As Ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said,”Life is flux”.
Meaning: change is inevitable. It’s the nature of life. Expect the unexpected.
The Philadelphia Eagles have personified outlook. In the blink of an eye, things have changed.
The Eagles agreed to trade the No. 6 and 156th overall (Cowboys’ fifth-round selection) picks to the Miami Dolphins for the 12th and 123rd overall picks and a 2022 first-round pick, the team announced early Friday afternoon.
This trade followed the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers game-changing draft trade, in which the Dolphins sent the 3rd overall pick to San Francisco in exchange for the 12th overall pick, 2022 first-and third-round picks and a 2023 first-round pick. Miami then used that 12th pick to trade up with the Eagles to no. 6 overall, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
On the surface, this seems like a bad move. But diving a bit deeper, the forward thinking of the organization becomes clear.
Many fans spent the majority of the 2020 Eagles campaign dreaming of possibly selecting Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts in April’s draft and it’s one-hundred percent warranted. Pitts and Chase are both extremely talented football players. There is one-hundred percent no denying that.
However, when you consider what and where the Philadelphia Eagles football team truly are as things currently stand, trading back and equipping more draft capital becomes a bit more plausible.
The Eagles roster is aging, expensive, and coming off a 4-win season. There are question marks all over the team.
By trading back, the Eagles have widened their range of outcomes. They have increased their optionality and flexibility in not only this upcoming draft, but in 2022 as well.
In the upcoming draft, the Eagles are tied for the most picks in the NFL draft with 11. In the 2022 NFL draft (if Carson Wentz plays 70% or 75% of snaps with the Colts) they will (most likely) have 3 first round picks. To have that many first round picks in the NFL draft is a treasure chest of assets.
The multiplicity and optionality created by this trade is an advantage that not many teams have.
This was a move that was one-hundred percent concerned with the future.
When you take into account, the fact that the Eagles will receive enormous cap relief, in the form of Carson Wentz’s deal being fully off the books in 2022, things start to appear somewhat practical. Their projected 2022 salary cap space has gone from around $40 million to around $71 million by moving Wentz.
Combine the financial burden that is now lifted with the draft capital they now have under their belt and the vision becomes much clearer when thinking about the future of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Depending on how the board falls, with four picks coming in the first three rounds of the 2021 draft, the Eagles now have enough wiggle room to possibly move up if a player they like falls in the 2021 draft as well.
With a new head coach and coaching staff that are predicated on maximizing the skills of the players on the roster, creating a wide-ranging influx of youth and talent is an indispensable path to undertake.
As stated, there is the allure of a player like Kyle Pitts or Ja’Marr Chase and it’s one-hundred percent understandable why fans would be somewhat irked. However, when you look at what this team is at this current time, trading back becomes a bit more perspicuous.
This deal gives the Eagles flexibility in back-to-back drafts, ensures that Jalen Hurts will at least get a year to audition and stake his claim to becoming the franchise quarterback of the team (which is very sensible considering a premium pick was invested into Hurts), and gives the Eagles the chance to acquire a ton of youth and talent over the next two years.
And if Hurts somehow proves that he isn’t capable of being the franchise quarterback, then the organization is well equipped to identify and either, draft or sign a guy who they think is capable of leading the franchise for the next 10-15 years at quarterback. But it’s all an option because of the draft capital acquired by Howie Roseman. This deal opens up a lot in the current and in the future.
Examining the state of the Eagles roster and how truly bare the roster is from a youth and talent standpoint, being able to equip the draft capital and optionality that they now have within their grasp, opens up a realm of possibilities and benefits. Of course, it ultimately comes down to the player personnel department and Howie Roseman hitting on these picks, but the capability to improve and build is there. It comes down to the execution and what the organization does with the latitude they’ve created.