a cap guy would be an interloper and quickly found out as unfit for the role of evaluating football talent.

And yet, given the helm, Kelly was infinitely worse. The coach prioritized adding former Oregon players with limited success, including the trade of running back LeSean McCoy for linebacker Kiko Alonso. He spent big on free agency with cornerback Byron Maxwell, swapped quarterback Nick Foles in a deal for Sam Bradford and seemed hell-bent on adding running backs to replace McCoy. The Eagles signed DeMarco Murray, thought they had added Frank Gore and then signed Ryan Mathews to replace Gore when the 49ers legend instead went to the Colts. Kelly used his first-round pick on wideout Nelson Agholor and traded up in the second round for cornerback Eric Rowe.

It didn’t work. Kelly went 6-9 before being fired at the end of the 2015 season. Lurie could easily have appointed a new executive or someone more traditional for the role by suggesting that neither Roseman nor Kelly were suitable for running football operations. Instead, despite concerns from fans that Roseman wasn’t fit for the job, Lurie re-installed him in what amounted to the lead player personnel role. (It seems safe to assume he got his old office back, too.)

As it turned out, Roseman was absolutely qualified for the role. His previous two drafts weren’t as bad as they seemed at the time. Ertz grew into a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end. Johnson became an elite tackle. Philly’s seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft didn’t stick around for long, but Jordan Poyer eventually emerged as a standout safety for the Bills. The 2014 draft was mostly a disappointment, but it was a bad draft, not proof he couldn’t have a good one.

Roseman spent most of the 2016 offseason erasing Kelly’s decisions, trading away Murray and Maxwell for cap space and draft capital. The team kept Bradford around but then traded up to No. 2 in the draft to pick Wentz, who quickly became its franchise quarterback. Philly went 7-9 under new coach Doug Pederson in 2016, but it was much better that its record indicated. By the end of the 2017 season, a re-acquired Foles was leading the Eagles to an improbable Super Bowl victory.

The takeaway: Two years of drafts don’t tell us whether anyone can pick good players.

A premature read on Roseman’s first two drafts suggested he might be overmatched running personnel. Two years probably isn’t enough to judge the success or failure of those two drafts, let alone whether a GM will be able to pick well in the future.

That goes both ways. Think about Kwesi Adofo-Mensah with the Vikings, whose early drafts haven’t been impressive. His four top-70 picks in the 2022 draft haven’t produced an average starter, while wideout Jordan Addison was the only player who made an impact from his 2023 class. Minnesota invested heavily to move up for quarterback J.J. McCarthy and edge rusher Dallas Turner in the 2024 draft, but if those two first-rounders turn into stars and someone such as guard Ed Ingram takes a step forward from the 2022 class, Adofo-Mensah will look far more competent selecting players.

And on the flip side, consider Brad Holmes, who has rightfully been lauded for his work rebuilding the Lions. The GM’s 2021 class has to be considered a hit, given that he landed two stars in offensive tackle Penei Sewell and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. Pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson took a big step forward in his second season and looks like a third hit. Will the trade up for wideout Jameson Williams go down as a colossal misstep? Second-rounder Josh Paschal hasn’t yet hit along the defensive line, and the decision to go for running back Jahmyr Gibbs and linebacker Jack Campbell in the first round of the 2023 draft as opposed to adding a much-needed second pass rusher or cornerback might age poorly. Of course, those moves could all still turn into huge hits, too.

This is an incredibly small sample of draft picks. Judging any GM on two or three first-round picks is a brutal exercise. And yet, given the reality of how quickly executives are hired and fired in the NFL, there’s no alternative. It nearly cost Roseman his career as a personnel executive before it really began.


The disaster of 2020

After the Super Bowl win in 2017, Roseman was lauded as the PFWA’s Executive of the Year. Virtually every free agent signing and veteran acquisition he made that year hit, from running back LeGarette Blount and receiver Alshon Jeffery on offense to end Chris Long and cornerback Patrick Robinson on defense. The decision to sideline Roseman for Kelly felt like a moment of madness. With Wentz in the middle of his rookie deal and a talented roster around the young quarterback, it felt like the Eagles were in position to continue competing for Super Bowls.

