Mailbag: More on Eagles Draft

Mailbag: More on Eagles Draft

Reader Alison writes in to point out the poll on DonovanMcNabb.com asking what position the Eagles should address with their first pick.  Not surprisingly, QB didn't make the list.

Reader George writes in from Boston with a nice long rant on the Eagles as a business.  He starts:

Something that I'm reminded of today is that pro sports is above all a business. I'm thinking of this as I reflect on the Eagles draft. I'm a displaced Philly fan living in Boston, working in finance, so I 'get it.' That doesn't mean that I have to like it. There's essentially two ways to run a business, one is for growth and the other is for cash. Running a business for cash is often perceived as the safe play.

The rest of his rant after the jump.

Once the business is established, it doesn't reinvest a lot of capital, maximizes profitability, generates a steady stream of income and cash flow, and so long as none of its competitors are really out-executing it or taking significant market share, the business can continue to hum along and make money for a long time. Eventually, however, many of these businesses either get diplaced by more agile or more innovative competitors, or by larger companies that have better scale and lower costs.   

   Running a business for growth is more risky. The growth business reinvests a lot of its earnings and cash in R&D or sales capacity to grow the business. It looks to make strategic acquisitions, and sometimes chooses to go into debt, potentially betting the future for opportunities that are available today. There is inherantly more risks to the growth strategy. A company could make bad investments, R&D could bear no fruit and acquisitions can carry significant integration and execution risk. And often, growth strategies fail and companies go bankrupt. But sometimes they don't, and we get a General Electric, a Microsoft or an Apple. From an investment perspective, investors like cash, but they pay up for and lust for growth. Why? because one dollar is always worth one dollar, but the dream of what one dollar invested today could be worth tomorrow, next month or next year is a big part of what makes this country go. Everyone wishes they'd invested that dollar in Microsoft in 1990.

nbsp;   While the Eagles might appear to be in growth mode, from a business analysis perspective they are obviously in running the business for cash. By trading down and drafting for the future, the Eagles are conservatively choosing to sit on cash as opposed to making capital investments that could help the team win now. Moving down in the draft lowers their total cash outlay required to sign their total draftees, lowering capital expenses and total reinvestment rate. Strategic acquisitions in recent years seem to have been small and anything but risky. The Eagles have been running the franchise under the salary cap for years, maximizing profit margins at the expense of innovation and improving their competitive position in the market. This has resulted in the Eagles being an above-median performer over the last decade, but having constantly fallen short of absolute success as it is measured in their business segment.

   The company - excuse me, the Eagles - were not always running the business for cash. Reid, Heckert  & Co. used to be an innovative management team. The drafting of Donovan McNabb and the signing of Jon Runyan started the growth cycle. The Eagles were in full growth mode when they acquired Jevon Kearse and TO, and drafting players that could potentially make a positive contribution right away. Maybe that experience has left the management team more conservative, and understandably so. Here's the problem: in the NFL, the future is always now, this season. Business performance gets judged annually. There is no carry over, no running the business for cash, everyone starts anew each year. Yes some of the players are carried over, but every team is remade each season. Every September, each team start with 0 wins and 0 losses before the first coin flip.

 

    So here's to imploring CEO Jeff Lurie. Jeff, grow the business. Invest, acquire, think strategically. Add valuable assets around your core capabilites. Boldly defend your market position. Bury the competition. Increase the returns for your shareholders, or us fans. See what that dollar in your pocket can be worth in November, December or even in January. Because come that second week in February, that dollar is worth just a dollar.

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

There were just two things on Paul Turner’s mind as he sprinted across the field early during the third quarter on Sunday, anticipating his first career NFL catch. 

Turner relayed them on Wednesday: 

1. “Make sure you get in [Carson Wentz’s] vision.” 

2. “You better catch this ball.” 

He did both. 

Turner, the 23-year-old undrafted receiver from Louisiana Tech, who has become a fan favorite since his stellar training camp and preseason, caught his first NFL pass during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals and it went for a big gain of 41 yards. 

