You know the NFL offseason is here when trade rumors are starting to pop up.
NFL insider Jason La Canfora had some interesting things to say about the Philadelphia Eagles in a column titled: “The difficult decisions all 32 teams have ahead in the 2018 NFL offseason.”
The more executives I talk to, the more I am convinced that Howie Roseman will keep Nick Foles deep into the offseason and not trade him for anything but significant value. I’m not buying the alleged two first-round pick evaluation, but at least a second-rounder and something else. We’ll see if that market develops, but Foles’s value while Carson Wentz recovers from knee surgery is high. I do, however, expect him to be proactive in what he can get for left tackle Jason Peters. “The offense operated well without Peters, and he’d have some value,” one exec said. “The kid who filled in is nothing special, but the offensive line as a whole was fine without Peters.” Philly is in a cap bind, but Torrey Smith’s $5 million option might be too steep. And the Eagles want to extend Brandon Graham and began talks with him in season.
Let’s address each of these players separately.
Have you noticed there’s been a lot of “the Eagles won’t/shouldn’t trade Nick Foles” buzz lately?
Peter King said it. Andrew Brandt said it. Now Jason La Canfora is saying it.
It’s not hard to believe the Eagles aren’t rushing to trade the quarterback who just led the team to their first Super Bowl win in franchise history. Especially when that quarterback might be needed again if Carson Wentz isn’t ready to start in Week 1 or if he gets re-injured during the season.
At the same time, if the Eagles DO really want to trade Foles, it’s not like they’re going to make that known. Doing so would hurt their leverage. If they’re hoping to receive really good offers for No. 9, they need to make it look like they have little interest in trading him.
With that in mind, the fact that so many reporters are insistent on Foles staying makes me think Howie Roseman is using the media to his advantage.
Another thing to note here is that La Canfora doesn’t say the Eagles won’t trade Foles at all. He just thinks they’ll be patient about it. Maybe Philadelphia is hoping for a situation similar to what happened with Sam Bradford in 2016. It’s hard to count on another team losing their starting quarterback due to injury eight days before the season, but it’s not like the Eagles have to trade Foles. If the situation where another team gets desperate doesn’t arise, the Eagles can just keep Foles as Wentz’s backup.
There’s a complication with waiting to trade Foles, though. He’s due a $3 million roster bonus on March 18, which is four days after the new league year (time for free agency and trades) begins on March 14. If the Eagles don’t trade him before that bonus date, it limits the amount of cap space they can save ($5.2 million) by moving him.
So that’s a bit of a dilemma for the Eagles. They won’t want to appear desperate to move Foles since that would hurt their leverage. But assuming they do want to move him, it would be in their best interest from a cap space perspective if he’s traded sooner than later.
I would be shocked if the Eagles traded Peters. I really just can’t see it happening.
For starters, Philly would only save $4.3 million in cap space by trading him. Compare that to the $6.3 million in dead money it would create.
Even if trading him DID make financial sense, which it doesn’t, it’d be surprising to see the Eagles trade a future Hall of Famer. I mean, Doug Pederson literally just said a week ago that Peters is his starting left tackle in 2018.
It’s time to revisit something I wrote about Peters earlier this week:
Every offseason, it feels like there are some people clamoring for the Eagles to cut Peters. Every offseason, it never happens.
The Eagles just aren’t cutting JP, folks. People underrate how valued he is by this franchise. He’s on a Brian Dawkins level, respect wise. And yeah, the Eagles let B-Dawk walk in free agency, but the Eagles admitted that was a mistake. They’re not going to make that mistake again. Not to mention Peters said he’s best friends with owner Jeffrey Lurie.
Peters isn’t going anywhere, unless he decides to retire, which doesn’t seem to be in the plans. The 36-year-old blocker said he plans on playing in 2018. Further, Doug Pederson said he plans on having Peters as his left tackle in 2018.
Peters was playing at an All-Pro level before he suffered an ACL injury in October. The Eagles have reason to believe he can get back to form. Peters is a freak of nature who isn’t impacted by injury and old age like the average player is.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai stepped his game up in the playoffs, but his overall body of work still wasn’t awesome. Peters, who was playing at an All-Pro level before getting hurt, is still significantly better than Big V.
Yeah, this one isn’t complicated. The Eagles can’t keep Smith at his current cap figure. They either have to cut him or work out a pay cut.
La Canfora was the first one to report the Eagles and Graham are working on a contract extension. That was back in late November.
In early December, however, Pro Football Talk reported that Graham was “pushing back” on the Eagles’ efforts to re-sign him.
The most recent update on this situation comes from an interview with Graham himself on NBC Sports Philadelphia earlier this week:
“For me, it’s all about getting as much as you can while you can play because when it’s over, it’s over. I know Howie (Roseman) and those guys, if they want me here, they’re going to make sure that they get me here. For me, I want to be here. Everybody knows I want to be here. They see the passion I have and I’m happy to be able to bring the trophy back to Philly. Now, it’s just all about just making sense, just getting me protected for the future. Because obviously I want to retire here and I know I’m going to retire here because I’ve been here a long time. I would love to retire here. It’s all on what they want to do. I’m just going to embrace it, whatever it is.”
Graham clearly wants a new deal. And he deserves one. Graham is an incredibly important player on the Eagles’ defense. He obviously came up HUGE in the Super Bowl by strip-sacking Tom Brady late in the fourth quarter.
Here’s hoping the Eagles are able to placate Graham, whose current runs through the 2018 season. It might not be easy given the team’s limited cap situation, but Roseman and co. are going to have to find a way to make it work.