Joe Banner and Howie Roseman — mentor and mentee — are similar in many ways. Both have vast knowledge of the salary cap and how to manage it. Both are tough negotiators. And both came to the NFL from non-football backgrounds.
But one area in which they did differ is how they relate to players. Banner did not mingle with Eagles players much, in part, because he felt it would compromise his position when it came time to negotiate their contracts. Roseman has tried to foster closer relationships with players since he became general manager in 2010.
"He's got a great relationship with players," Eagles tight end Brent Celek said Thursday after practice. "I knew Howie before he was GM, was always friendly with him. He knows how to communicate with the guys, connect with the guys, and I think you need to be that as a GM. You need to know how to talk to your guys and just generally run the team a little bit, like he does."
But Roseman may need to tinker with that approach if he's to play the heavy with Banner now out of the picture. He had already assumed most of Banner's responsibilities in contracts this offseason, one many considered a strong one. But Banner stepping down as team president signaled a shift in the Eagles' good cop-bad cop axis that existed between he and Eagles coach Andy Reid.
Roseman could remain the good cop to Reid's new bad cop, although it's hard to see the coach assuming that role in contracts and negotiations if he wants his players to give him full effort out of the field.
Banner was willing to don the bad cap role -- even to his own detriment -- over the last 13 years if it meant getting a deal done. Often he got the better of player agents. But he sacrificed getting close to the players, although his age — he's now 59 — may have started to become a liability in relating to today's player.
"He may not have talked as much as maybe Howie does," Celek said. "Everybody goes about their business in a certain way. You can always be friendly with somebody and just because you're in management doesn't mean you can't talk to the players, be friendly with them because we're all in this for one thing and that's to win a Super Bowl."
Roseman is younger (36) and while that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be hanging out in the clubs with the players, so far it appears to have made it easier for him to connect with the locker room.
But how long can that last?