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Weapon X Mailbag: What will the first post-pandemic Eagles tailgate be like?

New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

The Phillies stink. The Sixers are embarrassing. The Flyers barely register as a functioning entity. I’m putting all my eggs in the Eagles basket!

Let’s hit the mailbag.

@lolarsystem: Describe the first tailgate back.

Great prompt from friend of the mailbag Lolar. I haven’t tailgated an Eagles game since January 5, 2020. The Eagles hosted the Seahawks in an NFC Wild Card Weekend matchup. As you’re very much aware, the Eagles lost that game, but I had a blast beforehand and even got to meet a few great BGN readers there. Here’s a pic of me with our fearless leader Brandon Lee Gowton:

While everything else going on in the world was absolutely terrible and terrifying, Eagles fans dodged a bullet not wasting their time going to games in 2020. Would the team have played better if they had a packed stadium booing them constantly? I’ll let you decide.

Anyway...

I, like a lot of fans who head down to the Linc, desperately miss tailgating. Do I miss stuffing my face with hoagies and cheesesteaks and guzzling beer and dancing like an idiot? Sure, but it’s more than that. It’s communal. The Jetro Lot becomes my church, the Eagles my religion, breaking bread with friends new and old and bonding over the Birds. I have tailgate-only friends I haven’t seen since that Seattle game! I miss it.

I want to be down there Week 2. The Eagles are coming off a big road win in Atlanta and hosting the 49ers. I get in the lot, put on “Everlong” by Foo Fighters and stare into the distance of the Sports Complex, soaking up something I haven’t experienced in what feels like a lifetime. I want to bear hug my friends, whether they be guys from South Philly I’ve known my whole life or college pals or nitwits I’ve become close with on Twitter over the years.

I want to take a sip of the world’s coldest beer while wearing a Jalen Hurts jersey, zone out and forgot all of life’s troubles for a second while Dave Grohl sings, “And I wonder when I sing along with you...”

I want to take a roadie for a walk across the street to the Linc, make my way to the top level, and, most importantly, see the Eagles put one in the win column.

@ScottJ1998: Is there a possibility that you wait before making any big-time trades for an elite player, and instead wait for the 2022 free agency class, that’ll be one of the best in recent memory?

This is a Sixers-related question. My initial answer is no because the Sixers will have no wiggle room whatsoever to sign a max-level free agent come next summer. For the 2022-23 season alone, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons will have a combined cap number of almost $107 million.

They have no maneuverability to add another top-tier player. Those are your three guys going forward unless you move one. I’m not even sure if Harris is looked at as a positive asset because of his contract (his 2023 cap number is more than $37 million), so the only way you’re going to bring in another big-name player would be to trade one of Embiid or Simmons. The latter option is obviously much more likely.

The one thing that could work for them, which is what I’m sure the original question from Scott was getting at, is to try a sign-and-trade deal. I’d trust Daryl Morey to execute this well.

Imagine the Sixers keep Simmons through the 2022 season. Let’s say Stephen Curry tells Golden State that he wants to leave, as he is a free agent next summer, and he decides he wants to play with his brother and his fellow Under Armour buddy in Philly. Would Golden State placate him if it was a sign-and-trade move that brought Simmons back in return? It’s not that crazy to me that he’d be interested in Philly!

While that is a result that will have Sixers fans daydreaming for the next 12 months, you still have to make it through next season to get there. Have the Sixers and Simmons already crossed the Rubicon? Does he want out? Is it a situation where the Sixers feel like they can’t proceed with him still here? A split is ultimately best for both parties, but it’s just a matter of how soon that happens.

The issue that worries me is that Simmons’ trade value would sink even further if he delivers another playoff clunker in 2022. Look at how the perception of Simmons has changed from his rookie campaign in 2018 until now. I don’t know how people around the league view him, but would you pass on a chance of acquiring, say Zach LaVine, because you maybe-sorta-kinda think they could do a wild S&T for Steph next summer?

A trade this summer would be selling low on Simmons, but we sure could get lower come 2022.