Now that the 2017 regular season is over, the conditions of the Eric Rowe have finally been finalized.
The Eagles traded Rowe to the New England Patriots prior to the 2016 season in exchange for a conditional 2018 draft pick. If Rowe played more than 50% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps in either 2016 or 2017, Philadelphia would receive a third-round pick. If Rowe played fewer than 50% of the Patriots’ snaps in both seasons, Philadelphia would receive a fourth-round pick.
In 2016, Rowe only played 43.3% of New England’s defensive snaps. In 2017, Rowe finished the season only playing 24.6% of New England’s defensive snaps.
In other words, the Eagles will receive a 2018 fourth-round pick from the Patriots in exchange for Rowe. With the Patriots expected to make a strong post-season run after entering the NFL playoff picture as the No. 1 seed in the AFC, that pick will likely be towards the very end of the fourth round.
I know a lot of people have always said “there was no way Bill Belichick was going to let that pick become a third” but I don’t agree. Rowe was well on his way to playing more than 50% of the snaps this season. The problem is he suffered a groin injury early in the season, tried to play through it, and only made it worse. Rowe ended up missing eight games due to the injury.
Rowe finished the 2017 season with three starts, 13 tackles, and two passes defensed. Pro Football Focus graded him 104th out of 121 corners this season, for what it’s worth.
There was some outrage about trading Rowe at the time of the deal and throughout the 2016 season as the Eagles’ cornerbacks struggled. Philadelphia is now in much better shape at corner, though. They’ve got a real good mix of youth and talent:
Sidney Jones - 21 years old
Rasul Douglas - 22 years old
Jalen Mills - 23 years old
Ronald Darby - 24 years old
Rowe is set to be a free agent after the 2018 season so the Patriots will have to decide if they want to extend his contract or not now that he’s eligible.
Current projected Eagles 2018 Draft Picks
4th - (from the Minnesota Vikings)
4th - (from the New England Patriots)
5th - (from the Seattle Seahawks)
NOTE: The Eagles owe the Miami Dolphins a 2018 fourth-round pick from the Jay Ajayi trade. The pick they owe is reportedly whichever of their three fourth-round picks finishes in the middle. So, in other words, the fourth-round pick that’s not their best and not their worst. That exact pick is yet to be determined based on how the Eagles, Vikings, and Patriots are eliminated in the 2018 NFL playoffs. But since they’re all in the post-season, the difference shouldn’t be too dramatic. Just a technical note I wanted to include here since I’ve often say people say the Eagles traded Sam Bradford for Derek Barnett (Minnesota’s 2017 first-round pick) and Ajayi (Minnesota’s 2018 fourth-round pick). We don’t know for sure that the pick the Eagles traded to Miami is the Minnesota pick. It could be, but it could also be the Rowe pick if the Vikings go further in the playoffs. We’ll see.