One of the biggest Philadelphia Eagles story lines that caught my interest this past weekend didn’t pertain to the new players that were selected in this year’s 2014 NFL Draft, but instead was the move of trading running back Bryce Brown to the Buffalo Bills by general manager Howie Roseman. The actual trade that occurred was a little more complex than what was originally reported.
The Eagles sent Bryce Brown and this year’s 7th round pick (#237 overall) to Buffalo. In exchange, Buffalo sent their 7th round pick (#224 overall) and a future draft selection that will be based on a myriad of things.
On day two of the NFL Draft, Buffalo sent wide receiver Stevie Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional 3rd or 4th round pick in 2015’s draft. If Johnson hits the incentives laid out in that trade, the Bills will receive the 49ers’ 2015 3rd round pick. If Johnson does not meet that criteria set in their trade, San Francisco will give Buffalo a 2015 4th rounder. That 2015 4th round pick originally from San Francisco could then become the Eagles. If Stevie Johnson goes out and has a career year with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and hits those trade escalators, then the Bills would land the 49ers’ 2015 3rd rounder which would not be sent to the Eagles. The Eagles would then receive either Buffalo’s 2016 3rd or 4th round pick depending on whether Bryce Brown reaches his own set of trade-day incentives or not.
A little complex indeed. To summarize, the Eagles traded away Bryce Brown and their 2014 7th round pick to acquire the Bills’ 2014 7th round pick and one of the following:
– SF 2015 4th Rd pick if Stevie Johnson fails to meet his trade-day incentives
-BUF 2016 3rd Rd pick if Bryce Brown meets his trade-day incentives
-BUF 2016 4th Rd pick if Bryce Brown fails to meet his trade-day incentives
The details for both Stevie Johnson and Bryce Brown reaching specific yards, snap count, catches/carries, etc. have yet to be released, but Eagles fans should be hoping for a sub-par year for Johnson and an outstanding one for Brown who has shown a penchant for providing the big play.
When running back LeSean McCoy was sidelined with a concussion for two weeks in 2012, Bryce Brown broke into the national spotlight rushing for 347 yards and four touchdowns. His three lost fumbles put a slight hamper on his otherwise impressive performance, but Brown showed he had a place in this league. Unfortunately, Brown had a less than impressive first year while playing for head coach Chip Kelly. He tried bouncing his runs to the outside continuously and ended up running for a loss or no gain on 15 of his 75 carries last season. The Eagles made Brown expendable after trading a 5th round draft choice for former New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles. Sproles is a shifty running back capable of making defenders miss in the open field and is not that far removed from his 2011 campaign where he led the league in all-purpose yards. The Eagles still have running back Chris Polk as well who made big plays garnering 8.9 yards per carry last year, albeit on just 11 carries.
Bryce Brown has already shown he can be an productive back in the NFL, but has yet to reach his full potential. For Howie Roseman to get the most out of a player with debatable value around the league is nothing short of spectacular. The Eagles were able to get an excellent return on a player who may have been third or fourth on the depth chart this year. The Eagles used their 7th round pick from this trade on nose tackle Beau Allen who should provide immediate depth behind last year’s third rounder nose tackle Bennie Logan. Landing a 2015/16 fourth round pick with the potential of it becoming a 2016 third round pick is what make this move brilliant.