PHILADELPHIA -- It has been a telling few days for Chip Kelly's offseason transformation of the Philadelphia Eagles' roster.
DeMarco Murray talked to owner Jeff Lurie about his frustration with the way his season has gone. LeSean McCoy has ratcheted up the tension as he prepares to travel to Philadelphia for his first game in an opposing uniform. Out in Seattle, cornerback Cary Williams was released by the Seahawks.
All of those players were involved in moves made by Kelly after he was handed full control of the Eagles’ roster decisions. With a quarter of the season left, it’s worth taking a look at what Kelly did and how it has worked out.
Here are the players Kelly jettisoned, either actively (through trading or releasing them) or passively (through allowing them to leave as free agents):
Quarterback Nick Foles
How he’s done: Foles got a contract extension before the season began. Once it did, however, he has had a tough time. Through the first nine games, Foles completed 56.6 percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 75.9. Foles threw seven touchdown passes and six interceptions. Coach Jeff Fisher benched Foles in favor of Case Keenum. Keenum went out with a concussion after one start and Foles returned to the lineup. In the past two weeks, he has thrown four interceptions and zero touchdowns.
Kelly replaced him with: Sam Bradford.
How did the Eagles make out? Better. Bradford hasn’t been as good as Foles 2013, but he’s been better than Foles 2014-15.
Running back LeSean McCoy
How he’s done: He’s still McCoy. After missing time with a hamstring injury early in the season, McCoy got up to speed after the Bills’ bye week. He had back-to-back 112-yard efforts in victories against the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. Buffalo is 6-6 and in the wild-card hunt as they prepare to face the Eagles on Sunday.
Kelly replaced him with: DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews.
How did the Eagles make out? Worse. The Eagles' offensive line may be part of the problem, but McCoy rushed for 1,300 yards behind a banged-up line last season. There is little doubt the Eagles would be better with McCoy than without him.
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin
How he left: The Eagles were interested in signing Maclin, but the free agent got an offer -- $55 million over five years – from the Kansas City Chiefs that was more than the Eagles were willing to pay.
How he’s done: Very well. Maclin may be the most successful of the Eagles’ departed players. Maclin has caught 66 passes for 867 yards and is on track for his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. He has only two touchdowns, but that may say less about Maclin than about quarterback Alex Smith and the Chiefs’ offense.
Kelly replaced him with: First-round draft choice Nelson Agholor, who has just 16 catches for 163 yards.
How did the Eagles make out? Worse. None of their wide receivers is on pace for 1,000 yards this season.
How they left: Mathis was cut in June, after he missed voluntary workouts. Herremans was released at the beginning of free agency.
Kelly replaced them with: Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardner who were backups for the Eagles last season. Barbre is the replacement for Mathis at left guard. Gardner replaced Herremans on the right side until a foot injury landed him on injured reserve. Matt Tobin is now starting at right guard.
How did the Eagles make out? Worse. Mathis, 34, and Herremans, 33, were nearing the end of their careers, but Kelly did not replenish the talent supply at guard.
Cornerback Cary Williams
How he left: Williams was released at the beginning of free agency.
How he’s done: It looked good for a while. Williams signed a contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He started 10 games at cornerback, opposite Richard Sherman. This week, though, Williams was unceremoniously released. "It's a short amount of time to try and catch up with all of the real specifics of our techniques and stuff," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "But (Williams) did a nice job. He progressed with it. But we feel more comfortable with the guys that have been with us, and so we made the move. He was a real pro. He worked hard in practice and all that. His attitude was excellent."
Kelly replaced him with: Byron Maxwell, who left Seattle for a six-year, $63-million contract.
How did the Eagles make out? Better, but Maxwell’s contract seems awfully steep a price for the level of improvement he represents. The release of Williams illustrates the problem: Maxwell thrived in Seattle, doing things Carroll’s way. He has been fair-to-good in Philadelphia.
Cornerback Bradley Fletcher
How he left: Fletcher’s contract expired and the Eagles did not offer him a new one.
How he’s done: Fletcher signed with the New England Patriots and it looked as if both of the Eagles’ maligned cornerbacks had landed in good situations. But Fletcher was released two weeks into the season and hasn’t caught on with another team.
Kelly replaced him with: Nolan Carroll, who was a backup with the Eagles last season.
How did the Eagles make out? Better. Carroll probably should have been starting ahead of Fletcher last season. He was solid until breaking his fibula on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. Rookie Eric Rowe is starting now, but the Eagles are still better there.
Safety Nate Allen
How he left: Allen also became a free agent in March. He signed with the Oakland Raiders for $23 million over four years.
How he’s done: Allen injured his knee in the season opener and was placed on injured reserve/designated to return. He returned last month and has played in four games. Allen has one interception, which came against the quarterback of Chip Kelly’s fantasy team, Marcus Mariota.
Kelly replaced him with: Walter Thurmond, who was a cornerback when he signed but moved over to safety.
How did the Eagles make out? Better. Thurmond and Malcolm Jenkins have given the Eagles a solid pair of safeties for the first time in years. Thurmond has three interceptions, two sacks and two forced fumbles this season.
Outside linebacker Trent Cole
How he left: Cole was released in March.
How he’s done: After signing with the Indianapolis Colts, Cole looked to be in a good situation. But the Colts are 6-6 (and in first place in the AFC South), and Cole has just one sack while starting five games.
Kelly replaced him with: Brandon Graham was eligible for free agency but signed a new four-year, $26 million contract with the Eagles. As the primary backup at outside linebacker last season, Graham had 5.5 sacks. He has 6.5 this season as a starter.
How did the Eagles make out? Better, because Cole is on the down side of his career. At his best, Cole was a better player than Graham. But Graham is 27 and getting better all the time at outside linebacker.
Nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin
How he left: Boykin was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional draft pick before the start of training camp.
How he’s done: In Philadelphia, Boykin's lack of height relegated him to the nickel corner spot, where he thrived in 2013. In Pittsburgh, Boykin hasn’t started a game, and has one interception.
Kelly replaced him with: It took a village to replace Boykin. Safety Malcolm Jenkins moves to the nickel cornerback spot at times. So does E.J. Biggers.
How did the Eagles make out? It’s a wash. Boykin was exceptional in 2013, but not nearly as productive in 2014. Jenkins, Biggers and Chris Maragos have given the Eagles a solid group of defensive backs in that role.