Howie Roseman can only go so long before making another shocking move. The Eagles general manager has already had a busy offseason, bringing in new talent with lofty one year contracts and shocking blockbuster trades. But on Saturday afternoon, Roseman added more chaos to the post-Chip Kelly rebuild by sending wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for cornerback Ronald Darby.
Darby, a former second round draft choice, is entering his third NFL season. In his first two years with Buffalo, he racked up 121 total tackles and two interceptions. Darby may not be a ball-hawk, but his speed and coverage ability will make him the number one corner on a team bereft of talent on the outside. If new teammate Jalen Mills continues to build off of his rookie year success, the Eagles could have an exceptional cornerback pair this season.
However, the Eagles paid a high price to acquire Darby. Jordan Matthews was the team’s top wide receiver last year, and he racked up 225 catches in his first three seasons, a team record. Not to mention the third-round pick, which now leaves the Eagles without a second-round and third-round pick for the 2018 NFL Draft. Even so, Matthews is certainly the bigger loss. Quarterback Carson Wentz, one of Matthews’ best friends, told Philly.com that the trade was “tough [to deal with].”
Had this trade been done last season, the Eagles offense would be left with no quality wide receivers. But Roseman’s offseason moves added more offensive weapons, giving him the ability to shop Matthews in search of a top corner. While Wentz may have lost a friend, he’ll still have plenty of options on offense this season. Former Pro-Bowl wide receiver Alshon Jeffery signed a one year deal with the team this year, and he should be Wentz’s top target if he can avoid the injuries that have stalled his career. The Eagles have also brought in veteran Torrey Smith and rookie Mack Hollins to address the receiver position. As for tight end, Zach Ertz and Trey Burton have been great in training camp so far. If Ertz can finally live up to expectations, the Eagles passing game should be smooth in 2017.
The Eagles front office put themselves in a position to trade assets this season, and they cashed in to get Ronald Darby. Their moves this year cushioned their losses while filling in their biggest hole.
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