It's clear that Chip Kelly's in control

ESPNAPI_IMG_NO_ALTEXT_Value

Chip Kelly's power with the Philadelphia Eagles has grown noticeably.

That's what the noise around DeSean Jackson's status with the team tells me. The  Eagles' silence about whether they're trying to trade Jackson says they want to move him. Kelly wants to move him. If that is indeed the case and the Eagles can find a team willing to take on Jackson's contract in exchange for a decent draft pick, Jackson likely will be traded.

Kelly might not officially have total control of Philadelphia's roster. That might belong in theory to general manager Howie Roseman. But it is clear that Kelly is in control. He has the ability to shape the Eagles roster the way he sees fit. He determines which players he wants to bring in, which incumbents he wants to keep and which veterans he wants to jettison. Roseman can execute the transactions, but Kelly determines which moves get made.

Winning the NFC East in his first season as an NFL head coach bought Kelly that clout. It bought him that status. It confirmed to owner Jeffrey Lurie that Kelly knows what he is doing, that he is to be trusted and that he is to be believed.

Working primarily with players he inherited from Andy Reid, Kelly turned a team that finished with a 4-12 record in 2012 and had gone 12-20 in the two seasons prior to his arrival into a 10-win team that nearly beat New Orleans in the playoffs.

Under Kelly's guidance, Philadelphia had the second-ranked offense in the NFL and scored more points than all but three other teams. It played an up-tempo style that often left its opponent gassed. The Eagles' defense overachieved. Their special teams were solid.

And there was a buzz around the team that had been missing in the latter part of the Reid era. The practice schedule, the food served in the cafeteria, the training regimen, the tempo with which the Eagles played, everything was different. Everything was upbeat.

This is the result. The fact that the Eagles are Kelly's program has never been more clear.

Jackson is the latest example.

On paper, Jackson is a perfect fit for Kelly's offense. He is a burner who draws attention from opposing defenses and opens up the field for his teammates. Kelly's offense is all about creating space and exposing mismatches. With his speed on the outside, Jackson helps to do just that.

Jackson had a career year last season, catching 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. With Jeremy Maclin out for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament early in training camp, the Eagles relied heavily on Jackson. He delivered. They also relied heavily on Riley Cooper, who also delivered with 47 receptions for 835 yards - an impressive average of 17.8 yards per catch -- and eight touchdowns.

The Eagles rewarded Cooper with a five-year, $25 million deal before he could become a free agent earlier this month.

That Jackson, who signed a five-year extension two years ago, angled for a new contract after the season ended didn't sit well. The Eagles have paid Jackson $18 million the past two seasons and are scheduled to pay him $10.5 million in 2014, a salary that makes him the fifth-highest paid receiver in the game.

Jackson should be happy. Instead, he is the subject of intense trade rumors that the Eagles have not denied.

Kelly wants players who will buy into his system and not be selfish. Throughout last season, Jackson said he bought in. He said he was trying to get more sleep, as Kelly requested of all the players. Jackson said he was more than happy to contribute on special teams, because Kelly preached the value of the favorable field position effective special teams play could provide. Jackson said he supported Nick Foles, even though he preferred Michael Vick to be the Eagles' starting quarterback.

But clearly Kelly didn't like something about Jackson.

Otherwise, the team would have muted the noise this week about how it would entertain offers for the 27-year-old receiver. All the Eagles would have had to say was that they are committed to Jackson, that they value his skill set and that he is not on the market.

That hasn't happened yet.

One opposing head coach told me he didn't think the Eagles were shopping Jackson. Two other head coaches, whose teams would likely pursue a trade if Jackson were available, told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder there had been no conversations with the Eagles, although one said he understood that the Eagles would be willing to evaluate trade offers.

The truth is out there somewhere.

That Kelly would be willing to let Jackson, an irascible talent on his best day, hang out there amid rampant speculation is telling. The message is clear: No one player is invaluable. No one player, no matter how productive, is safe.

Kelly spent his first year in Philadelphia changing a culture and implementing his plan. It worked. Now he has the power to do more, to build the team how he likes, even if it means potentially trading one of the team's most valuable assets.

Winning earned Kelly power, and it appears as if he is more than happy to wield it.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 22996519. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 22996519. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 22996519.
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...