On his first catch, the Eagles used the play-action to tilt the defense and Wentz threw a dart into a small window to hit Turner on an over route. Then, the rookie turned upfield with a ton of space in front of him. 

By the end of the afternoon, he caught six balls for 80 yards. It was the best receiving day for an Eagles rookie since Jordan Matthews in 2014 and was a better day than last year’s first-round pick, Nelson Agholor, has ever had. 

“It's always good to catch a few balls,” said Turner, who has been on the 53-man roster and active for just the past two games. “It gets your motor going and gets your confidence going. It just gets you more into the game and gets you excited. I think it does a lot for a person's confidence.”

Turner played 41 snaps against the Bengals in large part because Matthews was out with an ankle injury. Matthews predominantly plays in the slot, which is where head coach Doug Pederson and his coaching staff like Turner. 

“Honestly, that wasn't really my mindset going into the game,” Turner said when asked if he knew how much opportunity he’d have with Matthews out. “My mindset was to go in there and if my number was called, just go out there and make a play. Even if my number was called, just take care of my assignment and take care of the little details and I knew everything else would just take care of itself. I knew that if I got the ball, I'd be excited. But even if I didn't, just to go out there and just block, and give up myself for my teammates. That was my goal coming into the game and just try to stay focused on that.” 

It appears as though Turner has done enough to warrant keeping his playing time. As Matthews returned to practice on Wednesday — as a limited participant — Pederson said there will still be opportunities for Turner. 

“There are, there are,” Pederson said. “And these are things we talked about the last couple of days as a staff — getting Paul in there, even with Jordan coming back. I think it can be a benefit to the offense to have both of those guys ready to go.”

The Eagles still haven’t had more than four receivers active for any game this season. During the last two weeks when Turner has played, either Agholor or Matthews were out. 

“It means a lot that the coaching staff has confidence in me,” Turner said. “My biggest thing is just to come in here and just work each and every day in practice and just prepare in practice so I'm prepared when I go out there in the game.” 

MLB Notes: Aroldis Chapman rejoins Yankees on 5-year, $86 million deal

MLB Notes: Aroldis Chapman rejoins Yankees on 5-year, $86 million deal

OXON HILL, Md. -- Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen -- a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever -- that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.

Rangers: Gomez reaches deal to stay with team
OXON HILL, Md. -- Carlos Gomez is staying with the Texas Rangers.

The outfielder agreed to an $11.5 million, one-year contract, a deal subject to a successful physical.

"Many of the objectives of the Rangers for Carlos go beyond one year," his agent, Scott Boras, said Wednesday. "Certainly Carlos really enjoyed the team and the environment and feels he's got a great chance to win. So I think both parties' objectives were met by that deal."

Gomez, who turned 31 last weekend, figures to play center as general manager Jon Daniels structured an outfield that includes Shin-Soo Choo in right and Nomar Mazara in left. Ian Desmond left Wednesday for a $70 million, five-year deal with Colorado.

Gomez batted just .210 with five homers in 85 games this year for Houston and was released by the Astros in August. He signed with Texas and hit .284 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 33 games. An All-Star in 2013 and '14 with Milwaukee, Gomez has a .257 average and 116 home runs in 10 big league seasons.

"J.D. was very clear from the onset about them wanting Carlos back, and we've had communication since the season's end to pursue that," Boras said. "So it was something in our minds and in their minds. It was just a constant dialogue."

AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

Red Sox: Sale not worried about being ace
BOSTON -- New Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale says he isn't worried that he might not be the ace of the pitching staff after being traded from the White Sox to Boston.

The 27-year-old lefty told reporters on Wednesday, "We play for a trophy, not a tag."

Sale was traded to the Red Sox on Tuesday at the baseball winter meetings. He was the top starting pitcher on the market, and the Red Sox gave up touted prospect Yoan Moncada as part of a package to land him.

Sale has been an All-Star for five straight seasons and finished in the top six of the Cy Young Award voting each time. He joins a staff that already includes 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and '12 winner David Price (see full story).