clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Philadelphia Eagles Did Not Mortgage Their Future

New, comments

I hereby pledge my faith and allegiance to the Philadelphia Eagles football franchise, until I die.

Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles inexplicably did what they could not do last year, move from the planet Mars to the second overall position in the draft, where they expect Carson Wentz to land.  The cost of doing so was steep, causing many to accuse the Eagles of mortgaging their future, especially given this year’s talent pool at quarterback.  However, Roseman may have orchestrated all of this in a manner that still maintains the sustainability of the franchise’s future.

When determining the value of the Eagles move to the second overall pick, we have to consider three things: possible future outcomes, the transactions that impacted the move, and the method for evaluation.

There are three primary outcomes:  the worst case, the best case, and the most likely.  The worst case scenario involves the Eagles going 0-16 and the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl.  The best case scenario is the opposite extreme: the Eagles winning the Super Bowl and the Browns going 0-16.  The most likely outcome, however, is somewhere in the middle.

It can be easy to forget all of the transactions that directly impacted the move.  The Eagles first moved from the thirteenth position to the eighth by trading Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso (and their respective salaries) to the Miami Dolphins.  The Eagles also traded DeMarco Murray (and his salary) and their thirteenth pick in the fourth round to the Tennessee Titans for the second pick in the fourth round (100th overall).  These were pre-requisite trades without which the Eagles would not have been able to move to number two overall.

The method of evaluation is a bit tricky, especially in the short term, but it can be done by a series of proxies: the currently accepted draft value chart, Chase Stuart’s (Football Perspective) version of the draft value chart, and 2015 rookie salaries.

Worst Case Scenario

In the worst case scenario, the sum of draft pick values is squarely in the favor of the Cleveland Browns, as they should be.  The difference in values is equivalent to the third overall pick in the draft:

Worst Case Draft Value

Best Case Scenario

The sum of draft pick values in the best case scenario is more in favor of the Eagles.  If they were to win the Super Bowl, they would gain value in the move up to the second overall pick, equivalent to a mid-second rounder:

Best Case Draft Value

Most Likely Scenario

It’s more likely that reality will end up somewhere in between.  If we look primarily at the value of future draft picks in the middle rounds, the move up to two is more palatable.  The Eagles still lose value, but it’s relatively small, equivalent to a mid-third round pick:

Most Likely Draft Value

Chase Stuart’s draft value model, which considers player performance at each draft position, is a bit bearish on the Eagles’ move.  Here, the Eagles lose value equivalent to the eighth overall pick in the draft:

Most Likely CS

Lastly, if we use 2015 rookie wages as a proxy for most likely value, which is fairly reasonable since the first two picks in the draft were also quarterbacks, the Eagles lose value equivalent to a mid-second round pick:

Most Likely Rookie Wage

What is lost in the value comparisons above is the fact that Roseman traded three players and their contracts, moves that potentially offset (to varying degrees) any loss in draft pick value.  It’s important to note, too, that these transactions have not significantly impacted the number of selections the Eagles will make in the next three drafts:

2016 – 7 selections (no second, no fourth; two fifths, two sevenths)

2017 – 7 selections (no first, two fourths)

2018 – 6 selections (no second)

Although quality of talent may be sacrificed, quantity is not, thanks largely in part to Roseman, who spread out the loss of draft assets over a three year span.

When we hear the word, "trade," we immediately assume an exchange of like "things" of equal value.  Of course, there are times when teams exchange like things of equal value (i.e. players or draft picks) in an effort to address respective needs, but there are other times when trades involve purchasing things that have more value.  These are more market transactions than trades, and involve more risk.  When this happens, the purchase is usually for some present advantage, at the expense of the future.  Most likely, the ultimate cost of the move from thirteen to two will range anywhere in value between an eighth overall pick and a mid-third round pick. Not too bad.  Given the franchise has no Super Bowl titles, the expense applied to the future seems relatively minimal.  As BLG put so bluntly, the franchise can't be set back any further. The future is sustained, and will improve should a franchise quarterback be found.

Interestingly, the word "mortgage" comes from the Latin mortuus (dead) and Old French gage (pledge).

So mortgage your future to the Eagles; pledge allegiance ‘till you die.