Howie Roseman Made The Right Move

By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

On Monday, Eagles GM Howie Roseman acquired DE Genard Avery from the Cleveland Browns. He’s a player that could very well fill the role that Chris Long had played for the Eagles over the previous two seasons.

On Tuesday, he did not make a move ahead of the NFL trade deadline.

Immediate reactions on Twitter were harsh, criticizing Roseman for not addressing corner or wide receiver.

The issue is that Roseman made the right move.

The team had holes on the defensive line, in the cornerback room and at receiver.

The Monday trade addressed the line and the team already has players at the other spots – or at least other options.

The Eagles got back a healthy Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills over the past two weeks. Suddenly, their defense was solid. You can argue that the Bills offense isn’t great all you want, but they were 5-1 going into the Eagles game averaging 22.2 points per win and 20.2 per game.

The pair is the very same that won the Super Bowl following the return of Darby from IR mid-season. This year, they also figure to get Cre’Von LeBlanc and Avonte Maddox back at some point.

On the line, Tim Jernigan is expected back as he and the addition of Avery can help to take pressure off of the two newly signed free agents.

The biggest question mark is at receiver. The Eagles might get Jackson back, but who knows when or for how long. If he returns for the remained of the year, the Eagles will be in great shape offensively. If not, they will need to give JJAW a chance to shine.

It’s also worth noting that the Eagles could still sign someone like Mike Wallace, Jordan Matthews or Josh Gordon with the hope that they will be able to stretch the field a bit for the team.

The return of injured players is what the team is counting on – there are too many leaks to count. Jalen Mills expressed this at the deadline on Twitter.

Now, there were moves Roseman could have made to improve the team now, but they would have been foolhardy.

The asking price for eight games of a 30-year-old corner was reportedly a second-round pick.

Eight games of Robby Anderson would cost the same.

Heck, the Lions were looking for two first-round picks for Darius Slay at 31 years old.

There is no reason for the Howie to risk that much draft capital for players on expiring deals. You cannot convince me that half a season of Chris Harris or Robby Anderson is worth more than five years of Dallas Goedert or Miles Sanders on cost-controlled deals.

The only thing I can think to fault Roseman for is not participating in this seller’s market and bringing back a decent pick for Big V, who is on an expiring deal after not signing an extension this offseason like Seumalo did and who barely gets playing time.

Many fans are now clinging to the idea that Howie Roseman is somehow the worst person to ever draft a player in the NFL in the history of the world. Over the Cap would beg to differ a bit on that (though the article is from the last trade deadline).

Another idea that has been permeating is that the Eagles haven’t drafted a Pro Bowl player in some time, like a popularity contest is somehow a good way to grade whether the Eagles are drafting well or not.

The main problem with the Eagles drafts in recent years is that they are not getting enough impact players from them because they are not making enough picks. Over the past five drafts, they have made seven or more picks just twice. Each of the last two seasons, they have only picked five times. It makes it difficult to build a team when you have so few pick that you need all selections to work out.

Instead, Howie Roseman is now going the opposite route, taking chances on young cost-controlled players instead of loading up on more old players who will get injured and leave while eating the team’s cap space.

But again, this did not prevent him from making moves. He just didn’t make one on the final day of the deadline when teams were only looking to sell high.

Instead, Roseman used low picks to acquire DeSean Jackson and Jordan Howard. Howard has been easily the trade with the most value of any made this season. Jackson would be if he wasn’t playing the fewest games in a regular season he has in his entire career.

Howie also got a value trade on Monday in Avery. One that improves the team now, in the future and at a much lower cost than other trades around the league. Look across to the division-rival Giants, who acquired Leonard Williams at the price teams were asking for this trade deadline.

Avery vs. Williams 2018 Stats

Player Tackles Sacks Defensed Passes FF FR QB Hits
Leonard Williams 42 5 2 0 0 20
Genard Avery 40 4.5 4 1 1 14

The two were pretty even in 2018, production wise. It should be noted that DEs like Avery often have more opportunity to make plays in the passing game than DTs like Williams, but, on the flip side, Avery was used as a rotational player for most of the year while Williams played more than 66% of snaps in all but one of the Jets’ games in 2018 and he played in 80% or more in 10 of those games.

For the Giants, they gave up a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick as well as had to create cap space to absorb his contract. If they re-sign him and add further cap hits to their roster, that fifth-round pick becomes a fourth-rounder.

Meanwhile, Roseman gave up just a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft for Avery who remains on a rookie deal for the next two seasons.

So for players with similar production and perhaps a bigger name, teams around the league were looking for both higher and more picks.

The acquisition of Jay Ajayi was an outlier – a deal too good to pass up brought to the table by the other team looking to sell low. The Golden Tate trade didn’t work out and was a move made for the sake of making a move – one that had the Eagles give up a pick in the third-round in exchange for 30 catches, two of which were fumbled. He wasn’t going to make that mistake again.

Howie Roseman was looking to make a deal, but he wasn’t going to mortgage the future for another veteran who will only play half a season with the team. That’s why his not striking a deal on Tuesday was the right move.

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