May 29, 2018
The 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone. So has free agency. So has the second wave of free agency after the draft. OTAs have already begun, and we're almost into June. As such, Howie Roseman is probably done wheeling and dealing, right?
Nah, probably not. Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles made five trades in between Memorial Day and the start of the 2017 season.
In 2016, they made three trades during that same time frame.
Here are four players I can see the Eagles being willing to deal this offseason.
Should we rehash the advantages and disadvantages of trading Nick Foles here again? For the sake of being thorough, what the hell.
As you're all aware, the Eagles' starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, tore his ACL Week 14 of the regular season. Yep, it's true. While he continues to recover from that injury, there are questions (a) as to whether he'll be ready to return for Week 1 of the regular season, and (b) his ability to stay on the field whenever he does return.
As you're also probably aware, Foles led the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory and subsequent parade down Broad Street last season after Wentz got hurt. That boosted Foles' brand a tad.
The Eagles already know they can win with Foles (obviously), so there's no need to rush Wentz back onto the field, if you're not certain he's back to 100 percent health. Foles affords the Eagles the luxury of taking their time with Wentz, without sacrificing the 2018 season. There is high value in that.
Of course, there are pretty good reasons why trading him makes a lot of sense as well.
• The Eagles only made five picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. They had as little draft capital as they've had in a draft in recent memory. As such, they were unable to restock their pipeline of young players the same way they would have been able to in a draft with a full slate of picks. Players on their rookie contracts are cheap. With little wiggle room under the cap and a large Wentz extension looming on the horizon, the Eagles need all the young, cheap labor they can get. A high draft pick in 2019 would help a lot.
• Even with a re-worked deal, it remains highly likely Foles will be a free agent after the 2018 season. If the Eagles were to trade him now, they'd likely get a high draft pick in return rather than lose him for potentially nothing more than a possible compensatory pick (late third round, at best) next offseason.
• A trade of Foles would free up additional money in 2018, which they could roll over into 2019. That money could go toward other important matters, like the aforementioned Wentz extension that can happen after the 2018 season.
The Eagles reportedly turned down an offer from the Browns for the 35th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. If some team who thinks they're a contender were to lose their quarterback during training camp or the preseason, Roseman could potentially pull off another Sam Bradford type of trade with that desperate team. I would imagine those discussions would start with a first round pick.
There are three running backs who are locks to make the Eagles' roster. They are Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles. The remaining spot will likely be won by one of four players. They are Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, Matt Jones, and undrafted free agent Josh Adams.
After Darren Sproles tore his ACL early last season, Smallwood took over as the starting running back for one game, and then missed two games with an injured knee. He returned to the lineup for three games, before the the Eagles traded for Ajayi, essentially ending Smallwood's season. He would remain on the inactive list the rest of the season, with the exception of the Eagles' meaningless Week 17 game against Dallas.
The Eagles wouldn't get much for Smallwood. Perhaps another player who has fallen out of favor on some other roster?
A year ago, after an encouraging rookie season, Seumalo was being thought of as a long-term replacement for Jason Kelce at center. Now? Not so much. Kelce was arguably the best center in the league last year and is now a Philadelphia legend, while Seumalo was a rare disappointment on a Super Bowl winning team full of overachievers.
Seumalo has already played five different positions (LG, C, RG, RT, TE) in his two years in the NFL, and is the type of versatile offensive lineman smart teams covet. With so many teams around the league in desperate need of offensive line help, Some team out there might find it worth parting with a mid-to-late round pick for Seumalo.
Darby is in the final year of his contract, while the rest of the Eagles' corners have at least two years remaining on their deals. If he plays with more consistency in 2018, he is going to be very difficult for the team to afford next offseason. If he falters, then the team won't want him. Either way, it feels likely that he won't be an Eagle in 2019 and beyond. Rather than let Darby walk next offseason for nothing more than the possibility of a 2020 comp pick, it might make sense for them to trade him now.
Before the Eagles ever consider trading Darby, they'd need to see a lot both from Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox. If they believe that Jones and Maddox are legitimate NFL corners who can go in and be good players in 2018, then they would feel good about four of their corners – Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Jones, and Maddox.
That might be enough to deal Darby. It might not. If some team (ideally a bad one) offered a third round pick in the 2019 draft for Darby, the Eagles might jump on that.
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