We all sat and watched Carson Wentz stand tall like a giant, Mack Hollins use moves like WWE’s Kevin Owens, Derek Barnett show us he can ball, and the offensive line give their best impersonation of The Replacements.
We also watched Doug Pederson call some sweeps for his new
LeGarrette Philly Blount and try to use Donnel Pumphrey like Chip Kelly should have used DeMarco Murray [I am still trying to understand that pre-planning.]
At the end of the day, the Eagles’ first preseason game glaringly highlighted a weakness of this team, and something they failed to address in the offseason: get a cornerback who can play, and play now.
This is something the entire NFL had already known.
Howie Roseman has made somewhat of a legacy in this town for his shrewd deals and cap management, but his trades have always had everyone talking. However, when the entire league knows what you need, it kind of leaves you stuck paying premium for a position you should have put an emphasis on earlier. And that’s exactly what happened.
This brings me to today’s trade of the most consistent wide receiver on the Eagles roster, Jordan Matthews. Matthews was going into the last year of his contract, and rumors had been swirling for a while about him being shopped, but nothing was concrete until today. When the rumors were running rampant, I kept asking myself the following questions:
Do the Eagles have enough depth to recover from this move?
Has Nelson Agholor developed that much faith in the coaching staff that they are ready to anoint him the next slot guy?
With our two top receivers essentially on one-year deals, is it smart to move the only guy who has the most chemistry with your young franchise quarterback?
What happens next year if Agholor doesn’t work out, Jeffery and Smith don’t produce, and the longest-tenured receiver is Mack Hollins?
I think there is some validity to these questions and they need a proper answer.
The one constant on this team is Wentz, so why take away the security and chemistry of Matthews in the quarterback’s much important second year of development? Wentz attempted 607 passes last year, many of which he feared for his life given the line in front of him. As he was juking and ducking defensive foes, who was running across the flat to bail him out? Jordan Matthews. After he came across the middle and scored on his touchdown patterns, who was there to execute a properly scripted touchdown pose? Carson Wentz. Are you starting to see a pattern?
Forgive me for not tooting Roseman’s horn for taking the one player who went stride-for-stride with Wentz in his first year. Sure, we got Ronald Darby, a very good cornerback, in return to help with another big problem, but who’s responsible for that problem? Trading for Darby doesn’t mean this situation couldn’t have been avoided.
Furthermore, if Roseman wouldn’t have drafted a cornerback who’s going to be on the shelf virtually all season and didn’t extend a defensive end who will never live up to his contract, this scenario could have a much different ending. If the situation differs, the Eagles could have been in the market for a top corner in the offseason and still grabbed Barnett.
I’m still sticking to my original opinion in that the Birds had too many other areas of need and weren’t in a position to just draft and wait. We also don’t even know if Sidney Jones can return from his injury and be the same player he was before. It’s always a question. It’s also a little premature to think he’ll just become that top cornerback with no effects from his injury.
Taking into account everyone displeasure for J-Matt’s ability to catch and toe-tap, he still developed a rapport that cannot be underestimated with a first-year quarterback.
Roseman attempted to explain his reasoning for trading Matthews today in a press conference. He said some things that I questioned, so below are some of his quotes from the presser and what I think he means below.
“Jordan Matthews, since the day we drafted him is an unbelievable teammate/worker, and is incredibly productive. Hard to pull the trigger on that kind of player and person.”
When he started talking about wanting an extension and/or looking at the numbers, we knew we had no money to pay him.
“In giving up a draft pick to get Darby, we felt since he was under team control for two years it was a good move for our secondary to grow together.”
Only time will tell if Sidney Jones will be able to perform at a top level and the trust we have in ourselves to draft good defensive backs is fading. This now takes the picking out of our hands.
“Jordan is a free agent in 2018 and we can sign any free agent available.”
Alshon is already banged up and we still do not know if Nelson can play against a real NFL starting lineup.
“When you look at corner play throughout the NFL, we have studies that say it’s the highest injury plagued position on the field, you know you’re going to need a bunch of cornerbacks to play.”
I know I didn’t do enough to get some good cornerbacks in here, so know I have to give away my most consistent wide receiver on the roster in order to stop the bleeding.
All things considered, the Eagles made a move they felt like they had to make. I just don’t agree with the pieces that formulated the transaction. They came into this season with a question mark on the outside and the problem became bigger as training camp went on. My problem is, the move, if made months ago, would have cost you a few threads off the safety blanket instead of the entire layout!
Lesson learned, Howie, lesson learned.
As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23) for questions or some nice fantasy debates. I can also be heard weekly via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00pm EST for a weekend sports wrap. But most importantly, you can catch me here at Pi!