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February 17, 2022

Mailbag: Would Russell Wilson even want to play for the Eagles?

In our Eagles chat on Wednesday, 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 commonly asked questions on Twitter and via email.

Question from PF: Last offseason, Russell Wilson's agent leaked a short list of teams that Wilson would accept a trade to, and the Eagles weren't on it. Do you think he would veto a trade to the Eagles, even if the terms of a deal could be worked out?

For those of you who are unaware, Wilson has a no-trade clause, so he has some control over where he'll play in 2022.

Those teams a year ago were the Cowboys, Saints, Raiders and Bears.

First, let's look at each of those teams:

Cowboys: Dallas signed Dak Prescott to a four-year contract extension a couple weeks after that report came out. Cross them off the list.

Saints: This time a year ago, the Saints maybe looked like a team that had one last run left in them. But with Sean Payton gone, I can't imagine they're as appealing to Wilson as they were then. Plus, their roster has continued to age, and they have major cap concerns.

Raiders: The Raiders went through a crazy season in which the head coach got fired, the interim head coach did a good job and he too got fired, and now Josh McDaniels is in place. Who knows how that may have changed things. Plus, Derek Carr is a top 12-ish kind of quarterback. Would they even be interested in Wilson?

Bears: A few months after that report emerged, the Bears used four draft picks (including a pair of first-round picks) to select Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft. While Fields did not have a good rookie season, it's hard to imagine they'd pony up a bunch of first-round picks (that they don't even have anyway) to acquire another quarterback. You can cross them off the list.

So if Wilson truly wants out of Seattle, he'll have to expand his list of acceptable landing spots beyond those four teams. This time last year, you can understand why the Eagles weren't on that list. They had just come off a 4-11-1 season after which they fired their head coach, their roster was in disarray, and they had major cap issues.

Fast forward a year and the Eagles maybe don't look so bad anymore:

  1. They have a player-friendly head coach who coaxed a 9-8 season out of an inconsistent second-year quarterback.
  2. They have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, which would easily be the best line Wilson has ever played behind, at least on paper.
  3. They still have work to do at the skill positions, but DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert are a good start, and the Eagles will be able to spend in free agency this offseason for the first time in a while.
  4. Philly is a big market where football is king.

It's certainly reasonable to believe the perception of the Eagles has changed for a player like Wilson over the last calendar year.

Question from PF: You have been clear that Jalen Reagor will be back next year. But wouldn't a bust-for-bust "change of scenery" trade make sense? Who are some busts around the league you think make sense to target in such a trade?

Looking at the 2020 NFL Draft, the player that I think might make some sense for that kind of deal would be K'Lavon Chaisson, who has 2 sacks in 2 years with the Jaguars. 

  1. He fits an Eagles need at edge rusher, and it's possible that the Jags could take an edge rusher (like Aidan Hutchinson, for example) with the No. 1 overall pick. 
  2. He was drafted by Dave Caldwell, who now works for the Eagles. The Eagles have traded for two other Caldwell picks in Gardner Minshew and Josiah Scott.
  3. The Jags need help at wide receiver, and Jacksonville is a town when Reagor would face a lot less pressure to perform.

Well now I've sold myself on this move. Get it done, Howie.

Question from Budda: How much do you think Cincy will pay for a former first round "decent enough" LT? They obviously need to boost their OL, and being so close has to make it priority No. 1, 2, and 3.

So I've gotten a bunch of "Andre Dillard to the Bengals" questions of late, but I don't see that happening.

The one spot on their offensive line where the Bengals are in good shape is at LT, with Jonah Williams. The only spot Dillard can play is LT, so I don't see that as a match. 

I think the Bengals' needs are more along the interior of their line. Maybe they could find a use for Sua Opeta? (I only say that half-jokingly.)

Question from Pete: The Eagles have ~$20m in cap space, but how much more would you expect they have once players are cut / contracts are re-structured? is such a great NFL resource, and now they have a feature on their site that answers your question:

Question from Brian: Do you think Lane Johnson would get more national recognition if he didn’t have the suspensions? I don’t think he gets enough respect.

I agree that he doesn't get enough respect as one of the league's best players over the last near-decade. I'm not so sure it's the suspensions as much as it is the position he plays. For some reason there are still dinosaurs out there who think that LT is far more important than RT.

Question from zp412: Would JJAW have a better chance of making the team as a TE this year?

We did the "Should JJAW become a tight end" thing last offseason, and the reality is that's kind of what he was in 2021, even if he didn't line up as a traditional tight end. All he did was block. He played 170 snaps on offense and had 5 targets all season, 3 of which came in the meaningless game against the Cowboys.

I think he'll be back in training camp again, but in my opinion he's going to have to be an obvious standout to make the team. Last year he made the team after one good preseason game because they had so few other options at wide receiver. His bar for making the team should be much higher this year, and it's probably time to move on.

Question from Mig: Do you think Matt Corral hurt his draft stock by not going to the Senior Bowl?

He's an underclassman who had not yet graduated, and therefore was ineligible for compete at the Senior Bowl. He didn't skip it by choice.

Question from Ross: Are there any defenses out there that are dominant without a strong pass rush? Or does any good D these days start up front?

Typically, most great defenses are going to start with a dominant front, but the best recent example of an elite defense that was stronger on the back end were those Seahawks teams of the mid-teens, with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor in the secondary.

Question from Eagles1419: What in the world is this report I saw that the Eagles are in the market for Jimmy G from the Niners!?!? Say it ain’t so!

So I think you're referring to Albert Breer's MMQB column, where he wrote...

"It’s really hard to assess the trade value of Jimmy Garoppolo. The reason? We still don’t know which quarterbacks are going to be available. There’s a good group of suitors out there ready to take a major swing at the position (the Broncos, Eagles, Panthers and Commanders). And the fewer top-end guys—such as Wilson, Watson or Rodgers—are available, the greater Garoppolo’s value will become. So yes, the Niners will be trading him and turning to Trey Lance. But just what he brings back is less certain. (By the way, while we’re there, I wouldn’t put Sam Darnold or Carson Wentz in that category. Neither of those guys played well enough, and both are too costly, for another team to move any sort of real capital to get them. Or at least that’s how I see it.)"

That only mentions the Eagles as being ready to take a major swing "at the position." It doesn't say that they're specifically interested in Garoppolo, which they shouldn't be, since he's not really even a definitive upgrade over Jalen Hurts.

I wouldn't sweat that one.

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