The Eagles draft classes of the past two years have produced little. Nelson Agholor gave no production and Marcus Smith and Josh Huff have rarely seen the field. With a new coaching staff, they all have their fair shot to show that they deserve playing time. While it’s early in camp and early impressions can be misleading, no one has really made a case for themselves. In the case of Marcus Smith, it may cost him his job.
If camp ended today, I'm not sure how the Eagles could justify keeping Marcus Smith over Steven Means.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) August 7, 2016
Agreed. Means has flashed more in the spring and summer. https://t.co/z4Q9CHcBaj— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 7, 2016
While Means, who is on his fourth team in as many years, playing well is unexpected Smith being on the bubble isn’t.
If the Eagles decide to move on from Smith, they would have to eat a $2.1 million cap hit. But with Howie Roseman back in charge of the Eagles, there is another possibility: a bust for bust trade. In his career as GM, Roseman has never been shy about making trades, both pick for pick and player for player. Could another player for player trade be in the cards? There are a handful of fellow busts that may be available.
The Chiefs are no strangers in a bust for bust deal, in 2013 they dealt 2011 1st round bust WR Jon Baldwin to the 49ers for 2012 1st round bust WR A.J. Jenkins.
A Ford for Smith swap would be a similar trade, both players came into the league as pass rushers who were seen as capable of being linebackers in a 3-4, and Smith was taken three picks after Ford. Neither have worked out, and a change of scenery might be what is needed. Smith’s limited playing time might give the Chiefs reason to take a flyer on him, Jim Schwartz’s experience with Jerry Hughes, who was a bust in Indianapolis but recorded back to back 10 sack seasons in Buffalo, might give Ford appeal to the Eagles.
The Browns and Eagles have already made a trade this year when the Eagles moved up to draft Carson Wentz, could the GM relationship be revisited?
Gilbert has had multiple off the field incidents, but new head coach Hue Jackson and the Browns new front office are giving him a clean slate to prove himself with. But Gilbert has to play well to earn a spot, and so far the most notable thing he’s done in camp is get roasted by Corey Coleman and then get in a tussle with Coleman that Hue Jackson had to break up. The Browns pass rush is lacking and taking a flier on a pass rusher might make some sense for them, but this trade possibility seems unlikely. The Eagles aren’t afraid to take a chance on a character concern, but the team seems content with their group of corners.
No, this isn’t happening.
If a Smith for bust trade is going to happen, one that might make the most sense for both teams is for the Vikings’ Cordarrelle Patterson. The Vikings have a solid defense and a good pass rusher in Everson Griffen and promising Danielle Hunter, but not much depth behind them. Brian Robison is 33, and 2014 3rd rounder Scott Crichton has yet to record a sack. Meanwhile Cordarrelle Patterson is on his last legs in Minnesota. He has established himself as a strong kick returner, but as a wide receiver has been a bust. Last year he caught just two passes, and this year the Vikings drafted Laquon Treadwell with the 23rd pick. And he planted himself firmly in Mike Zimmer’s dog house last year when he showboated a kick return touchdown against the Seahawks while down 35-0. A change of scenery might do him well.
The Eagles are in an opposite situation. The team has depth at pass rusher with Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Connor Barwin, but has many question marks at wide receiver beyond Jordan Matthews. Though the Eagles aren’t lacking at kick returner, Patterson would immediately slide in as the primary returner, giving him guaranteed playing time and value that Marcus Smith can’t while buried on the DE depth chart.
Chances are if the Eagles move on from Smith it will simply be a release, but giving Howie Roseman’s history it wouldn’t be shocking for one of these trades to unfold.