Eagles Wake-Up Call: Trade Talk, Division Outlook
To submit your mailbag question, fill out the form at the bottom of this post. Today, we’re answering a few quick-hitters from Dylan Csakany.
What would it take for you to trade Fletcher Cox?
For me to trade Cox, presumably in the context of moving up in the draft, I would have to be convinced of one of two things: I’m getting a franchise quarterback in return, or there’s no shot at retaining Cox long term. I’m not confident enough that Carson Wentz or Jared Goff will turn into a franchise quarterback, and I think the Eagles will sign Cox to an extension at some point this year.
I’ve written before about how it’s almost impossible to give up too much for a franchise quarterback, and I wouldn’t hesitate to part ways with Cox over an Andrew Luck-type prospect. But we’re not talking about Luck, or anyone who’s even close to him as a prospect, which is why I wouldn’t trade Cox for anyone in this year’s draft.
Early prediction: Who wins the NFC East this year?
My way-too-early prediction for the division race, in order:
- New York
That’s contingent on Tony Romo staying healthy, of course, but I don’t think there’s much room separating each team. I’m not quite sold on Kirk Cousins yet, and although the Giants’ spending spree will certainly improve their 30th-ranked defense last season (in terms of points allowed), I also classify them as a “prove it” team.
Given all of the changes the Eagles have made, it’s challenging to say with certainty how they’ll fare. It’s unclear what they’re going to get from their quarterback and head coach, or how their offensive line will hold up. One reason, however, I wouldn’t count them out of the division race: the defense. I think Jim Schwartz will do a good job coaching a talented unit, and it’ll be fun to see this defensive line in an attacking 4-3.
But, hey, I also said the Eagles would win the division last year, so maybe this is a positive sign for Pederson & Co.
What do you think will happen if the Eagles draft Wentz or Goff with the first pick, but Sam Bradford has an outstanding year and takes us to the conference championship?
I have no idea what the Eagles’ plan would be in this dream scenario for them, but I’d trade Wentz/Goff. If Bradford convinces you he’s a franchise quarterback, you retain him no matter what. Pay him whatever he wants. Send him flowers on Valentine’s Day. And try to get something in return for your 2016 first-round pick, because he’ll eventually leave in free agency or see his value depreciate as he warms the bench season after season.
Over/under on Jordan Matthews having 1,300 receiving yards this year?
I’m taking the under. While I think Matthews may have been underselling his role a bit this year when he identified Zach Ertz as a “focal point” in the offense while not mentioning himself, 1,300 is a high bar. Last season, when Matthews finished three yards shy of 1,000, that total would’ve ranked eighth in the NFL, ahead of guys like A.J. Green, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson.
Jeremy Maclin led Chiefs receivers in snaps in 2015 with 83 percent, while Dwayne Bowe did so with about 78 percent the previous two seasons. Both guys missed one game during the years they lead Kansas City’s wideouts in playing time, so it seems reasonable to think Matthews will be on the field — percentage-wise — more than last year, when he played 79 percent of the Eagles’ snaps. However, his total number of snaps may still decrease because Chip’s pace is gone, and Pederson won’t get off as many plays.
I am interested to see, though, how Matthews performs on the outside as Pederson will almost certainly move Matthews around more than Chip did.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Asher’s NFC East roundup on how the Rams-Titans trade impacts the Cowboys and who the likely draft picks are for the Eagles’ division rivals.
“Don’t let the change in the facts change the narrative. The Philadelphia Eagles have been very interested in selecting a quarterback in the 2016 NFL draft. They still are.” Weekend Reading.
See who is being mocked to the Eagles in our latest Mock Draft Roundup.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jimmy Kempski digs into the Eagles’ draft options at quarterback.
The Rams have decided to be coy about which quarterback they are planning on drafting. Some reports have said it will be Wentz. Others insist it will be Goff.
The Eagles could still be in the mix for Wentz or Goff, but that would of course require cooperation from the Cleveland Browns, who are sitting in the No. 2 overall spot. The Eagles could still opt to try to trade up with Cleveland, or hope the Browns pass on the leftover quarterback and patiently wait for that player to fall to a less costly trade-up spot.
Another option could be to simply draft Memphis’ Paxton Lynch with the eighth overall pick, assuming three quarterbacks aren’t taken in the top 7, or they could draft a quarterback in a later round.
Tommy Lawlor looks at the same topic.
I remember being at the Senior Bowl in 2012. Both Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins had the presence of starting QBs. This is a mixture of confidence and awareness. You want to be confident, but not arrogant. You also know you’re “The Man”. That means treating others around you a certain way.
QBs are leaders by default. They run the huddle. They have all eyes on them, whether on or off the field. Good QBs have presence, where they come across as natural leaders and being comfortable in the spotlight.
Carson Wentz passed this test in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. He might have been a kid from North Dakota State, but if you took the helmet off him you would have guessed he was a 4-year starter at USC, Notre Dame or Alabama. He knew he was the Big Dog at the Senior Bowl this year and projected that vibe. But not in a cocky way.
This is a big selling point for Wentz in my book.
We’ll talk to Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman at 10.
Asher Dark contributed to this post.