ANGELO CATALDI
PhillyVoice

When Howie Roseman returned to power in the Eagles front office 19 months ago, the howls of protest shook the very foundation of our passionate sports city. I should know. I was leading the dissent.

Back then, the logic was sound. Roseman had had his chance as GM for five years, 15 in the organization. He was too close to owner Jeffrey Lurie. Smitten with the spotlight, he was the only NFL GM with his own radio show. He was awkward, indecisive, mistake-prone and unproven.

Did I mention he was a lousy GM, too?

Listen closely today. This is no outcry against Roseman now, not from fans frustrated by 57 years without a championship and not by a blowhard radio guy (me) who was so certain Roseman 2.0 would be more of the same. It isn’t. Roseman is one of the most dynamic GMs in sports right now, and by far the best one in Philadelphia.

He proved it again last Friday when he made another bold move to help the Eagles at a time when most experts said there was no way to improve the biggest weakness on the team – cornerback – three weeks before the season opener. He gave up his most productive wide receiver, Jordan Matthews, for cornerback Ronald Darby and a third-round draft pick.

Not everyone agrees with the Buffalo deal, especially those who had become fond of Matthews’ accessibility and class, or those who overvalue draft choices. Everyone has to agree, however, with the aggressive way Roseman approached the cornerback issue, and with just about everything else he has done since he resumed power after Chip Kelly was fired.

Remember, Roseman is the one who double-jumped the draft board in 2016 to snatch franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, a decision that will define Roseman’s second tour of duty. Wentz is an ideal building block for a team still in transition, a smart, talented, coachable player with no discernible drawbacks. He has a brilliant future here.

And now, believe it or not, so does Roseman. I was the first critic to mock the world tour he took during his year-long exile, an exercise he described as a new way to learn how to develop a championship roster. At the time, it sounded like more Roseman spin hiding the fact that he had politicked his way back into power. Apparently not.

Since he got back, Roseman has spent hundreds of millions on new contracts for the top Eagles (Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters) and for a couple of busts (Vinny Curry, Sam Bradford). He has swung and missed a few times since his return, but he keeps swinging, keeps trying to make the Eagles a playoff team again.

No one can say the same about the other three GMs in Philadelphia. Ron Hextall’s idea of brilliant strategy is replacing one mediocre Flyers goaltender (Steve Mason) with another (Brian Elliott). Bryan Colangelo is merely cashing in the chips of three years of Sixer tanking. And Matt Klentak has absolutely no idea what he’s doing with the Phillies.

The Matthews-Darby trade last week was something none of the other GMs would have had to backbone to make. Despite a lack of speed and unreliable hands, Matthews is still a valuable commodity. Sometimes heart can overcome major obstacles; Jordan Matthews has heart.

Ronald Darby has something even more important right now for the Eagles, though – speed. In a division with elite athletes like Odell Beckham Jr., Dez Bryant and Terrelle Pryor, the Birds were in danger of losing big games on big plays. Now, finally, the have a defender who can run with those gazelles.

Still, the fact that the trade makes perfect sense is not the most impressive part. It’s that Roseman once again moved boldly to fix what was wrong with his team, his critics be damned.

Listen closely. Nobody’s complaining about Howie Roseman anymore. Not even me.


One by one they're all coming around .