When you win in the NFL, the rest of the league wants to know the formula and, in some cases, does everything it can do to use a piece of the puzzle. In the case of Joe Douglas, the Eagles' vice president of player personnel, it was a matter of urgency for the New York Jets to hire him and make him their general manager. What does it mean for the Eagles? Let's explore that idea.
First, best of luck to Douglas, who came to the Eagles in the post-2016-draft months and lent valuable expertise to the Eagles' college scouting and player personnel department. Everybody in the organization loved (and loves) Douglas, who worked beautifully with Howie Roseman as well as the coaching staff and the entire framework of the franchise.
The Eagles, Roseman in particular, are now given the task of replacing Douglas and whomever may join him with the Jets and keeping this personnel structure intact, running smoothly, and efficiently and effectively. The Eagles anticipated the possibility in the last couple of years that Douglas, as his league-wide profile grew, would have opportunities to leave. With that comes the plan of succession, so Roseman no doubt has a head start on what he wants to do next, whether that is promoting from within, bringing in someone from the outside, or having a combination of both.
That's really it.
The Eagles are prepared for movement because, as an elite NFL franchise, you are trained to look ahead as well as prepare for the present. Roseman talks about it all the time, how he and his group look at the roster and plan, at times, two to three years out because that's the kind of vision you need to have sustained success at this level. The NFL is not just a "now" enterprise; the best teams build something and then build upon the core and keep their eyes down the road as much as possible.
And as the Eagles celebrated the shiny contract extension with franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, another in a long line of key players signed to contracts that extend beyond the next two and three seasons, they were also acutely aware of Douglas and his talks with the Jets. Roseman always has a countermove in mind and now the personnel ball is in his court. He is operating from a position of strength – the Eagles are as stable as any NFL organization with regard to all aspects of the football operation. The coaching staff is experienced and in place with great continuity. Roseman has been here for 19 seasons. Jeffrey Lurie is going to support the needs of the football ops department.
Personnel people want to work for the Eagles just as players want to play on a team that has such great support from the fan base, from management, and from the coaching staff. The Eagles are a destination station in the NFL.
The challenge, then, is right in front of the Eagles. At the same time as we all congratulate Joe Douglas and wish him well with New York, the Eagles have a critical move to make. They've got a deep and talented roster. They've got a great coaching staff. While Douglas leaves, the personnel department is equally regarded highly in the league. It's an enviable situation, but it's also a challenge, and it's one the Eagles anticipated.
Sustained excellence is the goal here, and the Eagles have many pieces in place to achieve just that. One of the pieces important to helping the Eagles reach this point is moving on, so the next step, the plan of succession, is suddenly on the front burner for Roseman and the Eagles.