The Eagles and Bills made a pretty big trade on Friday that sent Jordan Matthews plus a 2018 draft pick to the Bills and Ronald Darby to Philadelphia. Here’s a look at some reactions to the trade from around the web.
First up, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell has declared the Eagles as “winners” of the deal.
Philadelphia was looking downright bereft at cornerback for the second consecutive season, having cycled again through middling veterans while using second- and third-round picks on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas, the former of whom is likely to miss a chunk of the 2017 season after rupturing his Achilles at his pro day. While the Eagles had long-term hope at the position, this is a team that should be capable of competing as early as this season. Cornerback was their biggest weakness.
Now they have a promising option in both the short term and long term in Darby, who was stunningly effective during his debut season in Buffalo before slipping badly last season. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has done excellent work with undersized corners in years past, notably launching Cortland Finnegan's career in Tennessee. It's too early to suggest Darby's a reclamation project, but dealing a wide receiver the Eagles were unlikely to sign for a likely starter at cornerback is a totally logical move, even if it did hurt to give up a third-round pick in the process.
Next up, Jeff Hunter of our SB Nation sister site, Buffalo Rumblings, checks in.
I'm entirely blindsided by it, not in the least because the Bills also just shipped Sammy Watkins out to LA. Darby had a monster rookie season, but he definitely hit something of a lull last year. His ball skills aren't great, but he's generally a solid cover corner who isn't going to give up a ton of receptions. He's under contract for two more years ... he was a second-round pick, so no fifth-year option decision to worry about. He's definitely starter material, but it's hard to say whether he can return to the shutdown potential he showed in his rookie year.
Here’s an interesting 2015 article from Pro Football Focus. PFF named Darby their Defensive Rookie of the Year that season.
Darby wasn’t the most heralded cornerback from this draft class heading into the season, and with another rookie leading the league in interceptions and pass breakups, it’s fair to say that he isn’t really getting the credit he deserves at the end of the year. In all honesty, we didn’t see a better performance by a rookie all year, though. Darby stepped right in and started from day one, instantly becoming Buffalo’s best cover corner.
He allowed just four touchdowns all season, all of which came in a two-game span against the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans. Darby allowed just 660 receiving yards throughout the year, he was tied for fifth amongst cornerbacks with 13 pass breakups, and finished the year with the ninth-highest coverage grade for corners. There is still plenty of room for Darby to grow, with just two interceptions over the course of the year, and a reception of 20 yards or more allowed in six games in 2015. Nevertheless, it was an impressive rookie campaign that has Bills fans eager for the future, and rightfully so.
In case you missed it, here’s the reaction from us right here at Bleeding Green Nation.
Again: wow. This certainly came out of nowhere.
Then again, the writing was always on the wall in the Matthews situation. He was entering a contract year and it was very unlikely the Eagles could or would pay him after this season. Philadelphia decided to get value now by shipping him out.
In return for Matthews, the Eagles get some desperately needed help at cornerback. Darby has started 29 career games for the Bills after being selected by Buffalo in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He’s recorded two interceptions and 33 passes defensed in that span.
Now for some more reactions via Twitter:
Writing was on the wall in the JMatt situation. The Eagles were never gonna pay him after this year.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 11, 2017
Eagles likely couldn’t have kept JMatt after this year unless they wanted to lose one of Alshon, Jernigan, Bradham. And not extend Hicks.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 11, 2017
Howie Roseman cites Ronald Darby’s pass breakups as part of why they like him. Darby has 33 (!) of those in 29 starts. #Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 11, 2017
That's a great trade... holy cow— John Barchard (@JohnBarchard) August 11, 2017
I'm a Jordan Matthews apologist but Ronald Darby is good as hell. Let's party.— Ben Natan (@TheBenNatan) August 11, 2017
The Eagles staff cannot be fully sold on Agholor, hes obviously going to get a shot there but I wonder if Hollins takes job eventually.— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 11, 2017
I'm not always the most optimistic of fans (I blame being an Eagles/Arsenal fan) but I think this team is going to be pretty damn good.— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 11, 2017
Ronald Darby had 22 pass breakups over the last 2 seasons. No Eagle corner had more than 12 over that time.— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 11, 2017
The Ronald Darby deal is a no-brainer for the Eagles. Outplayed Stephon Gilmore last 2 seasons and we saw what he got in free agency— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) August 11, 2017
Matthews proved last season that he can't play outside. Doesn't have versatility to warrant $10-$11m deal based on previous production.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) August 11, 2017
Darby is a true, legit starting CB, hence steep price in compensation.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) August 11, 2017
Eagles D is outstanding:— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) August 11, 2017
Jordan Matthews was the greatest garbage time receiver in NFL history two years ago. He was like Wide Receiver Phil Rivers.— Dave Lozo (@davelozo) August 11, 2017
(Click here) to see how Eagles players reacted to the trade.