Pro Football Focus today picked what it thought was each team’s best offseason move. For the Eagles, PFF said it was extending wide receiver A.J. Brown’s contract as part of the trade with the Titans.
Yes, that was a smart front-office move by an increasingly smart Eagles front office.
That wouldn’t be *my* choice as the Eagles’ best offseason move.
First, we’ll let PFF explain, then I’ll explain:
From PFF: “We could write an entire article about all the smart things the Eagles did leading up to and during this offseason. Philadelphia maximized the added flexibility that three 2022 first-round picks provided them by acquiring a known commodity in star wideout A.J. Brown and then agreeing to a trade with the Saints that netted them an extra 2023 first- and 2024 second-round pick.
“One component of the Brown trade that should not be overlooked was Philadelphia’s unwillingness to officially make the move unless they could strike a deal on an extension beforehand. Players gain added leverage in extension negotiations with a new club after being acquired for significant draft capital, as evidenced by Laremy Tunsil, Jalen Ramsey, Jamal Adams and DeAndre Hopkins, to name a few.
“Look no further than the current standoff between tackle Orlando Brown Jr., and the Kansas City Chiefs, now eight days away from the franchise tag deadline. [A.J.] Brown’s four-year, $100 million extension is obviously still a monster contract, but getting his deal done before fellow 2019 draft wide receivers in Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel and DK Metcalf and without letting the trade leverage really factor in will pay dividends.
“In fact, it already has, as McLaurin’s three-year new money cash flow is expected to be slightly above Brown’s $69 million. Samuel and Metcalf may eventually surpass them both before Week 1. Philadelphia got a fair deal done and avoided any potential headaches while working to ink their new star wide receiver long-term.”
THIS IS THE BEST OFFSEASON MOVE
Pro Football Focus’ point is well taken. Contracts and salary cap restraints and realities are part of the business of football. Bravo. So, the Eagles will save money on the Brown contract. That might give them flexibility down the road. I applaud that.
However, I am more impressed with the trade the Eagles made with New Orleans before the draft.
The Eagles traded to the Saints:
- The No. 16 overall pick
- The No. 19 overall pick
- Sixth-rounder in 2022
The Eagles received:
- The No. 18 overall pick
- Third-rounder in 2022
- Seventh-rounder in 2022
- 2023 first-round pick
- 2024 second-round pick
The Eagles went into the 2022 draft with three first-round picks and came out of it with one first-rounder (Jordan Davis), Brown and an extra first-rounder next year.
The Eagles traded the 18th overall pick to the Titans for Brown — and I’d argue all day that acquiring a 24-year-old (now 25) established wide receiver for that pick is well worth it.
NFL teams hoard high draft picks, and I get their point. But there’s a time when a trade for a young, acclaimed player is simply better than the hope and promise of a rookie. This is that time for the Eagles.
“We were kind of looking at this year, next year, and the amount of picks that we had in this year’s draft and trying to kind of balance it a little bit for a variety of factors,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said before the draft.
“Also, kind of balancing just scouting all the players in this draft and next year’s draft and having more options and more flexibility at all positions.”
Extending Brown’s contract was enormous. Now, the Eagles know they have Brown for four years and can build around him. They know a vitally important position is in good hands.
If Jalen Hurts looks like the 2023 starter, and beyond, the Eagles can use those their 2023 first-round picks to further improve the roster. If Hurts doesn’t look like the answer, the Eagles have the two first-rounders to wheel and deal.
That’s smart, too.
PFF ON OTHER NFC EAST TEAMS
PFF said the Giants’ best offseason move was declining quarterback Daniel Jones’ fifth-year option.
From PFF: “Look no further than the situation the Carolina Panthers inherited with quarterback Sam Darnold, and you’ll see why the Giants were smart to remain patient with Jones.
“We’re not suggesting the Giants should 100 percent close the door on the 2019 No. 6 overall pick returning to the team in 2023, but new general manager Joe Schoen made the right decision to take the gamble and pass on Jones’ $22.384 million 2023 fifth-year option.”
For the Cowboys, it was re-signing safety Jayron Kearse.
For the Commanders, it was letting guard Brandon Scherff leave and replacing him with guard Trai Turner.