It didn’t happen. The Eagles went 9-7 each of the next two seasons, with injuries to Wentz compromising back-to-back playoff runs. He ended up throwing just four playoff passes in a Philadelphia uniform across three different postseason trips. His likely MVP season in 2017 was built upon an unsustainably hot performance on third downs and in the red zone, something he never managed to repeat.

Roseman’s drafts were inconsistent. The Super Bowl class never took a leap forward, although cornerback Rasul Douglas has emerged as a success story after leaving Philadelphia. Lacking a first-round pick in 2018 after trading down in the Ravens’ move up for Lamar Jackson, Roseman had his best draft, landing four future starters in tight end Dallas Goedert, cornerback Avonte Maddox, edge rusher Josh Sweat and offensive tackle Jordan Mailata. In 2019, he appeared to land a pair of future starters in tackle Andre Dillard and running back Miles Sanders, although J.J. Arcega-Whiteside failed to emerge as an impactful wideout across his first two seasons in the league, and Dillard would eventually disappoint.

The 2020 class quickly became a problem. Roseman used his first-round pick on receiver Jalen Reagor, one pick before the Vikings selected superstar Justin Jefferson. He then used a second-rounder on quarterback Jalen Hurts, a move which immediately unsettled Wentz and seemed more based around abstract ideas of value than building the best possible football team.

Everything that could have gone wrong in 2020 then did. The Eagles were shredded by injuries, especially along the line of scrimmage, where every starter besides center Jason Kelce hit injured reserve. Wentz regressed, with his interception rate spiking and his relationship with Pederson falling apart. The coach benched his quarterback late in the season, leading the Eagles to turn to Hurts, who completed just 52% of his passes. The team then benched Hurts on national TV in Week 17 for Nate Sudfeld, whose performance helped push a division title to Washington and led the Giants to accuse their division rivals of tanking for a better playoff spot. They finished 4-11-1.

In three years, the goodwill Roseman had inspired was gone. The same fans who had lauded him as a genius after the Super Bowl victory were chanting “Fire Howie” at the general manager when he showed up at a Phillies game in April. Lurie’s foresight to keep him after the Kelly firing was now being portrayed as a foolish dedication, especially when the Eagles fired Pederson, traded Wentz and kept Roseman for the 2021 season. Had the Eagles fired him, his Super Bowl season would have seemed like the ultimate aberration, a briefly brilliant stretch amid otherwise mediocre work.

And again, from that point forward, just about everything Roseman touched over the next two offseasons seemed to turn to gold. The loss in Week 17 gave the Eagles the No. 6 overall pick, which they used to trade down before moving back up for wideout DeVonta Smith. A standout guard followed in Landon Dickerson. Again, despite the doom and gloom, they were one of the most likely teams to improve. When new coach Nick Sirianni shifted the offense toward the quarterback run game and Hurts began to click, they made an unexpected trip to the postseason.

Roseman’s 2022 was even better. He landed wideout A.J. Brown and defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson in trades. He signed Haason Reddick in free agency and saw the edge rusher rack up 16 sacks as part of one of the most productive pass rushes in league history. Cornerback James Bradberry, added over the summer as a cap casualty, was a second-team All-Pro. In a prove-it year, Hurts continued to improve and was an MVP candidate before missing time in December. The Eagles went 14-3 and dominated in the postseason en route to the Super Bowl, where they came up just short against the Chiefs. Now, Philly fans were chanting “Howie!” at the team’s send-off party without any verbs attached. Instead, Roseman was the one (playfully) cursing out fans who were forgiving him.

While acknowledging fans will be fans and react to the most recent season as what matters most … this seems wild, right? Roseman went from a Super Bowl to “Fire Howie” chants to Super Bowl in five seasons, turning over most of the roster in the process. This wasn’t just a Philly thing, either; he rightfully could have been regarded as one of the best general managers in the league or one of the worst at different times over that five-year span, depending on which moves you were willing to consider. He was the same person throughout that entire stretch, but the results were spectacularly different.

