June 21, 2023
It's essentially trade season across the sports world, with MLB's trade deadline fast approaching on August 1, the NBA and NHL offseasons in full swing, and the NFL heading into training camp.
All four local teams could be making splashy (or marginal) moves over the next few weeks, so here at PhillyVoice we went into armchair GM mode ourselves. We came up with three trades we think each of the Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, and Sixers should strongly consider making over the next few weeks.
One of them — admittedly — for each team will be a bit of a big swing. The other two we'll keep in the realistic category.
Today, we'll lay out scenarios for the Eagles as they try to repeat as NFC champions...
The Eagles get: 2024 sixth-round pick
The Patriots get: WR Quez Watkins, 2025 seventh-round pick
It was a bumpy third NFL season for Watkins in 2022. His numbers dropping after being relegated to the fourth option in the passing game after the acquisition of A.J. Brown was a predictable turn of events, but Watkins still didn't make the most of the limited opportunities he had. There was his costly fumble against Washington and, of course, his Super Bowl drop. Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts reiterated their trust in Watkins during OTAs and how hard he's worked this offseason, but things just feel off with him.
The Eagles brought in Olamide Zaccheaus this offseason and he offers a different skillset as a slot receiver compared to Watkins. Zaccheaus is shifty and a threat in the short game while Watkins is a vertical slot guy. I don't necessarily believe the Eagles need the latter in their offense because of the versatility of DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown where they can do everything, including being deep threats. I'm intrigued about what Zaccheaus could potentially bring to the passing attack.
If the Eagles like what they see from Zaccheaus and they want to get off Watkins' $2.8 million salary, a familiar trade partner with New England could make sense. If the Patriots strike out on DeAndre Hopkins and want to move towards a lesser wide receiver move, Watkins could be on their radar as quarterback Mac Jones tries to save his career.
The Eagles get: LB Patrick Queen
The Ravens get: 2024 fifth-round pick
An SEC linebacker who won a national championship? Fathers across the Delaware Valley are rejoicing at this idea.
Baltimore has declined the Queen's fifth-year option for 2024. After giving the bag to Roquan Smith, the Ravens likely didn't want to pour more big money into the linebacker position. For a team thin as always at LB, a rental for Queen for a Super Bowl run could be more enticing to Roseman rather than drafting another backer on Day 2 or handing out a big-money free agent deal.
In 2022, Queen had 117 combined tackles, two interceptions and five sacks. He's started every possible game of his NFL career.
It may be too early to just assume that Nakobe Dean can come in and be the Eagles' unquestioned No. 1 linebacker after playing just 34 defensive snaps during his rookie year. The team wants him to succeed and take this role, but I'm not quite sure he's ready. He has a sky-high football IQ, but I need to see how he adjusts to the physicality of the NFL. Bringing in Queen to be the "green dot" linebacker while having Dean be the No. 2 LB could be a nice pathway to having Dean be the top dog in 2024.
The Eagles get: S Budda Baker
The Cardinals get: 2025 third-round pick
Here's a mock trade that's been proposed ad nauseam at this point with the Cardinals' All-Pro safety having been linked to the Eagles all offseason. He hasn't hid the fact that he wants to play in Philly. A trade for Baker now rather than earlier in the offseason benefits Arizona, as this would be a post-June 1 trade, providing them with salary cap savings and flexibility.
The Eagles are currently entering training camp with a three-man battle for the two safety spots between Reed Blankenship, Terrell Edmunds and third-round rookie Sydney Brown. As of right now, I'd expect Blankenship and Edmunds to get the first-team reps when things kick off next month, but if the Eagles want to go big and throw their chips on the table in the hopes of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy again, Baker is the splashy move.
A lead secondary trio of Baker, Darius Slay and James Bradberry is the closest the Eagles will have come to the halcyon days of Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor.
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