The Philadelphia Eagles brain drain continues.
VP of soccer operations Catherine Raîche is the latest member of the exodus from the Philadelphia front office. She is being signed for a “high-ranking role” with the Cleveland Browns, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
The Eagles originally hired Raîche in July 2019. She overlapped with current Browns general manager Andrew Berry, who previously held the same title of vice president of football operations, for several months before he left. to Cleveland.
The Eagles were in danger of losing Raîche earlier this offseason when he interviewed for the Minnesota Vikings’ general manager job. Philly would have received two third-round picks in compensation for their departure they had hired her but finally they took a different direction. The Vikes hired former Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. So maybe Raîche is filling his game in Cleveland.
On the one hand, people should be happy about Raîche’s progress. She became the highest-ranking female personnel executive in NFL history in Philadelphia and is now potentially closing in on a full-fledged GM title.
On the other hand, the Eagles are losing another key member of their front office without compensation.
In January, the Birds lost director of player personnel Ian Cunningham to the Bears. Chicago hired him for his assistant general manager position.
In February, the Birds lost director of player personnel Brandon Brown to the Giants. New York hired him for his assistant general manager position.
The Eagles were so upset by the timing of those departures that they co-proposed a change of resolution to prohibit secondary football executives from leaving for new teams until later the NFL Draft. The resolution ended up passing but the damage to the Eagles was already done.
Losing Cunningham, Brown AND Raîche in a relatively short period of time may not be ideal for Philly. And the losses may not even stop there. Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl is believed to be the “favorite” for the Pittsburgh Steelers general manager vacancy with the resignation of Kevin Colbert. Since the draft is over, we should probably hear some news about the Steelers’ GM search in the near future.
Jeffrey Lurie specifically called out Weidl, Cunningham, Brown and Raîche during a January 2021 news conference where the Eagles owner was speaking at the Philadelphia front office. This is what he said at the time:
[…] We’ve got about five people in our organization right now that I could project to be GMs in this league, and he’s constantly getting replenished, whether it’s John Dorsey or Jeremiah Washburn, the list goes on. I don’t want to leave anyone out.
But we have a really strong core with Andy Weidl, Ian Cunningham, Catherine Raîche, Brandon Brown. One of the general manager’s jobs is to attract really good people and executives around them because it’s not meant for just one person. There have been mistakes. There are bugs but what I have to look at is process and I have to look at performance over time but more importantly I have to look at process. If we’re not identifying the best players before a draft pick, then that’s a problem. If we are identifying the best players, but they are chosen two, three, four, five before us, that is also part of the evaluation. That’s part of understanding the process. Understanding the details. […]
It’s certainly good to see other teams coveting Eagles executives. But Howie Roseman will be tasked with resupplying more. It remains to be seen who will step up after a series of key losses. Former Jacksonville Jaguars general manager and current personnel executive Dave Caldwell could be a name to watch. Lurie’s previous mention of Jeremiah Wasburn, who plays a hybrid coach/manager role with his title of “director of player personnel/senior defensive assistant,” could bode well for him. The Eagles could also look to do some poaching on their own and do some outside signings.
The Eagles commonly announce front office adjustments sometime after the NFL Draft each year. It was at the end of May when they did it in 2021. Something to monitor in the future.