Even that required some luck. The Eagles reportedly wanted to sign Allen Robinson before the 2022 season, but when the Rams didn’t sign Von Miller, L.A. swooped in with a deal it would immediately regret. Philly ended up trading for Brown instead, a player who wouldn’t have been available if the Titans had made smarter decisions. Nobody traded for Bradberry when he was available all spring as a salary dump, allowing Philadelphia to plug the biggest hole in its roster long after the initial wave of free agency had ended, a move it compounded when the Saints decided to move on from Gardner-Johnson just before the season began. Roseman deserves credit for being in position to pounce on those mistakes, but it would be naive to pretend that some good fortune wasn’t involved.

The takeaway: NFL general managers aren’t as good as they look at their best and aren’t as bad as they look at their worst.

This shouldn’t be shocking, but it’s something we lose track of as we focus so heavily on what each team has done lately. There’s no better example of those swings than Roseman and his performance with the Eagles over the last few years.

We could apply this story to just about any general manager or personnel executive who has been in that role for a long amount of time; even the most legendary of football minds have been found wanting at times. Baltimore’s Ozzie Newsome traded up for quarterback Kyle Boller in 2003. Indianapolis’ Bill Polian used first-round picks on running back wideout Anthony Gonzalez (2007) and Donald Brown (2009).

The guy who comes to mind for me now is Bill Belichick. The now-deposed Patriots coach was roundly (and rightfully) criticized for his last few drafts with New England, where the Pats failed to get offensive playmakers and weren’t able to land the next set of stars to replace the final players from the Tom Brady era. Throw in some questionable decisions with the coaching staff, and it probably wasn’t a surprise he and the Patriots parted ways.

Do those struggles mean Belichick isn’t a good coach/executive and couldn’t do better somewhere else? I don’t believe so, with Roseman as a good example of the difference between a bad season and a bad personnel executive. Belichick unquestionably drafted well earlier in his tenure, and he still managed a fair number of hits later on, albeit mostly on the defensive side of the ball. Without his top pass rusher (Matthew Judon) and his best cornerback (Christian Gonzalez) and with the worst average starting field position of any defense, Belichick’s Patriots were the best defense in football by points allowed per drive and EPA per snap over the second half of 2023.


Is Roseman actually a good drafter?

With more than a decade of drafts under his belt now, probably the most accurate thing to say about Roseman is he isn’t a consistent drafter. He’s had successful drafts (2013, 2016, 2018 and 2021) mixed with dismal failures (2014, 2017 and 2019). It’s still too early to judge his most recent selections, which have seemingly been exclusively players from the University of Georgia. As bad as drafting Reagor before Jefferson looks with the benefit of hindsight, landing a franchise quarterback with his next selection turned out to be a masterstroke. Roseman is not the guy who foolishly drafted a replacement-level wideout over a future Hall of Famer or the genius who landed an MVP candidate on Day 2. He’s both.

There’s another element to the draft beyond picking players: controlling the draft board. When evaluating general managers and what they do in the draft, both factors have to be considered. And frankly, given that virtually every study conducted on the draft shows us no team has been able to exhibit any sort of long-term ability to pick players who are more productive than what their draft slots would project year after year, the ability to create draft capital and make smart moves is a much more meaningful and sustainable product of a GM’s performance than who they actually pick with those selections.

While some GMs create extra opportunities for themselves by repeatedly trading down during draft weekend, Roseman has been able to create meaningful draft capital by winning a handful of trades before the draft begins. While their times in Philadelphia didn’t end positively, both Bradford and Wentz netted first-round picks when they were traded to the Vikings and Colts, respectively. Roseman then turned the Colts pick into more draft capital in the spring of 2022, when he sent it to the Saints in a deal that essentially bet on New Orleans not being as good as it expected that season. He ended up landing pick Nos. 10, 18, 50 and 101 as the primary return while sending back Nos. 16 and 19. The Eagles also landed an extra first-rounder from the Dolphins in 2021 when they moved down from No. 6 to No. 12.

Roseman also has developed a habit of trading up during the draft, especially when trying to sneak ahead of a rival for a specific player. Those sort of hyper-targeted moves have yielded dramatic results. In 2018, after trading down from No. 32, Roseman moved back up three spots in the second round and landed Dallas Goedert. While the Eagles were never going to draft Lamar Jackson with Wentz coming off an MVP campaign, landing their eventual starting tight end with a small move forward in Round 2 worked out well.

