In a shocking announcement, Joe Banner is no longer the president of the Philadelphia Eagles. Banner is being replaced by chief operating officer Don Smolenski as the team’s president, but Howie Roseman will assume Banner’s salary cap duties.
For the longest time, there had been rumors of a power struggle in the front office, most notably between Joe Banner and Andy Reid. And for the most part, it appeared that Banner won many of those struggles since he controlled all things money-related.
This is why that, over the years, you often heard players get disgruntled towards the team when it came to contract negotiations, but they would always maintain a respect for Reid.
You even heard it last year with Asante Samuel when he was getting upset about being on the trade market. He made his infamous claim that the “people upstairs” were playing fantasy football with the owner’s money.
However, during that same time, he differentiated Reid from the bunch when he said this:
“Everything has been good with me and Andy. That’s my guy, that’s who I play for, that’s who I continue to play for,” said Samuel.
“I go to war for Andy. It is what it is, all the other stuff upstairs.”
Samuel’s feelings have been shared by most of the players who have played under Reid. This means that, for the most part, the “people upstairs” have had a tremendous amount of say in who stays and who goes over the years.
Furthermore, if you recall, there was a controversial report that came out back in March from Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. Here is what Farmer reported:
Two NFL insiders, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that Philadelphia Coach Andy Reid was ready to walk away from the Eagles if he didn’t get more personnel control, and now he has it.
We’ve seen a flurry of decisive moves by the Eagles in recent weeks, including finally cutting a blockbuster deal with receiver DeSean Jackson; extending two good soldiers, defensive end Trent Cole and right tackle Todd Herremans, outbidding the Ravens to keep guard Evan Mathis; and trading for Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
In light of the moves the team made this offseason, this report made sense at the time and it makes even more sense now. During the Reid era, how often do you remember the Eagles restructuring players’ deals because “they deserved it?”
Brian Westbrook was the only case I remember, and that was almost literally like getting blood from a stone.
It certainly does appear that Reid threw his weight around this offseason and ended up winning the ultimate struggle for power within the front office. If he lost a lot of battles over the years with Banner and/or the “people upstairs”, he appears to have won the war…for now.
Banner was never a popular figure in Philadelphia and was viewed as a stingy penny pincher for the most part. However, if you were a businessman in the business of making a profit, Banner was someone you wanted on your side.
He was often seen as shrewd and unwavering in contract negotiations. He was able to pinpoint a value for a player and would rarely budge from there. However, for all his faults and unpopularity, he always had the Eagles in good position in terms of cap space.
And that is important in this day and age because it’s hard to compete if you’re always cap-strapped.
With that said, I can’t say I’m “disappointed” by this move. Banner is not someone I’ll miss…at least not initially. If we see the Eagles with cap problems and unable to sign a player we all want, maybe I’ll be wishing we still had him.
But, if not having Banner in control means we continue with the philosophy employed this offseason, by all means, see ya Joe!