The Hypocrisy of the Eagles Potentially Trading for Mariota


Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) walks off the field after losing to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has always been a man of the moment. His catchphrase of “Win the Day” is now symbolic at the University of Oregon, a motto adapted into a lifestyle for the radically-uniformed PAC 12 school. In 2015, he’s the definitive leader of the Eagles personnel department, and therefore the final sign-off for any move involving players.

Prior to Week 17’s meaningless matchup vs. the New York Giants, Kelly stated that he was playing to win. Draft repercussions be damned (with a loss, the Eagles would have ended up picking 17th as a result of other games that day), his team was going to win ten games in a row for the second straight year.

Despite the opportunity to gain film on lesser-experienced players on the roster, the Eagles trotted out their starters. Well, the Eagles did win, and rode their moral victory high into the sunset with nothing to show for it in the end but hollow emptiness of what could have been if only for [insert positions that didn’t stay healthy/play better].

It’s that same short-sightedness that makes a potential Draft move for his former quarterback, Marcus Mariota, such an inconceivable option to me.

It’s not the act of making a trade itself that I disagree with, which certainly fits into his desire to maximize every minute (in this case, the first day of the NFL Draft), but moreso the ramifications of the deal.

Let’s go with the most recent trade scenario with the New York Jets proposed by the NY Daily News. Here’s how the trade would go down, in theory:

"PHI sends: 2015 First Round Pick (20th), 2015 Second Round Pick (52nd), 2016 First Round Pick, 2016 Second Round Pick, QB Nick FolesNYJ sends:2015 First Round Pick (6th)"

Breaking this trade down even further shows a forgotten fact reminiscent of the Washington Redskins trade from sixth overall to second for Robert Griffin III. Technically speaking, the Eagles would only lose three picks in the deal, since they’ll still have a 2015 first round pick. 

So the Eagles make this deal, and ideally land their quarterback of the future. The league is buzzing, and we’ll finally get to see the match made in heaven, a Ducks reunion for the ages. Mariota is tailor-made for the Eagles system, as anyone with a pulse will tell you (not like Michael Vick was in 2013 though, this guy really is!)

The hypocrisy comes in when you factor in that right now, the 2016 NFL Draft is over a year away. It’s extremely easy to get lost in how far away that is, but it becomes reality sooner than you expect. At that point, the Eagles would be assessing the latest and greatest gaping holes they got blindsided with (see 2014: OL, ILB, CB, and even QB)…but they don’t have the ammunition to do anything about it until the third round at earliest.

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Let’s attempt not to be naïve and believe that drafting Mariota would put Philadelphia in a state of perpetual happiness where any future roster holes will be absolved because they traded up the year before. This is the same city that agonizes over final roster cuts like they’re all future Hall of Famers (I’m guilty of it myself). There will be a new problem, a new must-fix, just like there is every year.

Look at the Buffalo Bills in the 2015 NFL Draft. While it’s the right thing to do from a fan perspective to stand by the team and salute them for drafting Sammy Watkins in 2014, was it something absolutely necessary for them to trade up and lose part of their future? To get him specifically, maybe. To get a talented player that could help their roster while preserving picks, no.

As not to have this appear overly eager to jump on the negative side, it’s important to understand that there’s no guarantee that the Eagles would hit on any picks if they kept them to begin with. For those in favor of the move, I don’t ask to change your mind about it. Marcus Mariota is a fantastic player, one who could very easily put a good team over the top in time. I have no doubts that he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL, nor do I disagree that his best chance for success is with the Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s the willingness to sacrifice high picks in the future for a team with many questions that has me on the fence. It’s certainly a “Win the Day” move for the 2015 NFL Draft, a bold one at that. The question becomes whether Chip Kelly is willing to accept that he’ll have made his bed, for better or worse, when he’s twiddling his thumbs in boredom while the picks fly by in the 2016 NFL Draft. If this trade happens, he won’t have much of a choice.

Next: Emerging: Two Philadelphia Eagles Players in 2015