Other similar moves have been hit-or-miss, and Jackson isn’t the only future star taken with a pick the Eagles have traded away. In 2019, they jumped up three spots to get ahead of the Texans for Dillard, who struggled at left tackle. That move was cushioned by another trade up in the seventh round to grab Jordan Mailata. In 2021, Roseman moved up two spots in Round 1 to land DeVonta Smith, although the Cowboys moved down in the deal and took edge rusher Micah Parsons. The following year, Roseman jumped two spots to beat the Ravens to a defensive tackle in Jordan Davis, with Baltimore instead settling for safety phenom Kyle Hamilton.

The jury is still out on Davis, as it is for fellow Georgia tackle Jalen Carter, whom the Eagles moved up one spot to take in 2023. Roseman has made more conventional trades up over the last two years, sending a third-round pick to draft corner Kelee Ringo in the fourth round last year, then sending pick Nos. 50 and 53 as part of a package to grab the 40th selection and take defensive back Cooper DeJean this April. Of course, his biggest move was sending multiple first-rounders to the Browns to initially draft Wentz, a deal which indirectly led to the organization’s Super Bowl win.

The takeaway: Roseman’s style is unique, and it has yielded inconsistent results.

While nobody is ever going to fault a GM for going to get his guy in Round 1, I’m not sure those moves have necessarily worked out for the Eagles on the whole, especially as the teams that have traded down with them have landed multiple Hall of Famers. Instead, Roseman has done an excellent job of extracting value away from the draft weekend, often with trades involving veterans. And that leads to another element I find so interesting …


How the NFL has evolved in Roseman’s (and the Eagles’) image

Some of the things the Eagles have focused on during Roseman’s tenure — dating back to the work done by Reid and Banner when they were in charge — have come more heavily into vogue around the NFL over the past decade. Philadelphia isn’t the only team interested in these things, but under Roseman it has been more aggressive with certain elements of roster-building, and the league has paid attention. That includes:

Trading for veterans. Trades that weren’t strict draft pick swaps or deals for players who wanted to leave their existing teams used to be rare in the NFL. Roseman has been the most aggressive GM when it comes to trading for veterans, both during the offseason and at the deadline during the season. Other teams have followed, but it’s a surprise when the Eagles don’t add at least one veteran to the mix via trade in a given season.

The most notably positive scenario for this was the 2022 team, which added Brown in a draft-day trade with the Titans and Gardner-Johnson just before the start of the season from the Saints. The in-season trade for edge rusher Robert Quinn didn’t have the same impact and cost them a fourth-round pick, but the two pre-season trades were huge hits. That team also had cornerback Darius Slay, who was acquired for third- and fifth-round picks before the 2020 season.

The Super Bowl-winning team also benefited from a pair of swaps, landing running back Jay Ajayi in a midseason trade with the Dolphins and corner Ronald Darby in an August trade that involved Jordan Matthews heading to the Bills. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan was added from the Ravens for a swap of picks, while the most significant trade addition dated back to the Reid era with Jason Peters, who was still locking down left tackle deep into his 30s.

Other trades haven’t worked out. I’m not sure many people have fond memories of wideout Golden Tate‘s run with the Eagles. Swapping Dennis Kelly for Dorial Green-Beckham gave away a useful utility lineman for a wide receiver who couldn’t separate. Last October’s trade for Kevin Byard, like the addition of linebacker Shaq Leonard in free agency shortly thereafter, landed Philadelphia two players whose names were bigger than their level of play. Neither was able to make a difference as the defense collapsed during the second half of 2023. Overall, though, being aggressive in the trade market has generally benefited the Eagles under Roseman.

Getting creative with voidable years and salary-cap manipulation. With recently departed deputy Jake Rosenberg, Roseman and the Eagles were on the forefront of structuring deals and using creative methods to free up as much room as possible. That dates back both to Roseman’s time overseeing the cap in Philadelphia during the Banner and Reid days, when they were aggressive in signing players to extensions early in their careers to keep their costs down and create more flexibility.

This isn’t necessarily new. Organizations have been using voidable years since the 1990s. The Eagles were finding loopholes in the cap during the Reid era — ask your local NFL salary cap guy how Dan Klecko became their second-highest paid player on paper sometime in 2008 next time you see them — and teams like the Saints have also gone out of their way to maximize short-term space in the way Philly has at times under Roseman.

