Patrick Causey, on Twitter @pcausey3
The Philadelphia Eagles traded Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2017 first round pick and a 2018 fourth round pick. Here are some quick thoughts on the trade.
- Howie Roseman absolutely pillaged the Vikings in this deal.
Sam Hinkie was consistently able to take advantage of NBA teams in desperate situations. He traded Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel and a future 1st because the Pelicans were trying to finally make the playoffs with budding superstar Anthony Davis. Hinkie essentially traded cap space to the Kings for a future first, the right to swap picks for two seasons, and Nik Stauskas because the Kings were trying to clear cap space to sign free agents and appease Boogie Cousins. And Hinkie drafted, and then traded, Eflrid Payton to the Orlando Magic for Dario Saric and a future first round pick because he knew that the Magic wanted Payton badly.
Howie Roseman has taken a page right out of Hinkie’s playbook with this deal. The Vikings had quietly built up a young and dynamic team that had dreams of a deep playoff run. Those dreams seem dashed after Teddy Bridgewater suffered a gruesome knee injury during practice last week. Rather than sit idly by and hope Bridgewater could return next year 100% healthy, the Vikings made a panic trade to try to win now.
That the Eagles were able to get a first round pick for someone who has largely been — at best — a league average quarterback, is pretty incredible. Add in the 4th round pick which can become a third or second rounder, and this could go down as one of Roseman’s best moves to date.
But don’t make my word for it, consider reaction from around the league:
2. The trade offsets the high risk investment the Eagles made in trading up for Carson Wentz
The Eagles traded two firsts, a second, a third and fourth round pick to move up from the 8th pick to the 2nd overall to draft Carson Wentz. It was a significant risk given what we know about the success rates of first round quarterbacks (which, at last look, hovered around 40%).
But with this trade, the opportunity cost for acquiring Carson Wentz has become much more palpable:
And if we get creative and factor in the Dorial Green-Beckham for Dennis Kelly trade (DGB was a 2nd round pick, Kelly a 5th), this essentially means the Eagles traded a 3rd and 5th rounder to move up to draft Wentz.
So instead of Bradford, Kelly, a 3rd and a 5th round pick, the Eagles have Carson Wentz and Dorial Green-Beckham. Needless to say, Roseman deserves considerable praise for pulling this deal off.
3. Roseman continues to get the better of other NFL GMs in trades
I have been critical of Roseman in the past, but outside of the initial Wentz trade, Roseman has shown time and time again that he is able to get the better of NFL general managers in trades.
In just this offseason, Roseman was able to pull off the following:
- Trading Byron Maxwell (and his considerable contract) and Kiko Alonso to the Dolphins for the right to move up from the 13th pick to the 8th pick in the 1st round, which equates to the third pick in the third round, according to the Draft Value Chart.
- Swapping 4th round picks with the Titans for DeMarco Murray (and his considerable contract), which was approximately a 5th round pick according to the Draft Value Chart
- Trading Sam Bradford for a 1st and 4th round pick, with escalators to a 3rd or 2nd rounder
- Trading Dennis Kelly for Dorial Green-Beckham
Under almost any measure, Roseman got the better end of these deals. And when you consider that Roseman also acquired DeMeco Ryans for a 4th round pick and a swap of 3rd rounders and Darren Sproles for a 5th round pick, it’s hard to ignore Roseman’s track record. Simply put, he is one of the best general managers in the league at trades.
4. But Roseman needs to capitalize in the draft
While Roseman has excelled in trades, his track record in the draft since becoming the Eagles general manager in 2010 is spotty. I don’t try to parse through the “who is responsible for which pick” game, because unless you were in the draft room at the time the pick was made it is almost impossible to figure out.
But Roseman’s top picks as general manager is a mixed bag, at best. He absolutely knocked it out of the park with Fletcher Cox. Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Bennie Logan, Jason Kelce and Jordan Matthews were also very good picks.
But Roseman has also been in charge when the Eagles drafted Danny Watkins, Marcus Smith, Nate Allen, and Jaiquawn Jarrett. And although these players have turned out into solid starters, Roseman also had a hand in drafting Brandon Graham over Earl Thomas and Vinny Curry over Russell Wilson.
Even the best general managers miss, so we cannot demand perfection. And the initial returns on Wentz and Isaac Seumalo look promising. But the Eagles long term success is contingent on Roseman’s track record in the draft improving. And it starts next year, when the Eagles now have a first rounder and desperately need to infuse this team with young talent, especially now that it looks like Chip Kelly’s top two picks last year — Nelson Agholor and Eric Rowe — are not panning out.
5. The Eagles win total likely drops by a handful of games, but the season has become demonstrably more interesting to watch
Make no mistake, this is Carson Wentz’s team, a fact that Adam Caplan confirmed today:
This trade likely means the Eagles won’t be as competitive this year as we had hoped. Remember, Wentz has played one season of high school football, one and a half seasons of football at North Dakota State, and one half of a preseason game against 2nd and 3rd string competition. And until two days ago, Wentz was projected to be a third string quarterback with a year to work on his craft. Now, he has nine days to get ready to start in the NFL. The learning curve will be steep. Growing pains are to be expected. Mistakes like that red zone interception against the Bucs will occur, likely with a high level of frequency.
But, this might be the first trade in recent memory where it lowers a team’s ceiling but makes the fans more interested to watch. The long awaited future becomes the present. The hope for tomorrow is here today. Even though the Eagles won’t be as competitive, I would much rather spend this year watching Wentz’s maturation process than struggle through a mediocre season with Bradford at the helm.
And I’m especially excited to watch Wentz grow with his other weapons. Matthews and Ertz are firmly entrenched in the Eagles long term future. The quicker they can develop chemistry the better.
And this also gives us a chance to watch Wentz and DGB grow together. Can he and Wentz turn into the next great QB/WR tandem? Initially, DGB’s size will come in handy given Wentz’s habit of overthrowing his receivers. He should also become a favorite target in the redzone (hello fade route). But more importantly, this will accelerate the evaluation process of both prospects. The sooner the Eagles learn what they have in both players, the better.
6. This trade frees up much needed cap space for the Eagles next year
While the Eagles likely could have free up cap space through roster cuts and restructuring contracts, removing Bradford’s $17 million cap hit goes a long way towards resigning pending free agent Bennie Logan. As I have said repeatedly all offseason, I think Logan has a big year for the Eagles, so signing him should be a high priority.
The Eagles also have some complimentary pieces hitting the market that they might want to retain: Nolan Carroll, Trey Burton, Donnie Jones and Caleb Sturgis. Losing any one of these guys (or more) won’t kill the team, but roster continuity is a valuable commodity. This trade improves their odds of retaining some key contributors next year, which can only be viewed as a good thing.