Inside the Eagles’ front office restructuring

PHILADELPHIA — The goal was to serve two masters: to reward those who have performed well in their jobs and who have been loyal to a successful organization while rebuilding a recognition staff that has lost its four most important pieces since January.

When the smoke cleared, the organization promoted 19 people and recruited 11 others, both on the football operations side and on the personnel side.

At the top of both departments, of course, is general manager Howie Roseman, and scrutinizing his decisions has forced many to see the quicksand in the thinking of the NFL as a whole.

Roseman awarded the title of assistant general manager for the first time and gave it to two of his lieutenants on the football operations side, Jon Ferrari and Alec Halaby.

You may remember Ferrari for sometimes being praised by head coach Nick Sirianni for his role as vice president of football operations and team compliance. Like most companies, the meat of any employee is defined in the job description, not the title, and Ferrari has essentially served as the link between the coaching staff, the staff group, football operations and the league. herself.

In other words, a very important bolting job.

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Halaby, meanwhile, essentially ran the Eagles’ forward-thinking analytics department as vice president of football operations and strategy. His presence has always been a bit of a sexier story for many due to the occasional disconnect between scouting and data, something Doug Pederson and even Joe Douglas balked at in some cases, but Andy Weidl seemed more open-minded .

Neither Ferrari nor Halaby change their day-to-day responsibilities that much.

However, they are now the most senior executives on the football side of the organization under Roseman and perhaps one step closer to a general manager position themselves in a league that is now considering candidates who do not have the so -saying traditional scouting experience like Andrew. Berry, the Eagles’ former vice president of football operations who is now the general manager in Cleveland, and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the Minnesota general manager whose background is in finance and analytics.

What’s interesting, though, is that the two top executives under Roseman last year were split between football operations and scouting staff: Cat Raiche, now assistant general manager at Cleveland under Berry, and Weidl, now assistant general manager in his hometown of Pittsburgh under Omar Khan.

At least for 2022, the scouting department will not have an executive with the clout of the top two in the football operations department as there is no mirror replacement for Weidl.

Previously, scouts reported to Weidl, who then reported to Roseman. From there, the general manager would take the information gathered from the coaching, analysis and medical staff before creating the team scorecard.

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Nominally, Philadelphia’s top scouts are now Brandon Hunt, who was brought in from Pittsburgh after being dropped for Khan and Weidl, and co-directors of staff: Alan Wolking (an inside promotion) and Chuck Walls, an outside hire from Cleveland.

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To complicate matters further, the layer of Dave Caldwell, the former general manager of Jacksonville, who was promoted from personnel executive to senior personnel executive and adviser to the general manager, and Matt Russell, a former Eagles scout who was the longtime vice president of player personnel at Denver and also received the title.

These two essentially replace Tom Donahoe, the former senior football adviser whose contract has expired and is considering retirement. Russell, meanwhile, will continue to live in the Rockies, so he won’t be a daily presence.

The timing of Weidl’s hire was problematic for the Eagles because the organization believed he would return before getting the GM job in Pittsburgh.

To many, that may seem specious because the Eagles basically fired his younger brother Casey Weidl and left Andy’s mentor Donahoe, but Philadelphia was working with the plan that Andy Weidl would be back unless he didn’t. gets the job of general manager with the Steelers.

The plan now is to evaluate the top scouts and then decide who will be elevated to former vice president of player personnel at Weidl.

The hidden theme there, however, is that Roseman had no one in the pipeline for this position, a nod to the earlier losses of Ian Cunningham and Brandon Brown, Weidl’s two top lieutenants, to the jobs of assistant GM with Chicago and the New York Giants. , respectively.

Hunt is probably the best equipped for the job, but could use more experience on the college side and the organization was very conscious not to ignore internal candidates.

The most curious part of all is how the NFL views front office hiring and the Eagles’ somewhat tone-deaf response to that reality.

The organization just went through a six-month stretch where it couldn’t stop Cunningham, Brown and Raiche from interviewing for GM assistant jobs because of their pecking order when it comes to staff at Philadelphia.

The same wasn’t true with Weidl and his move to the Steelers could be considered a lateral one, but the Eagles weren’t going to stop him from returning to what is essentially his family’s home in Pittsburgh.

More so, Roseman is more involved in personnel matters than Khan should be with the Steelers.

The bigger point here is that the Eagles could be in the same boat next year if other organizations come calling scouts like Brown, Wolking and Walls and two of the three don’t have a long history with the club. organization.

Ferrari and Halaby, meanwhile, are in theory a step closer to a real GM job, but as much as others have started to look at outside-the-box candidates when it comes to running football operations. , the default setting for most in the NFL is still scouting and this group is the most perilous when it comes to losing bodies.

The idea that Roseman would seize this forced opportunity to round up his staff to better resist outside lures for his reconnaissance staff seems to have fallen flat.

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-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Sports. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports talker Jody McDonald, every morning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube.com and JAKIBSports.com. You can reach John at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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