PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–In the NFL, Howie Roseman understands you have to give to get.
Such was the case on Friday when the Eagles GM decided to shake up his secondary with a major trade. The Eagles traded Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews to Buffalo along with a third round draft pick in exchange for Cornerback Ronald Darby. The third year corner spent much of his first two years as a starter with the Bills and is expected to step into the starting lineup in Philadelphia. Roseman had determined something needed to be done in the secondary, but the need didn’t make it easier for Roseman to part ways with Matthews.
“Hard to pull the trigger on a trade like that when you’re giving up that kind of player and person,” said Roseman. “The draft pick is big, too. We felt like as we were building this, there were a lot of priorities in building a team that consistently competes for championships. This fits with that description.”
It is no secret the Eagles had their concerns with the cornerback position. Jalen Mills looks set to start on one side, but Patrick Robinson has struggled on the other side in training camp. Rookie Rasul Douglas is still learning on the fly and second round selection Sidney Jones may not play in 2017 as he recovers from an injury. Darby not only gives the Eagles immediate help at the position, but also a potential long term answer at one cornerback spot.
“We’re trying to figure out the best way to build our team to consistently compete,” Roseman said. “A big part of that is trying to get the cornerback position right for the long term. That was really the genesis of why we made this trade.”
The Eagles found a willing trade partner in the Bills, who were in need of a receiver after trading Sammy Watkins earlier in the day. Buffalo also picked up its sixth pick in the top three rounds of next year’s draft by acquiring a third-round pick for the Eagles. Despite an apparent rebuilding mode in Buffalo, Matthews should have a chance to make an immediate impact. When the Eagles traded Matthews, they gave up a player who has 225 catches in three seasons. Roseman is counting on his new look receiving core to pick up the receptions lost by the departure of Matthews.
“We’re seeing those guys on the field,” said Roseman. “We’re encouraged by the progress. We’re encouraged by a lot of those guys that have been brought in here and the chemistry of the group.”
Only time will tell if this trade is a good one for one or both teams. Both players will get to see what they look like in their new uniforms up close and personal when the Eagles host the Bills on Thursday in preseason play. For now, the Eagles will have a new look at cornerback and the Bills will have a new look at wide receiver.
“There’s no insurance on any of these things,” Roseman said. “We do what we think is in the best interests of the team. When you pull the trigger on anything like this, you think about the player you’re giving up and the draft pick. We felt like this was the right decision for us.”