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March 11, 2018

Mailbag: Could the Eagles add Michael Bennett's brother, TE Martellus Bennett?

In our weekly Eagles chat this week, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow, as well as some emails I've received.

Question from Sandy (via email): Should the Eagles look into signing Martellus Bennett to pair him with his brother Michael?

As I'm sure many of you have seen already, the Patriots reportedly made a better trade offer for Michael Bennett than the Eagles did, but because the Seahawks already had an agreement in place with the Eagles, they honored it. Shortly thereafter, the Patriots released tight end Martellus Bennett, who was apparently considering taking a pay cut to stay in New England if the Pats were able to trade for his brother.

So now that Martellus Bennett is a free agent, would he want to play for the Eagles with his brother in Philly?

Bennett is a 10-year veteran who just turned 31 on Saturday. In 2016 with the Patriots, Bennett had a great season, catching 55 passes for 701 yards (12.7 YPC) and 7 TDs, with Rob Gronkowski missing 8 games. He capitalized on that production the following offseason by signing a 3-year, $21 million deal with the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers waived him after just seven games in 2017 over a strange dispute over the timeline in which Bennett sustained a shoulder injuryPackers players felt that Bennett quit on the team after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, and were angry that he signed with the Pats, and then played in games after his release.

If you strip away the off-field nonsense, Bennett is a good fit for the Eagles, seeing as they are likely going to need help at tight end with Trey Burton almost certainly playing elsewhere in 2018, and Brent Celek's situation still unclear. And if he's willing to play for very little so that he can be with his brother, then why not, right? 

Meh. The thought of adding a player who may have quit on his team after the star quarterback got hurt just somehow doesn't feel right at all on an Eagles team that, you know, just won a Super Bowl after the star quarterback got hurt. He'd be a hard pass for me.

Question from Jim (via email): Jimmy, I missed the chat this week and hoped to catch an answer to the following in the mailbag. You (very often) opine that the best way to win a Super Bowl is (i) with a franchise QB or (ii) with an historically great defense. Are the Eagles the first team to break that trend in a non strike-shortened year? (Teams like the '87 Redskins would be the other exception to the rule but that season had labor unrest and anyway it is fun to tell Redskins fans that two of their three Super Bowls should have asterisks/aren't legitimate.)

Well, to begin, Carson Wentz, who would of course fit the "franchise quarterback" designation, basically got the Eagles home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I believe that many will wrongfully say that he didn't win the Super Bowl, but his contributions absolutely put them in a phenomenal position to so. 

Secondly, I think many of us remember last impressions. In the case of the Eagles' defense, we remember the Patriots driving up and down the field on them for the entirety of the second half of the Super Bowl, before Brandon Graham finally made a huge play. But before that, I felt that they were every bit as good as the "No. 1 defense in the NFL," the Minnesota Vikings. They certainly showed that they were a great defense in the two playoff games preceding the Super Bowl. They weren't historic, but they were pretty freaking good most of the year.

So I do think this team had elements of both things. The defense wasn't historic, but they were among the top five in the NFL, in my view, and while the franchise quarterback got hurt, the backup got hot in the playoffs.

The "hot quarterback" would be "scenario iii" for me. The most recent Ravens team to win it all didn't have anything close to a historic defense, but they were good enough to get in the playoffs, and then the "OK" quarterback (Joe Flacco) got hot. The same can be said for both of the Giants teams that won. I would never try to build a roster hoping that my quarterback gets hot in the playoffs, though.

So I would almost put the Eagles in all three buckets. They (i) had a franchise quarterback to do a ton of the leg work during the regular season, (ii) had a great (though not historic) defense, and (iii) got a hot quarterback in the playoffs. They kinda-sorta had all three.

Comment from "Both my parents are dead": If the Giants get Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall, I'm (not going to like it).

First, sorry about your parents. As for Saquon, I think it would be a huge mistake for the Giants to eschew a quarterback at No. 2 overall in favor of a running back. You don't draft second overall very often, or at least that shouldn't be the goal. As noted above in the last question, in the NFL, you either have a quarterback, or you don't. And if you don't, you don't have much of a chance of winning unless you have some kind of amazing defense.

Eli Manning is cooked, the Giants have an offensive line that they need to build from scratch, and their defense has holes. I think Saquon would be a really bad use of resources for them. Above all, solve the quarterback position.

That said, from the Eagles' perspective, I'm sure they don't want to have to face Saquon twice a year. They probably wouldn't mind beating up on a rookie quarterback in 2018 (or 2019 or whenever), seeing as they are Super Bowl champions, and thus will remain Super Bowl contenders for as long as Carson Wentz stays healthy.

So I can see your point that you don't want to see him in the division on a team other than the Eagles, whether you're a Penn State fan or not.

Question from Han: What would Mychal Kendricks’ trade value be?

Last year the Eagles were looking for at least a fifth-round pick. Kendricks was a better player last year than he has been the last few years, and maybe his play was a little overrated as a result. Kendricks was good, not great. So I don't think his value will have gone up much around the league.

The difference is that this offseason, the Eagles need him more with Nigel Bradham potentially leaving in free agency and Jordan Hicks' injury history remaining a legitimate concern.

Question from JPP’s Index Finger: Now that he’s been named “Executive of the Year” and won a Super Bowl, you think other general managers might wise up and not be duped/fleeced by Howie as much?

This question came on Wednesday. Since then, the Eagles traded Marcus Johnson and a 5 for Michael Bennett and a 7. Then they were able to trade Torrey Smith, a player every team should have known the Eagles were gong to cut anyway, for a 23-year-old corner with 25 career starts. So I guess not.

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