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June 12, 2024

Mailbag: Who are the Eagles' top trade candidates?

James Bradberry's disappointing 2023 and a fresh group of young cornerbacks now in Philadelphia could make the veteran cornerback a possible trade candidate for the Eagles.

Eagles NFL
7.26.23_EaglesPractice_James-Bradberry-8402.jpg Colleen Claggett/For PhillyVoice

Eagles CB James Bradberry

On Monday we solicited questions for an Eagles mailbag via Twitter or whatever it's called now. Thank you as always for doing half the work for me. This will be Part I of a two-part mailbag. Let's just get right to it.

Question from @tech__44: Who are the top 3-5 trade candidates who are on the Eagles' roster right now? Cornerback seems to have a ton of depth and wide receiver drops off after WR2. Might be hard to come up with 5 here.

The most obvious trade candidate is James Bradberry, who was an All-Pro in 2022 but had a nightmare season in 2023, causing the Eagles to draft cornerbacks with each of their top two picks in the 2024 draft.

Early in 2023 after Avonte Maddox went down, Bradberry unselfishly played in the slot until the coaching staff and front office could find someone who could fill Maddox's role. He eventually moved back outside and for the first third or so of the season he was a decent enough starter, even if he wasn't as good as he was in 2022.

From Week 7 on, PFF had Bradberry down for 40 completions on 65 targets for 518 yards, 7 TDs, and 1 INT. He was particularly bad in the Eagles' devastating loss to the Seahawks, when he allowed 6 receptions on all 6 targets that came his way, for 112 yards and the game-winning TD. He also tackled poorly down the stretch.

Bradberry has had other recent down seasons, and bounced back from them. For example, he made the Pro Bowl with the Giants in 2020, but then had a down year 2021. He was an All-Pro in 2022, and then was bad in 2023.

Should the Eagles find a team with some interest in Bradberry, the financial cost to the acquiring team would only be his $1,210,000 guaranteed salary, which the Eagles would be on the hook for if they otherwise cut him. By trading him, the Eagles could save that money both against the cap and, you know, Jeffrey Lurie's bank account. It's really not that hard to imagine a team thin at cornerback throwing the Eagles a Day 3 pick (conditional?) to bring Bradberry aboard.

As far as other trade candidates go, the Eagles are flush with cornerback depth. Darius Slay will start, and the CB2 spot is up for grabs, with Isaiah Rodgers, Kelee Ringo, Quinyon Mitchell, and maybe Cooper DeJean all competing to start on the outside. They also have a number of players returning from 2023, including Avonte Maddox, Josh Jobe, Eli Ricks, and Zech McPhearson, plus a newcomer in Tyler Hall.

The Eagles can't keep all those guys, so they'll no doubt be open to listening to offers for guys like Jobe, Ricks, McPhearson, etc., perhaps for another back-of-the-roster guy at another position, like defensive tackle.

Question from @zteutsch: Given the emergence of the young cornerbacks (Ringo, Mitchell, Rodgers, etc.) is it possible Darius Slay gets moved? What would the cap implications be?

Nope. Slay is still a good player, and the Eagles think that they are Super Bowl contenders. They are extremely unlikely to trade the one cornerback they are fairly sure they can count on. But also, if they trade him, it's a $32 million dead money hit (spread over two seasons).

From the perspective of an acquiring team, Slay will turn 34 during the season. It's hard to imagine anyone trading anything worthwhile to rent him for a season.

Question from JodyeGotGame: What role do you see for Quinyon Mitchell year 1 if Ringo or Rodgers wins the job opposite slay?

Heading into spring practices, I would have projected Mitchell as the starter opposite Slay. However, Ringo and Rodgers played really well, so Mitchell will have his work cut out for him in training camp to earn that job.

Mitchell got some reps in the slot during minicamp, so the Eagles may already be preparing for a scenario in which he does not immediately start on the outside. 

Question from @Alphonso1977: I'm a broken record on this: Isn't moving Bradberry to safety — like Troy Vincent did his last few seasons — a wise move? He's a heady player at a needs-depth position, and he knows this style of defense. Are they really saving that much in cap vs. potential gain? I see more gain.

Personally, I don't think Bradberry is a great fit at safety, because he has never been a very good tackler. But also, he'd probably be the fifth safety on the depth chart behind Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Reed Blankenship, Sydney Brown (whenever healthy), and Avonte Maddox. He'd be a 31-year-old backup who doesn't play special teams who costs a young player a roster spot. There are times you just rip off the Band-Aid, take your lumps, and move on. This is one of those times, in my opinion.

Question from @Footba11Joe: Who is in the lead for WR3 coming out of spring practices?

I think it's wide open, but based on the distribution of reps during spring practices, it's Parris Campbell.

Question from @PaulTweetsRIP: Is WR3 an issue? We know the targets will be going to A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, but that's still an injury away from having some terrible options have to catch passes.

The offense is in big trouble if in an instant they have to go from Brown or Smith to Campbell or whoever else wins that job.

Question from @coreyensslin: It’s interesting to me that all the discussion about WR3 candidates is relatively binary (this guy yes, this guy no). Have we considered the possibility that they go with a WR3 by committee of sorts? Maybe it’s Johnny Wilson on outside in jump ball situations when they bump A.J. and DeVonta inside. Covey in the slot on 3rd down / run block downs, Ainias Smith in the slot when they big play hunt, etc. It feels to me like it’s eminently reasonable that the 5th most important skill position on field is determined situationally on a down by down basis, but it's possible I’m missing something logistically that lends the position to needing a full time guy.

I look at a team like the Packers, who have five young, talented receivers — Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, and Bo Melton — who were all getting legitimate snaps at the end of Green Bay's season 2023. They can mix and match guys based on scheme, situation, skill sets, etc., because they have a lot of receivers who are good players.

I think in the case of the Eagles, the question that needs to be answered in training camp is whether anyone beyond Brown and Smith can play, at all

Question from @lifeassitcom: Which position has the highest likelihood of a veteran being added a couple of weeks into training camp? Safety? Linebacker? Receiver?

I would rank them:

  1. Interior defensive lineman
  2. Wide receiver
  3. Safety
  4. Linebacker
  5. Tight end

Question from @killakow: What’s your threshold for calling something a “disaster” in sports?

I was actually curious how often I've used "disaster" on Twitter, and this was the first thing that came up when I did a search: 

Man, that 2012 season was bad.

Other things I've evidently called a disaster on Twitter:

  1. Nelson Agholor
  2. Nathaniel Hackett
  3. The Mets
  4. NFL officiating
  5. Washington's food spread under Dan Snyder

After watching this bit from Louis CK (NSFW), I've tried to be cognizant of not using hyperbolic adjectives, but I feel like the above five things are or were valid "disasters" in the sports realm.

Question from PreMoveObserver: Will you be biking the shore towns this year or off on a new adventure with your time off?

In case you missed it, I biked a bunch of the Jersey shore towns last summer and graded each of them on a scale of 1-10 bikies. Here are the shore towns I got to, ordered from best to worst biking experiences:

• Longport / Margate / Ventnor / Atlantic City: 9
• Ocean City: 9
• Brigantine: 8
• Avalon / Stone Harbor: 8
• Long Beach Island (south end): 7
• Long Beach Island (north end): 6
• Island Beach State Park: 5
• Sea Isle / Strathmere: 4

I also wanted to get to Cape May, Wildwood, and Seaside, so yes, I will be finishing up at least those three shore towns at a minimum, and then if I'm feeling extra ambitious I'll check out some of the meathead North Jersey shore towns.

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