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May 17, 2019

Mailbag: If the Eagles were to trade one of their many cornerbacks, who would it be?

In our 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.

Question from Petey: If the Eagles were to trade one of their many corners, who would it be?

In my view, if the Eagles were to just keep all six of their corners, the early favorites to start would be Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby on the outside (provided they're healthy, and ready to do so), with Sidney Jones in the slot. Whether that's the right combination or not is an entirely different story. 

The corners not listed certainly have cases to be made for them as well:

  1. One way or the other, if he can build on his level of play of season ago, Avonte Maddox should be on the field.
  2. Rasul Douglas played well down the stretch, and deserves a legitimate chance to compete for a starting spot on the outside.
  3. Ditto that for Cre'Von LeBlanc in the slot.

One scenario that would make some sense is a trade of Jones to some team out there who liked him as a prospect before he tore his Achilles prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, to make for some of the other corners deserving of playing time.

Question form Howie Roseman Fan Club: As a group, where would you rank the Eagles’ second-team offensive line against the NFL’s first-team offensive lines? Is there a team out there that could switch their starters with the Eagles’ backups and have a better line?

Well, first, if the Eagles’ starting five OL got their powers stolen in some kind of Space Jam scenario and the Eagles had to roll with their second unit, my guess is that it would look something like this:

 Andre Dillard??? Stefen Wisniewski Matt Pryor Halapoulivaati Vaitai 

At LG, they'd probably sign Chance Warmack or something rather than roll with an undrafted free agent. Or maybe Jordan Mailata plays RT and Vaitai plays LG? The Eagles have very good OL depth, but I can't see that line being better than some other starting five out there.

Question from Dawkaholic: Who’s going to return punts and kicks for the Eagles this year? I don’t see anyone who has really proven themselves yet.

Kick returner doesn't really matter anymore. Most kickers put the ball through the back of the end zone, and the ones who don't at least reach the end zone these days. The Eagles are more than content to take the ball at the 25. It's not like 10 years ago when you kicked off from the 30 instead of the 35, and the touchback spot was the 20 instead of the 25. That said, the guess here is that Corey Clement would handle those duties in 2019, as he did in 2018.

The return spot that matters more is punt returner, and even that has become less important, as (a) NFL punters are much better are directional punting, and (b) teams have gotten smarter about how to cover punts. The best one on the team right now is probably DeSean Jackson, though I highly doubt they'll use him there. We'll see who gets reps there in OTAs.

Question from GP: Any chance the Eagles used the “June 1” tag on Jay Ajayi and we just don’t know it?

Ajayi counted for $1,907,000 against the cap in 2018. If the Eagles were to have used the June 1 tag on him, they'd be on the hook for 110 percent of that, or $2,097,700. That is certainly not a high cost for a healthy Jay Ajayi, but for one who had a back fracture and a torn ACL (on already degenerative knees), the guess here is that he'll eventually land somewhere on a veteran minimum salary. And no, if the Eagles used that designation, it would have gotten out, I'd think.

Question from Khaleesi’s BBQ shack: Why hasn’t there been more talk about moving Mailata to DE? He’s a monster. I’m sure he could knock OTs around to get to the QB.

Ha, I love that so many fans want Mailata to be something other than what he currently is. I do get it, though. I think Mailata (or whoever) got it right when he worked out prior to the 2018 draft as an OT, and I think the Eagles are right to develop him there. 

Mayyyybe some day they'll let him double as a lead-blocking goal line fullback, and maybe they'll put him on the FG block team or something, but his body type and athleticism are perfect for OT, and I don't see him moving from that spot, ever. 

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