Since the release of the book The GM, featuring the great Ernie Accorsi, and the films Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner, and Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, the existence and importance of a General Manager has become more widely acknowledged and appreciated by many outside the realm of professional sports in America.
Being a General Manager in the NFL
In the NFL, the relationships between the various parties within a franchise are vital for a team’s success. On the field, the connection between the quarterback and coach is of utmost importance, while off the field, the coach and General Manager must work seamlessly together to bridge the gap between the field and the front office. The role of General Manager is undeniably at the core of everything, and it can be argued that it is the most challenging job in all of sports.
The role of a General Manager is to strategically manage personnel, with the goal of building a winning team. This requires a delicate balance between fulfilling current needs and planning for the future. Every decision made by the General Manager is under intense scrutiny, both from within the franchise and in the wider sports media industry.
As a professional football executive, a General Manager works closely with the scouting department to identify talent through the college draft and always keeps an eye on the rosters of the other 31 NFL teams for potential trades and acquisitions through free agency. It is essential for the team to stay under the salary cap set by the NFL, and therefore, value for money is a crucial factor. A General Manager’s success is determined by their ability to find exceptional talent at an affordable cost.
Howie Roseman – Philadelphia Eagles
Howie Roseman sent letters to each NFL team multiple times per year between his senior year in high school and his third year in law school, in an attempt to land an opportunity with an NFL franchise.
At the age of 24, he secured an unpaid internship with the Philadelphia Eagles working under President Joe Bauer. This was after receiving over a thousand rejections. With incredible will and passion for the game, Roseman climbed the ladder through five different roles within the franchise before becoming General Manager in 2010 and still holds that same position today.
Getting the right head coach
Roseman has worked with four head coaches, including Andy Reid, who was the head coach when Roseman took over in 2010. Reid left with a record of 130-93-1 to become the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, prompting the Eagles to hire Chip Kelly from college with the Oregon Ducks. Kelly coached from 2013 to 2015 and left with a record of 26-21.
Doug Pederson was hired as the next head coach in 2016 and had previously been both a player and an assistant coach for the Eagles. He led the team to its first Super Bowl win in 2018 but left with a record of 42-37-1 following disagreements about the coaching staff in 2020. This led to Roseman and the Eagles front office hiring Nick Sirianni in 2021. So far, Nick Sirianni has been incredibly successful with a record of 28-12, making him the most prosperous coach in Philadelphia Eagles history. The relationship between Roseman and Sirianni is also outstanding.
The Roster Builder
When it comes to building a strong team foundation, through drafting and acquiring key free agents, no franchise or general manager has been able to get more value for less. The selection of franchise quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round of the 2020 draft was a great example of forward-thinking that ultimately transformed the fortunes of the franchise. Securing Hurts and maintaining the dominant roster will be a test for Roseman and the front office, but it’s nothing new to Roseman who started his internship by commuting to Philadelphia from New York each day.
The key to the Philadelphia Eagles’ success is their strong offensive and defensive lines. These lines are anchored by four leaders who played in both Super Bowls during Roseman’s tenure as General Manager. Jason Kelce, the leader of the offensive line, broke the franchise record with his 145th consecutive start, surpassing John Runyon recently. Kelce was a sixth-round draft pick and arguably the best acquisition of Roseman’s career. Kelce gave an epic speech that included Roseman at the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia after they won the city’s first Super Bowl. The other leaders in the trenches for the Eagles include right tackle Lane Johnson, defensive end Brandon Graham, and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. All three have been instrumental to the team’s success during Roseman’s tenure as GM.
The Philadelphia Eagles have had great success in the recent NFL drafts. In 2021, they picked up DeVonta Smith, a Heisman Trophy winner and wide Receiver, as well as Landon Dickerson, a guard, both from Alabama, who made an instant impact. The 2022 draft saw them select Jordan Davis, a defensive tackle, Cam Jurgens, a guard, and Nakobe Dean, a linebacker, all of whom almost had a redshirt season last year but are now key starters.
Since the 2022 Davis and Dean selections, there has been a trend of selecting players from The University of Georgia that continued through this year’s draft. Rookie sensation Jalen Carter has made a tremendous impact to start his NFL career at defensive tackle as he rotates with Davis and Cox to pressure opposing offenses.
If there is one area in which Rosman has truly excelled in team building, it is through acquiring good players just before they become great through free agency. Wide receiver A.J. Brown and edge rusher Hasaan Riddick are two great examples of this as both are performing so well in the prime of their career after being good elsewhere. In other areas of the roster, Roseman has found incredible value in players like defensive back James Bradberry who they picked up late last season, and the sensational progression and transformation of former Australian Rugby player Jordan Mailata who plays a huge role at left tackle for the team.
What are the future plans for Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles?
The Philadelphia Eagles’ future appears bright with Howie Roseman as their General Manager. They currently hold the top spot in the NFC, tied with the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions with a record of 5-1. They are about to face the Miami Dolphins, a strong contender in their own right with the same record in the AFC.
The team plans to keep using the ‘Brotherly Shove’ play, even though it might get banned from the NFL after the next owners meeting. Regardless of the outcome, the key to future success and the hope of achieving another Super Bowl win will go to Howie Rosman’s management and Nick Sirianni’s coaching. Don’t be surprised to see a big trade before the trading deadline as Howie continues to do Howie things.
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