On Tuesday, the NFL’s transaction wire set off a bit of interest as, in an unusual move, Eagles receiver Marquise Goodwin reverted back to the 49ers.
Goodwin was originally acquired by the Eagles in a draft-day trade during the 2020 draft. The trade originally consisted of the Birds moving back 20 picks, where they selected Prince Tega Wanogho, in order to add the veteran.
Of course, Goodwin took the COVID opt-out and never appeared in a game for the team, leaving his existing, fully non-guaranteed contract on the team’s books for 2021.
Whether it happened by mistake or was an extremely shrewd move by GM Howie Roseman, there was apparently terms in the deal that make it so the Eagles were able to not only clear $4 million in cap space by getting him off the books, but added a pick in the process according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
The 49ers have lost a 2021 draft pick after Marquise Goodwin's contract reverted back to the Niners due to the terms of last year's trade with the Eagles (via @MaioccoNBCS)https://t.co/Wqp17tRZhi pic.twitter.com/uHkrGenDYQ
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) March 16, 2021
While the exact terms that lead to this are not currently public, the Eagles never had to pay Goodwin a single dollar, so the original trade boils down to a swap of 2020 sixth-round picks that allowed the Eagles to acquire an additional seventh-round pick.
Though that may not be a trade fans would have wanted during the 2020 season, it is undeniably a good move with the teams current cap situation and need to acquire young, cheap talent.
A seventh-round pick may not seem like a lot, but the Eagles have actually done incredibly well in the final round of the draft recently. Since 2014, the list of Eagles selections in that round consist of:
Though they may not be major names, there are three major parts of the team’s 2017 roster in addition to standout offensive tackle Jordan Mailata. All of those player (bolded in the above table) and Casey Toohill remain employed by teams in the NFL. That’s a 71% hit rate in the round over the last seven drafts with two, just under 30%, being NFL starters.
Additionally, the move will get the team into cap compliance before the Wednesday deadline.
Though there were reports that the Eagles may be reworking Goodwin’s deal, with this information, there was no chance of that happening when the Eagles could get this pick instead, especially since the 49ers will almost certainly release Goodwin anyway.
Goodwin should become a free agent in a market saturated with at the receiver position with even the top targets, so he is unlikely to get much more than a minimum deal on the market, making him the type of veteran player with upside the Eagles could choose to target.
As teams release more players and other teams spend their available money, the Eagles will begin to pounce on their free agent targets who they believe are high-upside and/or being undervalued by other teams.