Perhaps a former Birds executive may be giving us a not-so-subtle hint of things to come in regards to a QB change. According to former Eagles’ president Joe Banner, Philadelphia is the “most likely landing spot” for the polarizing Deshaun Watson.
In a blog post on The 33rd Team, Banner compared Watson’s situation to a former QB acquired during his time with the team – Michael Vick. Obviously, the situations are extremely different, though the Vick signing does show the Eagles haven’t been hesitant to take on less-than-stellar reputations if they believe the player can change for the better.
“To be clear, the accusations against Watson are repugnant. From an ethical standpoint and based on team culture, I do not believe I would acquire Watson if I were sitting in the decision maker’s seat. But it’s hard to say that definitively without sitting in that seat and having all of the information.”
“If guilty, no team in the NFL should engage in discussions to acquire him. And without confidence in the criminal charges being resolved, I would absolutely not trade for him,” Banner added, making four points that have to be met for any team to pursue Watson:
- Jail has to be off the table
- The team needs to be positive Watson didn’t commit what he’s accused of, or that it won’t happen again
- The team needs to be able to deal with the financial situation
- The team has to be able to deal with the PR implications of acquiring him
Banner detailed a list of “unlikely suitors” — which include the NY Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Minnesota Vikings — and only two “real possibilities:” the Carolina Panthers and the Eagles. Banner reasoned that the Eagles know they need a great quarterback to win big, have the ammunition to acquire Watson, the aggressive attitude to make a trade, and the cap room needed to make it happen.
The Eagles Definitely Check Off Banner’s List
It’s hard to dispute the Eagles aren’t able to check off any of the necessities Banner states a team needs to do when acquiring Watson. First, the Eagles repeated interest in Watson shows that they believe he will won’t be getting jail time (a suspension is another issue).
Are they positive he didn’t do what he’s accused of? That answer will probably be impossible to tell, and quite sadly really doesn’t matter as long as Watson doesn’t get into legal trouble again, which the team would be betting on if acquiring him.
The Eagles certainly have the financial wiggle room to bring Watson in, and with Vick in the past, they’ve shown the can handle a PR storm – of course, this would be bigger than anything they’ve ever dealt.
While some of Banner’s points are a little obvious (not exactly some front office mystique) it’s clear he still has front office and insider ties around the league. Many were quick to point out a change in Banner’s article, which took out a (very specific) hypothesized trade that would see Hurts, a 2022 first-round pick, and a 2023 first-round pick heading to Houston for Watson.
Banner replaced the section by saying the Eagles wouldn’t trade Hurts “under other circumstances, unless it was for a high-quality QB.” Perhaps some trade chatter got out that wasn’t supposed to? In any case, things will continue to heat up as we approach the start of free agency.