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TRADE: Eagles acquire linebacker in exchange for safety and draft pick swap

The big deal that everyone was waiting for!

Atlanta Falcons v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles made a trade! No, it wasn’t for Jalen Ramsey. Or even a cornerback at all. Let’s look at the official terms of the deal.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES RECEIVE: Linebacker Duke Riley, 2020 sixth-round pick

ATLANTA FALCONS RECEIVE: Safety Johnathan Cyprien, 2020-seventh round pick

Okay, then. What was the point of this?

Well, the Eagles did cut L.J. Fort on Friday. Adding Riley to the roster gives the Eagles someone to help replace his special teams production. Keeping Fort around would’ve caused the Eagles to lose a projected 2020 fourth-round compensatory pick. So, the Eagles not only preserved that pick but made another pick slightly better with this deal. Good job by Howie Roseman.

Cyprien was entirely expendable for Philly. He had really only been playing on special teams prior to when injuries forced him on the field against the Packers in Week 4. Cyprien didn’t look that great in coverage, which was concerning. The Eagles still have four safeties — Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, and Rudy Ford — on the roster after trading Cyppy Cup.

Getting back to Riley, he was originally a third-round pick by the Falcons in the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s logged 16 career starts in 32 games played. Here’s what our friends over at The Falcoholic had to say about him:

In Riley (and, you know, that sixth round pick) Philadelphia tries to shore up a linebacker groups and special teams unit that could use a bit of help. Riley had taken on a ton of special teams snaps the last two seasons and did a nice job in that role, but his role on defense had diminished to almost nothing after he lost his job to Foye Oluokun last season. Riley’s always had interesting athleticism and upside but hasn’t put it together to this point, but he’s still a young player in his third season, and is a worthwhile gamble for the Eagles. We wish him well with his new team.

The Falcoholic also mentioned Atlanta’s interest in Cyprien stems from losing starting safety Keanu Neal to a season-ending injury.

Overall, seems like a decent deal for the Eagles. They get rid of an expendable player for a slightly better draft pick and a special teams contributor. If Riley ever develops into a reliable defensive contributor, well, that’d be a big bonus.

Here’s an updated look at the Eagles’ future selections:


1st round

2nd round

3rd round

(3rd round - projected compensatory pick)

4th round

(4th round - projected compensatory pick)

5th round

5th round (from New England Patriots)

6th round (from Atlanta Falcons)


Grade the Eagles trading Johnathan Cyprien and a 2020 seventh-round pick in exchange for Duke Riley and a 2020 sixth-round pick.

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