According to multiple NFL sources, the Eagles spent time last week in Indianapolis discussing potential trades involving defensive lineman Michael Bennett and gauging the 10-year veteran’s market value.
Mosher previously said he had “an increasing sense” that Bennett won’t be returning to the Eagles in 2019.
This Bennett development comes following the Eagles’ decision to re-sign impending free agent pass rusher Brandon Graham to a three-year contract worth $40 million. Philadelphia currently has a lot of money invested in defensive end and it sounds like the cap-strapped Eagles could be looking to clear some of it off their books by moving Bennett.
Trading Bennett, who turns 34 in November, would allow the Eagles to save $7.2 million in cap space with zero dead money.
Trading Bennett would also mean the Eagles are losing a player who finished second on the team in sacks last year with nine. Bennett ranked second in quarterback hits in 2018 and 21st out of 109 edge defenders in PFF’s pressure rate. In other words, he was really effective.
Acquiring Bennett last year was easily Howie Roseman’s best offseason move. The Eagles only had to give up Marcus Johnson and a 2018 fifth-round pick in exchange for Bennett and a 2018 seventh-round pick.
So, why would the Eagles be looking to move on from Bennett? The aforementioned financial implications are obvious. Beyond that, there were grumblings that Bennett wasn’t happy was his playing time in Philly’s heavy defensive end rotation. There’s also the possibility that Bennett is still facing legal and/or league discipline relating back to last year’s felony indictment. Here’s the latest update on that:
Michael Bennett was supposed to have a court date today in Houston for that injury to elderly charge. It has been reset (again) for March 27, over a year after the indictment. #Eagles— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) March 4, 2019
In an ideal world, the Eagles would be able to bring back Graham, Bennett, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, and Josh Sweat for 2019. That’s a real strong group of pass rushers.
But apparently the Eagles are considering moving on from Bennett. The guess here is that they wouldn’t consider trading him if they also thought Long wasn’t going to be back. Long has reportedly considered retirement but has expressed interested in still playing. Long has specifically brought up the issue of playing time, so moving on from Bennett could sell him on coming back since it’d afford him more snaps.
Another factor to consider in all of this is that the 2019 NFL Draft is believed to be loaded with defensive line talent. Roseman called it a “historic” class at both defensive end and defensive tackle. The Eagles could easily look to draft a pass rusher to add to the rotation if Bennett is traded.
It remains to be seen what trading Bennett would return for the Eagles. His value last offseason was about a fifth-round pick. Bennett was more productive in 2018 than he was in 2017 despite playing fewer snaps. Maybe the Eagles could find a way to get a late fourth-round pick?
We’ll see. For now, it’s just another moving piece to monitor in what figures to be a very active offseason for the Eagles.
Should the Eagles trade Michael Bennett?
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