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Chip Kelly Must be Trading for Marcus Mariota

Updated on April 28, 2015

Philadelphia Eagles head coach / GM Chip Kelly must be trading for his former Oregon quarterback, Marcus Mariota on Thursday night during the NFL Draft.

I mean, if Chip isn't going to do everything he can to trade up, then the trade he made for quarterback Sam Bradford makes absolutely no sense. Think about it, Kelly traded Nick Foles, a fourth round pick in 2015 and a second round pick in 2016 for Bradford and a 2015 fifth round pick. On the surface, that trade was a horrible one for the Eagles. Well, it was horrible for the Eagles unless Kelly was only trading for Bradford to use him in a trade to get up high enough in the draft to get Mariota. And that's exactly what I think Kelly had in mind. Too bad I don't think it's going to work out that way.

New Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford
New Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford

Kelly said right after the trade that he was offered a first round pick for Bradford. Logic tells us that the only team that would trade a first round pick for Bradford is the Cleveland Browns, who have two first round picks this year (12 & 19). Plus, they are the Browns and they always do stupid things. But assuming the Eagles trade Bradford and their own first round pick (#20) to the Browns for their two first round picks, I still don't see how that gets them all the way up to No. 2 to get Mariota. And don't think for a second that Mariota isn't going No. 2 overall. It's a quarterback league and Jameis Winston and Mariota are the clear-cut best QBs in this draft. They are going 1-2.

Forget about dealing 12 & 19, plus a couple of players. That won't get it done. The Washington Redskins had to give up three No. 1 picks to move up from 6 to 2 to draft RGIII three years ago. The Tennessee Titans aren't taking those two picks and what is sure to be a mid-to-late round No. 1 pick from the Eagles next year and pass up on a possible franchise QB.

So now I think the Eagles are going to be stuck with Bradford, if he's even healthy enough to get on the field, and a team that still has a ton of holes.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach/GM Chip Kelly showing ex-Eagles RB LeSean McCoy the door
Philadelphia Eagles head coach/GM Chip Kelly showing ex-Eagles RB LeSean McCoy the door

I didn't like the trade of LeSean McCoy for LB Kiko Alonso, but I understood why Chip did it. He didn't like McCoy's habit of dancing behind the line looking for a hole to get a big gain. That's his preference and it's his offense. I think he's crazy to trade a guy who led the NFL in rushing and yards from scrimmage in 2013 and then finished third in rushing last season, behind a beat-up offensive line. It actually turned out OK for Kelly when he ended up signing RB DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews in free agency. I'm not even going to get into the extensive injury history of those two. Let's just assume one of them makes it through the season in one piece, since neither one will be leading the league in carries.

Reunited and it feels so good?
Reunited and it feels so good?

But the real problem here is that Bradford trade. It was just horrible.

First of all, there is the injury history. Bradford is coming off his second ACL injury that he suffered last September. I don't care how good those magic smoothies are that Chip gives to the players. They don't cure ACLs. And it's not just the ACL injuries. Bradford is injury-prone. He has missed 41 of his last 93 games going back to his final season at Oklahoma. The guy simply can't stay on the field.

And even when he's been on the field, he hasn't been great. His best season was his rookie season and even then he only completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,152 yards, with 18 TDs and 15 INTs. That's not bad, but it certainly can't be considered great. Plus, he has regressed as a pro since then. His career completion percentage is only 58.6% in 49 career starts, which would have ranked 29th in the NFL last season, behind guys like Geno Smith (59.7), Blake Bortles (58.9) and Foles (59.8).

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Think about that one for a second. Bradford's career completion percentage is worse than what Nick Foles accumulated in what everyone considered to be a horrible season and yet Chip traded Foles and a 2nd rounder for Bradford. Kind of makes you question Kelly's abilities as an evaluator of NFL talent, doesn't it?

Personally, I would have rather had Foles going forward than either Bradford or Mariota. Yes, I understand Mariota is a better fit for Chip's offense with his mobility, but mobile QBs don't last in the NFL and very rarely are they even any good.

Bradford has an 18-30-1 record, with 59 TDs and 38 INTs in five injury-plagued seasons with the Rams. Foles is 15-9, with 46 TDs and 17 INTs in his career. And if you just look at Foles' record under Kelly, it's 14-4. As a matter of fact, Chip Kelly is 14-4 in the NFL with Foles under center and 6-8 with other QBs. Plus, there is the fact that Foles showed that he can play at an elite level in Kelly's offense, when he completed 64% of his passes, while throwing 27 TDs and only 2 INTs for a 119 QB rating (3rd highest in NFL history) in 13 games. Bradford has never shown elite talent in the NFL. Ever.

Nick Foles Throws 7 TD Passes in a Game

The final nail in the coffin for this trade is the fact that Bradford will make $12.9 million in 2015, while Foles only counts $1.3 million against the salary cap. If you don't think that matters because the Eagles were so far under the cap, think again. The Eagles were far under the cap. After Kelly's big free agent frenzy this offseason, the Eagles have used up almost all of their available cap space. If you don't care about cap space, then you aren't really paying attention. By trading Foles for Bradford and adding nearly $12 million to the cap, the Eagles didn't have enough money to keep WR Jeremy Maclin. Think about that during the season when you're complaining about Bradford not having any receivers to throw the football to if he even manages to get on the field.

Ex-Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin
Ex-Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin

With all of that in mind, I have come to the conclusion that Chip Kelly has absolutely no idea what he's doing as a GM in the NFL.

He obviously traded for Bradford thinking that he could flip him in a trade as a way to get his boy Mariota. When that doesn't pan out (and it won't), Chip is going to be stuck with and expensive, injury-prone, inaccurate QB on the last year of a mega-deal, instead of a young, inexpensive quarterback, who showed glimpses of greatness.

That's the kind of mistake that tends to get coaches and GMs fired. Fortunately for Chipper, there will be plenty of colleges backing up the Brinks truck just begging him to come to their campus and break all the rules he wants. Then the Eagles and their fans will be left with a team built specifically for this one-of-a-kind system and lots of long-term contracts.

And just think, if that all comes to fruition, you'll be able to trace it back to that one QB swap by a second year coach and rookie GM, who might just be in over his head. You know, unless Chip can pull off that miracle trade for Marcus Mariota on Thursday night.

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I don't personally think Kelly is angling for Mariota, but only time will tell.