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September 04, 2016

What they’re saying: Roseman, Eagles get high marks for Bradford trade

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On Saturday at the NovaCare Complex, Howie Roseman did his best Sam Hinkie impression (or was Hinkie doing a Roseman impression all this time?) when he spoke of trying to find a trade that benefits both sides. No general manager is going to publicly crow about ripping off a fellow decision maker, but you can tell that Roseman (like Hinkie) is proactive in combating that narrative.

“So you look for win-win opportunities when you make these trades,” Roseman said. “You want to have relationships with people where you can go back and make trades that are good for both teams. We are hopeful that it works out for both sides.”

There is a reason Roseman speaks in this manner: In general, the guy seems to make pretty good trades.

Overall, Roseman and the Eagles received high marks nationally for the deal that sent Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings. On the other hand, the Vikings’ decision to surrender a first-round pick for a quarterback with a spotty track record was much more controversial. The Vikings are taking on almost all of the risk, as they want Bradford to help them compete this season.

Even so, Roseman could be right about the win-win opportunity. Minnesota is in a tough spot with Teddy Bridgewater’s injury, because they have an excellent roster that is ready to win now. If Bradford can even give them average quarterback play, they might have a shot to contend.

This was a trade by two teams at very different stages. With the Eagles already committed long-term to Carson Wentz and much further away from contention, acquiring the valuable future asset for a guy that didn’t matter all that much here is a move that everyone can get behind.

Well, almost everyone:

Over at ESPN (Insider only), Mike Sando gave the Eagles an A for the move, drawing on past example of “QB hoarders” to show why Roseman’s confusing handling of the position always had an upside:

We can't give the Eagles credit for knowing another team would find itself desperate for a starting quarterback as the season approached, but we can credit them for knowing a team can't go wrong investing heavily in the game's most important position. Great general managers such as Ron Wolf have preached for years the need to continually add quarterbacks. Former Wolf underlings Ted Thompson and John Schneider followed this advice famously, leading them to draft Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, respectively, even though neither team needed a starter at the time.

Also at ESPN (but not Insider), Bill Barnwell wasn’t too crazy about the haul that Roseman initially forked over to trade up for Wentz. If you combine the two moves, the price looks much more reasonable:

Most NFL teams would happily pay $11 million for a mid-first round pick if they had the opportunity. (In fact, I wonder whether a team like the Browns might think about signing a veteran quarterback each offseason in the future for the sole intent of trading them in August.) The selection is even more valuable for the Eagles, who are pick-starved after the deal to trade up and grab Wentz. Their first-round pick in 2017, now the property of Cleveland, is likely to be more valuable than the one they've acquired from Minnesota, but to keep things simple, let's cancel out those two 2017 first-round picks and the fourth-rounder they sent in 2016 for the fourth-rounder they're getting from Minnesota.

What do we make of the Eagles’ outlook this year? As The Ringer’s Robert Mays writes, the downgrade from Bradford to Wentz or Chase Daniel has the chance to hurt the Eagles this year:

The Eagles’ outlook for this fall wasn’t all that bright with Bradford, but without him it’s even dimmer. I went to Missouri from 2006 to ’10, so Daniel is responsible for an embarrassing percentage of my favorite football moments, but as a quarterback, if he’s the answer, you’re probably asking the wrong question. That’s why it isn’t shocking to see the Eagles speed up their timeline with Wentz, who will reportedly start in Week 1 if healthy. The learning curve for Wentz should be steep, and if first-year head coach Doug Pederson’s team does crater and finish with one of the worst records in the league, handing the Browns — as a result of the Wentz trade — a pick in or near the top five of the 2017 draft is going to hurt. By grabbing a first-rounder, even one likely to be further down the board, that blow is softened a bit.

If the Eagles are really bad, they won’t even have their own high draft pick. As CBS Sports’ John Breech touched on, the Cleveland Browns front office was almost certainly in favor of this deal:

That 2017 first-round pick is a big deal, because that's where the Browns could win big. With Bradford no longer in Philly, that means the starting quarterback for the Eagles this season is either going to be Chase Daniel or Carson Wentz, two players who have started a combined two games in their NFL careers.

If you've been following the NFL for any amount of time, then you're probably well aware that starting a quarterback with no experience is generally a recipe for disaster in Year 1.

PFF’s Steve Palazzolo thinks Wentz might struggle this season, but he believes the quarterback has a very high ceiling:

Wentz is a work in progress, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he struggled if forced into action this season, but as colleague Sam Monson wrote during the draft process, Wentz has “jackpot” potential if he reaches his ceiling. It certainly makes sense for the long-term strength of the franchise to pave the way to build around Wentz, regaining a first-round pick that they had to give up in order to trade up for Wentz in the process.

To finish this post off, we go to Minnesota for the Vikings perspective. Mark Craig, the Star Tribune’s Vikings writer, believes Pat Shurmur played a big part in convincing Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman that Bradford was worth going after:

The negotiations began Friday night and intensified — but only because of new tight ends coach Pat Shurmur, who coached Bradford in St. Louis and in Philadelphia. It was Shurmur who convinced the organization that Bradford had the intelligence and the work ethic to learn Norv Turner’s offense quickly.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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