PHILADELPHIA -- With offseason workouts and minicamps in the rearview mirror and training camps just a few weeks away, we assess the Philadelphia Eagles' offseason moves and assign a letter grade in the video above.
Best move: Ultimately, the trade that sent Nick Foles to St. Louis in exchange for Sam Bradford is going to be the most significant move of Chip Kelly’s manic offseason. If Bradford stays healthy and gives the Eagles a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback (two fairly large ifs), then Kelly will have done the most difficult part of building a team. He’ll have his quarterback. If Bradford gets hurt again or otherwise falls short, Kelly will be right back at Square 1. We just don’t have any real idea how it will go. For now, then, Kelly’s best move was signing running back DeMarco Murray in free agency. Not only did Kelly succeed in calming fears that he went too far by trading way LeSean McCoy, he managed to deprive the Dallas Cowboys of one of their best players. It might have been an accident -- Kelly was going after Frank Gore because he thought Murray would be too expensive -- but it worked out well for Kelly.
Riskiest move: By releasing both of his veteran starting guards, Kelly took an enormous risk. By not signing or drafting any offensive linemen, Kelly compounded that risk. He will have to fill those two holes with the backup linemen who are on hand. Those linemen got a chance to play last season when Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans were injured. That helps. On the other hand, the line wasn’t exactly dominant with Matt Tobin and Andrew Gardner playing guard. These moves would be risky at any time. But when Kelly is counting on his line to protect oft-injured quarterback Bradford and to block for Murray, who strolled through gaping holes in Dallas last season, the stakes are that much higher. The margin for error is that much smaller.
Most puzzling move: It wasn’t surprising that Kelly released Cary Williams and let fellow cornerback Bradley Fletcher and safety Nate Allen walk away in free agency. The Eagles' secondary was a major problem the past two seasons, and it broke down repeatedly during the Eagles’ season-ruining three-game losing streak in December. And it wasn’t surprising when Kelly then dangled $63 million in front of Seattle cornerback Byron Maxwell. Kelly also signed nickel cornerback Walter Thurmond to compete for the other starting spot. But when minicamp rolled around, Thurmond was lining up at safety, a position the Eagles have struggled to fill since Brian Dawkins' departure in 2009. Second-round draft pick Eric Rowe is playing cornerback, so the Eagles didn’t sign or draft a true safety to replace Allen. They might wind up regretting that.
Training camp outlook: Kelly definitely succeeded in making the Eagles a very different team in 2015. But are they a better team with a new quarterback, new running backs, a new secondary and changes at linebacker and on the offensive line? Can all those new parts be blended into a cohesive team during training camp? Will Bradford be healthy and become a good fit in Kelly’s offense? There are a lot more questions about this team than there have been in years past. That’s because Kelly decided the 2014 version of the Eagles had reached its ceiling: 10 wins and no real chance to reach the Super Bowl. So the questions about this team are preferable to the answers Kelly had about last year’s team.