With prized free agent signing Carl Lawson recently suffering a season-ending injury, the New York Jets are interested in trading for a pass rusher. This much is being reported by both Mike Kaye and Adam Schefter.
What does this have to do with Eagles? Well, as you’ll recall, Jets general manager Joe Douglas used to be Philadelphia’s vice president of player personnel from May 2016 through June 2019. And Douglas played a role in the Eagles using a first-round pick (No. 14 overall) on Derek Barnett in 2017 and a fourth-round on Josh Sweat in 2018.
The Eagles’ young edge rushers are set to be free agents after the 2021 season. It’s possible the team hopes to keep both of them but that might not be realistic in terms of cap allocation and playing time demands. With the possibility that one of the two won’t be back in 2022, the Eagles might be wise to get something for them now instead of letting them walk.
And so one can only expect Douglas and Howie Roseman to broach this topic with the Eagles traveling north for joint training camp practices against the Jets in Florham Park, New Jersey this week. Maybe they’ll be able to hammer out the framework of a deal.
As for what the Eagles could get in return for Barnett or Sweat? That they’re currently unsigned beyond this season lowers their value. But the Eagles could allow the Jets to discuss contract extension terms with one of their pass rushers in order to facilitate a trade. Philly also possesses significant leverage since it’s not like they have to deal one of their players. A 2022 second-round pick (plus more?) seems like a reasonable ask. The Jets own two second-round picks next year thanks to the Sam Darnold trade. They also have an extra first-round pick, which could allow them to be more willing to part with one of their seconds.
Now, which pass rusher — if any — should the Eagles trade? Fans likely aren’t going to want to see the Eagles part with Sweat, who has had an excellent summer. Barnett’s also had a good summer, to be fair, but hasn’t shone quite as brightly. Barnett is also currently day-to-day with a shoulder injury. But if Barnett is percevied as a lesser player, he’ll also command a lower price tag. So, the Eagles could have an interesting decision to make.
It’s possible that Jets could come calling for an Eagles pass rusher that isn’t Sweat or Barnett. But I don’t think the Eagles are trading Brandon Graham. Ryan Kerrigan was on the market until mid-May so he doesn’t hold a ton of value. And I don’t think the Jets’ plan to replace Lawson, a $45 million signing, is to replace him with the mighty Joe Ostman.
Of course, this Eagles-Jets linking is just speculation (for now, at least). But one can see the logical connection between these two teams. It’s definitely something to watch.
Elsewhere in trade rumor discussion, the aforementioned Mike Kaye reports the Eagles are not “expected to trade future assets for upgrades at the [wide receiver] position.” There has been some talk about the Birds trading for a wideout due to their unproven youth at that spot. But the thinking here has been that Philly wants to sink-or-swim with what they’ve got and that appears to be the case.