The difference between a team like the Eagles and the Saints, instead, is how quickly the Eagles have transitioned based on what they want to accomplish. The Saints were all-in for years during the second half of Drew Brees‘ tenure in New Orleans and haven’t taken their foot off the gas in the years that followed, which has led to an old team trapped in mediocrity without much hope of competing for a Super Bowl.

Some of the contracts Roseman handed out after the Super Bowl didn’t age well, and when he needed to trade Wentz and eat nearly $34 million in dead money, the franchise shifted course. Like the Rams last year, they were willing to spend a year getting their cap right, clearing out bloated salaries and doing what it took to be in a better position down the line. And like those Rams, they unexpectedly made the playoffs in the process.

Those decisions and accounting have afforded the Eagles to build a very expensive roster. In 2024, they’ll field the most expensive offense in the history of football, as they have spent more than $213 million in cash on their offensive players. Roseman has players on significant contracts at quarterback (Hurts), running back (Saquon Barkley), wide receiver (Brown and Smith), tight end (Goedert) and at three of the five offensive line spots (Mailata, Dickerson and Johnson). And that’s without considering the addition of Gardner-Johnson alongside two expensive veterans in Bradberry and Slay in the secondary.

Naturally, the Eagles have had to make cutbacks elsewhere. Second-year center Tyler Steen will replace the retired Kelce. Roseman’s much-vaunted defensive line added Bryce Huff this offseason, but he traded Reddick to the Jets, lost Fletcher Cox to retirement and will have four players in their defensive line rotation on rookie deals. With that being said, even being able to put together an offense this impressive requires some long-term vision and financial planning.

An openness to analytics. Alongside the Browns, Ravens and more recently the Cowboys, the Eagles have long had a reputation as being one of the league’s most data-friendly teams. Every NFL franchise has data scientists or people with analytics in their title on staff at this point, but the Eagles have been aggressive in both actually using that data in their decision-making and empowering people comfortable with that information to be in key roles. Roseman would be considered one of those people.

That has led to meaningful decisions in practice. If the Eagles aren’t comfortable with data, does Pederson feel sufficiently empowered to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the Super Bowl, let alone to call for the Philly Special while doing so? Do the Eagles take a swing on a player like Brown, whose metrics hinted at elite play even when Tennessee didn’t see him as that sort of player? Analytics aren’t foolproof — and the Eagles took swings on players such as quarterback Kevin Kolb and defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim before Roseman’s tenure that didn’t necessarily pan out — but the league as a whole has moved toward Philadelphia’s position on data-based decision-making as part of its process.

The takeaway: While Roseman’s career path is still uncommon for NFL GMs, it’s less of an outlier than it was a decade ago.

Most teams are loathe to hire GMs who don’t have a significant scouting background or résumé as an NFL player. That’s less of a red flag now, in part because of Roseman’s success in Philadelphia. And while there will always be different ways to build an organization, even the more traditional GMs think and operate more like him than they would have before his tenure.


So … is Roseman a great general manager?

Sometimes? The most accurate thing to say is Roseman is a good general manager with spectacularly high peaks and low valleys. While he has undoubtedly learned from whatever mistakes or disappointments have occurred during his tenure, the same Roseman who came within a holding penalty of potentially winning two Super Bowls in five years is the one who was quasi-fired once and nearly fired a second time.

It’s difficult to reconcile that the same guy did all of that, but it’s important to understand that as we think about the league and its coaches and general managers. It’s too easy and simplistic to rely on what we saw most recently as the only evidence of what a front office is capable of doing. One good (or bad) pick isn’t a great way to judge what a drafter is capable of producing. It’s easier to ride the wild mood swings of reacting to what just happened and regarding your favorite team’s coaches and executives as geniuses or failures with little in between, but it’s also an easy way to get fooled.

I’d also argue the NFL is too aggressive in moving on from general managers. The feeling of having the wrong guy in one of the most important roles in an organization is discouraging, and it’s true that not every GM will turn into a Super Bowl winner given a longer times pan in the role, but progress isn’t linear and isn’t always quick. The Eagles likely would have regretted it if they had actually fired Roseman in 2015 or 2021. Instead, he has turned around their franchise twice.

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