According to a report by Mark Eckel of NJ.com, the Philadelphia Eagles are discussing a three-team trade that would bring head coach Chip Kelly’s precious Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota to the City of Brotherly Love. The report has the Eagles dealing with both the Cleveland Browns and the Tennessee Titans to ultimately reunite Mariota with his former coach.
Here’s how Eckel has the three-team deal going down:
"One rumor, making its rounds in NFL personnel meetings, has the Eagles dealing Bradford to the Browns for the 19th overall pick. It’s been widely reported that the Browns offered that 19th pick to the St. Louis Rams for Bradford before the Rams traded him to the Eagles for Nick Foles and a 2016 second-round pick. Despite reports that Bradford, in the final year of his contract, would not sign an extension with Cleveland, the Browns are said to still have interest.The Eagles would then send picks Nos. 19 and 20, along with Cox and Kendricks to the Tennessee Titans for the No. 2 pick Philly would use to select Mariota."
I may be in the minority here but I really hate the idea of this trade. Many would be ecstatic because this would mean Kelly got “his guy” and the team would have a potential franchise quarterback. But that cost is just too much for me to get on board with.
Cox is one of the best defensive linemen in the entire league, he’s the foundation of the Eagles’ defense. Although it obviously isn’t the best defense in the league, Cox is the main reason why the unit is even somewhat formidable. Losing Kendricks wouldn’t be such a big deal because the team already traded for linebacker Kiko Alonso earlier this offseason. Alonso, if healthy, could certainly be just as good, if not better, than Kendricks was in Philadelphia.
In 2014, Cox ranked as the fifth best 3-4 defensive end behind players such as J.J. Watt, Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Calais Campbell, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). But he ranked second overall in quarterback hurries at the position with 39, behind only Watt, the 2014 AP Defensive Player of the Year.
Losing Cox would be huge…no pun intended. He’s the cornerstone of the team’s defense and although they haven’t exercised his fifth year option yet or discussed a long term extension, he’s a rare player that should be kept around in midnight green.
On the other hand, losing Bradford would basically be meaningless. He has just a year remaining on his contract and the Eagles would save a ton of money by letting him go as well as bringing in a replacement in Mariota, with much more upside. But that’s the only part of this trade that I actually like. Too bad there is much more involved, you know, like making an already mediocre defense much worse.
Sure, the Eagles and Kelly would have “their guy” but what’s he going to do when the team’s defense may be the worst unit in the league. The biggest strength of that unit was their run defense and Cox was the main reason for that. So now they’ll have a defense that can’t stop the pass or the run, that sounds great, doesn’t it?
Luckily, Benjamin Allbright, host of 94.1 FM Denver who has been on a roll this offseason with numerous reports around the NFL, threw some water on the flames with this tweet:
All in all, if you account for what the Eagles initially gave up for Bradford, would this trade really be that appealing to you? We’re talking a total package that includes the following, just for Mariota:
– 2015 1st round pick
– 2016 2nd round pick
– DE Fletcher Cox
– LB Mychal Kendricks
– QB Sam Bradford
Could you really get on board with such a deal for just one player? I know I couldn’t. In all likelihood this is just another rumor that will be swept under the rug in a day or two, or even in a couple of hours. But you know the saying, “where there’s smoke, there is fire,” and there has been a whole lot of smoke surrounding the Eagles and Mariota. Although it could be from all the hot takes as well.
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