Despite their additions of defensive presences like Hassan Reddick, Jordan Davis, and James Bradberry, it appears the Eagles might not be done adding key pieces just yet — or at least the media thinks so.
CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin listed eight possible destinations for disgruntled Bengals safety Jessie Bates III, putting Philadelphia at the top of the list due to their clear lack of starting talent at the position.
“Trade-happy GM Howie Roseman has admittedly struggled to identify long-term answers at safety via the draft, and he practices and preaches the importance of patient roster-building.”
“So Bates, who played on a Bengals team that employed current Eagles assistant head coach Jemal Singleton, represents the ideal solution for a quiet NFC East contender,” Benjamin wrote.
Bates played in 15 games last season, totaling 88 tackles and one interception. It admittedly wasn’t the best year for the 25-year-old: he allowed an 80.0% completion percentage and 122.1 QB rating, both career-worsts. PFF gave him a grade of 56.1.
Still, he was an All-Pro in 2020, showing he has the potential to be a premier defender. Young players like that aren’t easy to come by, so this could be a golden opportunity for the acquisition-happy Birds. But should they bite?
As Always, A Bates Trade Is Complicated
If you’re looking to fill a need at safety, then the answer to trading for Bates — no matter the cost — is yes. Anthony Harris looks to be serviceable, but some combination of Marcus Epps/Jaqiuski Tartt isn’t an ideal starter for a division contender.
That about ends the obvious. The whole reason Bates is currently seeing his name swirling in trade rumors is because of his contract dispute with Cincinnati.
Bates is set to earn $12.9 million in the upcoming season after having been franchised tagged and does not intend to play unless given a long-term contract.
That’s a major sticking point in any potential trade, as the Eagles have just $9 million left in cap space. Not only would the team have to clear space now, but they would also need to simultaneously agree on a deal with Bates, similar to the A.J. Brown trade.
Any contract with Bates would likely have to be around an AAV of $16 to $17 million, putting the total contract anywhere between $60 to $80 million (assuming it’s a five-year deal). It could end up being similar to Minkah Fitzpatrick’s four-year, $73.612 million deal:
A hefty price to pay, indeed.
What Would The Eagles Have To Give Up For Bates?
The finances are one thing, but the Birds are actually looking good on potential assets. They still currently have their own 2023 first and second-round picks, along with New Orleans’ 2023 first and 2024 second.
I don’t think a first would need to be involved unless a bidding war begins. Instead, the Eagles could probably get by with a 2023 second and 2024 third. Or, trade bait like Andre Dillard or Jalen Reagor could be put in place of a pick.
Any combination of Reagor/Dillard/2nd/3rd seems enough to make an intriguing package. And while that, plus the contract, is a lot to commit, Bates would give the Eagles a needed young cornerstone in the secondary that could help to sustain the appealing core they’re building.
If they have the chance, they need to go for it — if only to keep Bates out of the hands of Dallas or Washington.