By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — On Wednesday, the Eagles not only made a blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Browns, in sending five picks over the next two years to the perennial loser, the Eagles became the Cleveland Browns.
The Eagles moved up to the No. 2 slot, to most likely take Carson Wentz, by shipping the Browns their No. 8 pick in the first round, a third-round pick (77th overall) and a fourth-round pick (100th overall) in this year’s draft, a first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018. Cleveland also sent a fourth-round pick in 2017 to the Eagles.
What the bold move has done is push the Eagles, a team already full of holes that was fortunate to even finish 7-9 last year, further back from contending, while also letting their fanbase know that these next few years will be a rebuilding time under new head coach Doug Pederson. Sam Bradford has now become “Bridge,” Bradford, as the Eagles rest their future on an unproven quarterback that checks all of the physical criteria, but has proven little else.
The foolhardy trade places Wentz, or possibly Jared Goff, behind a dubious offensive line, with no discernible running attack and a receiving corps that’s devoid of a play-maker that can stretch the field and tended to drop passes last year. Compound those facts with a young quarterback that will be walking into a cauldron of living up to Von Hayes’ old “five-for-one” moniker and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Regrettably, that’s what Wentz will wear: Five-for-one Wentz.
Get used to it. Five may be prominent. Expect a few 5-11 seasons—if that—without any draft picks to hinder the bleeding.
“The last time I looked Carson Wentz, or Goff if he’s there, didn’t look like (Andrew) Luck, (Marcus) Mariota or (Jameis) Winston to me,” said one NFC scout. “A deal like this makes sense for any of those guys. Wentz and Goff aren’t those guys. And you’re dealing with the Philly market. Whoever it is they take better have thick, rawhide skin, because Philly fans could eat them up alive—and it won’t have anything to do with the kid. It’s (Eagles’ general manager) Howie (Roseman) that they should be putting on the skewer. But he won’t be the one out there running for his life with an offense that right now has nothing, on a team that has no draft picks for the next two years. Good luck with that.”
“We’re going to invest in quarterbacks,’’ Roseman said. “When you go back and study, what are the keys to winning, what are the keys to being championship caliber over a long period of time? It’s quarterbacks. For us, we have a unique situation where we have our head coach (Doug Pederson) and our offensive coordinator (Frank Reich) and our quarterback coach (John DeFilippo) have a great history with quarterbacks. It’s a unique luxury to have those guys. Who knows how long that’s going to last? When we went and researched and looked what the quarterback classes are going to look like going forward next year, two years out, that’s a daunting proposition.”
What’s more daunting is filling the holes the Eagles have. That was somehow lost in this decision. Left tackle Jason Peters is heading to the Hall of Fame. But his prime is past. Center Jason Kelce is coming off his worst season as a pro, and new guards Stefen Wisniewski and Brandon Brooks are stepping on to a new team in an offense no one knows if it will work yet.
The Eagles’ receiving unit was 30th in the NFL in yards per catch, averaging 10.7 yards per catch, just ahead of Detroit (10.6) and Baltimore (10.4). Then there’s the Eagles’ NFL-leading 37 drops on 620 targets and 6.0%—which also was an NFL high.
And this is the situation that Roseman and the Eagles will be plugging a new rookie quarterback into?
The Eagles certainly did make a trade with the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday. They became the Cleveland Browns, a team that hasn’t been over .500 since 2007 and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2002.
Let’s just hope the Eagles learned from the Flyers and won’t be handing out any glow-in-the-dark wristbands for night games.