Kelly: Mariota trade price too steep

PHILADELPHIA -- When Chip Kelly got full authority over player personnel after last season, there was heavy speculation that he would use that control to trade his way into position to draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

It turns out the opposite was true. Kelly said Wednesday that he is "philosophically" opposed to giving up the resources required to trade up to the top of the draft.

"Let's dispel that right now," Kelly said. "I think that stuff's crazy. You guys have been going with that stuff all along. I think Marcus is the best quarterback in the draft. We will never mortgage our future to go all the way up to get somebody like that, because we have too many other holes we have to take care of.

"We're not mortgaging our future for any particular player. That's just not philosophically what we think is the right thing to do, that you're going to package 20 picks to move up from 20 (in the draft) to some other spot. We have not had any discussions (about such a trade)."

Kelly did make a trade for a quarterback, however. The Eagles sent quarterback Nick Foles and draft picks, including a second-round pick in 2016, to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford, the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. That move spurred speculation that a subsequent deal for Mariota might be possible, but Kelly made it clear his plan is for Bradford to be the Eagles' quarterback.

"I think he's got an outstanding skill set," Kelly said. "He's a big, strong, physical quarterback. He's over 6-4, he's 240 pounds, he's smart, he's intelligent. He's one of the most accurate throwers when you see him throw the football. I think he's smart; I think he's wired right."

"I really haven't even thought about (starting)," Bradford told reporters Wednesday. "I'm still trying to process this whole move. My main goal right now is to get healthy. Once I get healthy, I'll start learning this offense. When I'm ready to get on the field, whether that's OTAs or training camp, it's to compete for the starting job. I don't want anything handed to me. I want to earn it."

Kelly said the Eagles had "inside information" because offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur coached Bradford when he held that same role in St. Louis in 2010. But the Eagles also talked to Bradford's college coaches, including Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and former Sooners offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.

"Pat Shurmur had the opportunity to coach the kid for a year," Kelly said. "He knows what he's like in the meeting room, he knows what he's like on a daily basis. He knows the consistency that comes with him. He understands his work ethic. He's an unbelievable competitor. We talked to Kevin (Wilson) about him, talked to Bob Stoops about him. The kid's wired right."

Kelly has not talked to reporters since the day after the season ended. A lot has happened since then, beginning with the demotion of general manager Howie Roseman and Kelly's gaining full control of personnel decisions. Kelly said there was no power struggle between himself and Roseman and that owner Jeff Lurie decided on the change.

"I didn't think I needed control of personnel," Kelly said. "That was a decision that our owner made. I just had a meeting with him like I do at the end of every year, in terms of the direction of what we're doing and how do we go from being a 10-6 team to a team that can win the Super Bowl. This was a decision that Jeffrey made."

Kelly credited Roseman for his acumen in managing the salary cap and negotiating contracts. But he said there is a benefit to the head coach having final say on personnel.

"We have a vision of what we want in football players here," Kelly said. "I think we can articulate that, and I think that's what we're trying to go out and get."

Kelly immediately embarked on a reshaping of the Eagles' roster. He traded away last season's starting quarterback and running back, LeSean McCoy. He released veteran players such as Trent Cole, Todd Herremans and Cary Williams. He acquired linebacker Kiko Alonso from Buffalo for McCoy. He lost wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in free agency but signed Seattle cornerback Byron Maxwell.

On the McCoy deal: "They've got an outstanding young linebacker (Alonso) at a position we've got a huge need at. That was a priority for us. The result of it was the money that was freed up. The way we looked at it, we got Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell for LeSean McCoy. Did we want to lose LeSean? Certainly not. You had to give something up to get something."

On the injuries that derailed Bradford in St. Louis: "We don't want to bring in injured players. But I think the players that are available, there has to be a reason. Some guys are available because it's a money reason. You don't have the cap room or you're not willing to go that high for that player. Some players are available because there was an injury. You talk about the Saints. Their revival and what happened down there was their acquisition of Drew Brees, who a lot of people failed in the medical. Maybe they just didn't do enough due diligence."

On the departure of Jeremy Maclin: "We did not want to lose him. He had a tremendous year for us. We couldn't go as high as Kansas City did. That's what it came down to. We definitely wanted Mac back. I had a lot of discussions with Mac over the weekend. I know it was a very difficult decision for him, but I understood the decision."