The700Level

Rating the Rumor: Eagles could trade Connor Barwin

Rating the Rumor: Eagles could trade Connor Barwin

The Eagles are currently $10.6 million under the NFL salary cap, but stand to almost double that figure if they dump defensive end Connor Barwin. That doesn’t necessarily mean releasing Barwin, either, at least not if a trade market emerges, as Mark Eckel for NJ.com suggests.

Some weeks back, Eckel reported there will be a handful of suitors for Barwin if the 2014 Pro Bowl selection is on the block.

One would think the Eagles would be open to the idea. At present, Barwin is set to take up $8.35 million in cap room for 2017, $7.75 million of which can be converted to savings in the event of a trade or his release. That’s a lot of money for a 30-year-old player who struggled with a position change last season, recording 34 tackles, 5.0 sacks and 1 forced fumble.

Another alternative might be to restructure Barwin’s contract, an idea the eight-year veteran seemed open to at one point. Yet what even is his value to the Eagles? To put into perspective how ineffective Barwin was after the move to defensive end and a 4-3 alignment, he graded 31st out of 32 qualifying players in pass-rush productivity. Expanded to include the entire league, teammate and noted draft bust Marcus Smith fared better.

As much as Barwin might like to stay, it’s unclear whether that’s in the Eagles’ best interests, even at a reduced price. Moving on makes sense.

With that in mind, you have to wonder what kind of market there will be for Barwin’s services. Sure, if he were a free agent, numerous teams would inquire, as Eckel’s source suggests. As far as a trade, though, it’s difficult to envision there being much of a market.

Whether Barwin is a better fit for a 3-4 defense or not, there are a combination of factors working against him. His lack of production in the Eagles’ scheme in 2016 is not completely irrelevant, especially given his age. In fact, $7.75 million is expensive for Barwin regardless.

Barwin earned a big raise after racking up a career high 14.5 sacks and generally being one of the most disruptive edge defenders in the NFL in 2014. Yet in his other three seasons with the Eagles, he has 17.0 sacks total. While rushing the passer isn’t all Barwin does – or even what he’s best at – that’s the ability teams are typically willing to pay the most for.

There’s one more potential issue with a trade. The Eagles might want that $7.75 million in cap space as soon as possible, at least as long as they intend to do anything significant in free agency. That means the club can’t necessarily afford to hang on to Barwin and dangle him in the hopes another team wants to trade a late-round pick for an aging player with a steep price tag.

Is Barwin going to be a coveted player this offseason? Absolutely, and he’ll perform well in the right situation. Could a trade theoretically get done along with a restructured contract? That might be the only way it happens.

There are a lot of moving parts here, and with free agency set to open on March 9, not a great deal of time remaining to get all of this done. Just because a player will draw a lot of interest as a free agent doesn’t mean teams will be lining up to make a trade, and the Eagles might be best served to cut the cord quickly and get cash on hand.

Rating the Rumor: Plausible, but logistically problematic

Joel Embiid expects 90 percent of his tweets to go viral

ap-joel-embiid.jpg

Joel Embiid expects 90 percent of his tweets to go viral

One of the things that I love about Joel Embiid is the fact that it seems like every day we find another reason to love him even more.

Today's entry comes from a profile in GQ magazine in which he talks about plenty of things. But it was one of the first things he was asked about his Twitter account that had me rolling once again.

How do you find out if one of [your tweet] has gone viral, then?

Joel: I think 90 percent of them [will be viral]. That’s the expectation.

Amazing. The thing is, I don't know if he's giving himself enough credit. ONLY 90%????

Oh, and he subscribes to the Jah Rule school of thought: WHO CARES?

"Then I had so much time, too, because I missed that whole year and the second year after, so I didn’t have anything to do," Embiid said. "[I’d] just go on social media and converse with fans, make crazy jokes, and tweet crazy stuff because I don’t care. I say whatever I want to."

His critique of other players' boring Twitter accounts is also incredibly on point:

What do you mean some guys are always tweeting the same thing?

Joel: Bullshit like, “Game Day!” “It’s a great game.” I don’t know. They’re all the same. It’s boring.

Amen.

The whole Q&A is worth any Sixers fan's time just to get to know a little more about Jojo. Be happy he's ours. And pray he stays healthy so he can take his game on the court to the same level as his game off of it.

Eagles-hater Pete Morelli allowed to referee future Birds' games

usa-pete-morelli-nfl.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles-hater Pete Morelli allowed to referee future Birds' games

If you like penalties and hate the Eagles, you clicked on the right story.

Alleged Eagles hater Pete Morelli will be allowed to referee future Birds' games after the league found no signs of bias towards the Eagles. 

How's this for bias? In a Week 6 win over the Panthers, the Eagles were flagged 10 times for 126 yards. Compare that to the Panthers' one penalty for one yard and you see the problem.

But it wasn't the first time Morelli got flag-happy against the Eagles. In Morelli's last 4 Eagles' games — all away from the Linc — his crew has thrown 40 penalties for 396 yards to opponents' eight penalties for 74 yards. I'm not a numbers guy, but something seems off here.

In true Philly sports fashion, the Eagles will now reach the Super Bowl where Morelli and Co. will be waiting to rain yellow on the field, leading to an Andy Reid-led Chiefs' victory where Reid orchestrates an efficient two-minute game-winning drive, perfectly utilizing all three timeouts.