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Grading the Eagles' moves: Jordan Matthews traded to Bills

Grading the Eagles' moves: Jordan Matthews traded to Bills

Eagles get: CB Ronald Darby

Bills get: WR Jordan Matthews, 2018 third-round draft pick

There were reports the Eagles would be open to trading Jordan Matthews as far back as February, so it certainly comes as no surprise the club finally pulled the trigger. That being said, I’m not sure anybody could’ve anticipated quite this level of return.

A second-round draft pick from Florida State in 2015, Ronald Darby made 29 starts for the Bills in two NFL seasons. However, after a solid rookie campaign in which he was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team and Pro Football Focus’ Defensive Rookie of the Year, Darby regressed in 2016, apparently falling out of favor in Buffalo.

Darby went from a 78.3 opponents’ passer rating in coverage – 17th out of 79 qualifying players corners – to a 104.8 in ’16 – 69th out of 79. The Eagles are banking on a resurgence.

Cornerback was clearly the team’s greatest need, and there was a clamoring to do something. Darby is better than most, if not all of the suggested targets.

Darby is listed at 5-foot-11, 193 pounds. He has 137 tackles, 33 pass deflections and 2 interceptions in 29 games.

As for Matthews, there are many who were critical of the fourth-year wideout. He was miscast as a No. 1 receiver, dropped too many passes and was pushing Nelson Agholor down the depth chart. After the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, and with Mack Hollins and Marcus Johnson also having strong training camps, the Eagles could afford to part with somebody.

There’s no denying Matthews’ production – 225 receptions for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons – or work ethic. Unfortunately, he was in the final year of his contract, and there was a logjam at the position.

From all of those perspectives, the trade makes sense. The fact that the Eagles had to throw in a third-round pick is where the deal loses some of its luster.

Darby is under contract for two more years, which is perhaps where the Bills get off asking for more out of the swap. Otherwise, they’re comparable talents – both former second-round choices, both stellar production early in their careers, and both coming off of down years. In that sense, you could make the case this should’ve been straight up.

The pick hurts the deal, but doesn’t ruin it. Of course, even a down year for Matthews was 73 receptions, 804 yards and 3 touchdowns, so he’ll likely continue to produce regardless. Whether it will have been worth it or not depends entirely on whether Darby rebounds and becomes a consistent starting cornerback for the Eagles.

If Darby does that, this grade could be substantially better – and nobody will care about that third-round pick.

Grade: B

Eagles fans, get Malcolm Jenkins that petition on Pete Morelli

Eagles fans, get Malcolm Jenkins that petition on Pete Morelli

The online petition to ban Pete Morelli from officiating Eagles games is rapidly gaining signatures.

Count Malcolm Jenkins for one.

"I would definitely sign that petition if it came across my desk," Jenkins said with a laugh to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark on Monday at the safety's Blitz, Bow Ties and Bourbon charity event.

The Eagles beat the Panthers, 28-23, last Thursday night despite a significant discrepancy in penalty yards. It was a game officiated by Morelli's crew — and you can see why that's notable by clicking right here.

"We felt like a lot of those were ticky-tack, or weren’t good calls," Jenkins said after the game. "For us, adversity is nothing new for us. We just kind of strap up and keep playing, and hunker down. We continue to play aggressively, that is the biggest thing. We don’t want that to take away our aggression, or our ability to make plays. So we just go to the next play."

What about the next signature? 

Eagles fans just need to get that petition to Jenkins' desk.

Dodgers fan wearing Chase Utley jersey catches Justin Turner home run ball for 2nd year in a row

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MLB

Dodgers fan wearing Chase Utley jersey catches Justin Turner home run ball for 2nd year in a row

Dodgers fans had a reason to be ecstatic on Sunday night after Justin Turner hit a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Cubs, 4-1, and give Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the NLCS.

But not as ecstatic as one fan in particular.

Keith Hupp, a retired police officer and lifelong Dodgers fan, was waiting under the home run ball in the center-field stands and snagged it with his son's glove. He was also wearing a Dodgers Chase Utley jersey.

He even made the catch with his non-preferred hand.

“I’m a lefty,” Hupp said to J.P. Hoornstra of the Orange County Register. “I’ve dislocated my right shoulder so many times, I had to resort to my son’s glove on my left hand. So the last five or six home run balls I’ve caught, I’ve caught with my left hand.”

And the craziest part about this story is that it wasn't the first time it had happened. Hupp caught Turner's sixth-inning solo homer in Game 3 of last year's NLCS against the Cubs in almost the same place, the center-field stands at Dodger Stadium.

Although he has 24 home run balls in his collection, Hupp won't be keeping last night's game-winner. After making the catch, he gave the ball to a security guard, and was escorted underneath the stadium to meet Turner and make a trade with him. 

In a postgame interview with MLB.com, Turner said Hupp couldn't decide what he wanted for the ball right away. They exchanged information and agreed that Hupp will get back to Turner in a few days when he decides what he wants.

Twitter had some good responses to Hupp's memorable home run catch: