It wasn’t something we’d consider throwing in the category of ‘earth-shattering’, but it probably wasn’t something we saw coming either. The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t make waves per se, but they definitely skipped a rock across the pond that made a few waves in what had previously been some very still water.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside may have extended his shelf life in the midnight green… for now. It’s been announced that he’ll convert to tight end from wide receiver. Two things have to be mentioned though.
One, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee him a job. He still has to compete for the right to be in 2022’s team photo.
The Birds also have Noah Togiai, Jack Stoll, Richard Rodgers, Tyree Jackson, and Dallas Goedert on the roster at the tight end position. Conventional thinking would probably lead most of us to the same train of thought.
Philly figures to carry three tight ends on the 53-man roster in 2022. Goedert is a lock to make the squad which means five guys are competing for two spots.
The second thing to think about is this. JJAW’s been shown some favoritism to some degree. He’s survived at least the last two final roster cuts at the end of the 2020 and 2021 preseason mostly because of where he was selected, during Round 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Come on. Let’s be honest. He isn’t still here because of his performance, so maybe we should resign ourselves to believing he’ll stick around?
While you’re mulling that one over, here’s something else for fodder. Recently, his name came up in a draft-day trade scenario, and in all honesty folks, this one still makes sense regardless of the news of his recent aforementioned position switch.
What if the Eagles shipped JJ Arcega-Whiteside off to Pittsburgh?
In a recent, well-thought-out pre-draft story, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell cooked up a mock that featured trade ideas for each of the first 32 selections. At the 18th, he has the Birds trading back to 29 and giving up the 18th selection to the Kansas City Chiefs. Philly gets another second-rounder in 2022, the 62nd-overall selection next year, to sweeten the deal.
At 15, Barnwell sees Philly dealing that selection and JJAW to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for the 20th-overall selection and another second-rounder selection in 2023. Barnwell’s story preceded the announcement of Arcega-Whiteside’s position switch, but truthfully, it could still work.
Pittsburgh is sort of the anti-Philly. They develop their wide receivers, and they could use some help there now. This would also give the Birds extra early-round draft capital and Arcega-Whiteside a fresh start. This truly benefits both sides.
If this were to happen, the Steelers could keep JJAW at tight end. They could also move him back to his natural position at wideout. Remember, they’ve signed Anthony Miller to a futures deal. They’ve also added Rico Bussey and Tyler Vaughns, but they lost JuJu Smith-Schuster. He plays for the Kansas City Chiefs now.
This trade could also put Pittsburgh in a position to land the quarterback they want if that’s their play in Round 1 (it’s highly possible). Currently, the New Orleans Saints hold the 16th and 19th selections, and they could be in the market for a signal-caller as well.
Don’t be shocked if you see the Steelers striking a deal on the first night of the draft to move ahead of New Orleans to prevent the Saints from snatching the prospect they may have wanted from right under their noses. It’s a theory we’ve examined here on Inside The Iggles before, and it’s for that reason that we can see where Barnwell’s theory comes from. This is a trade that, again, could pay dividends for the Eagles and Steelers.
Keep this one in the back of your minds. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.