Last week I spotted a couple faint plumes of smoke on the horizon that indicated, at least slightly, at a potential Russell Wilson-Eagles trade blaze.
It felt like we were just starting to get a whiff of something at the time, but now, a day after the NFL trade deadline, we have even more smoke and this thing is starting to feel like it's got a real spark.
ESPN insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen linked up for a podcast Tuesday evening in which they broke down the impending quarterback frenzy that we'll likely see this offseason, as three big names - Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson - could change teams.
Watson's situation, with unresolved sexual assault allegations, is not clear. The situations of Rodgers and Wilson are more so: they're veterans who aren't terribly happy with their current situations, Rodgers because of organizational distrust and Wilson because of a floundering Seahawks team.
And the Eagles just happen to have a bevy of high-quality draft picks coming to roost this spring.
Here are the key portions of what Mortensen and Schefter discussed on the podcast:
"MORTENSEN: I think the Philadelphia Eagles are a fit [for Wilson] there. If they get that pick from the Colts - with Carson Wentz, that second-round pick can become a [first]...
"Either way, the Eagles have a cache of first-round draft picks, and there's no question in my mind that Russell Wilson would top their list.
SCHEFTER: The Eagles could have three Top 20 first-round picks. Nobody would have more ammunition to go get a quarterback than the Philadelphia Eagles. Jalen Hurts, to date, I don't think has convinced them that he's the guy, right? So Russell Wilson in Philly. Can you see that, Mort?
"MORTENSEN: Yes I can. And look, I know Jalen - I hope he is the guy, but so far they're not convinced. He has the rest of the year to try and persuade them, convince them that he is the guy. Let's face it: you still get to the point where, hey, Russell Wilson is - we believe - a future Hall of Famer, and still in his prime. If you have that chance to get that type of player, you get that type of player."
When two guys with the level of access that Schefter and Mortensen have are talking about a scenario like this, even if it's not concrete-style hard reporting, they're coming at it with a ton of inside information. Mortensen saying he can see Wilson in Philadelphia? Yeah, this isn't just smoke anymore. This is some real stuff.
Later on, the two were discussing the 2022 NFL Draft class and the quarterbacks who will be available in the first round to a QB-needy team like the Eagles. Mortensen dropped this interesting nugget about Howie Roseman's approach:
"The Eagles, we think, would much rather go the veteran route than take a shot at this quarterback class. There's some good ones, but are there going to be some great ones?"
Interesting. It's still just early November, so you don't know how different risers will be viewed by the draft community in January, but for now this seems to be the consistent message: 2022's quarterback class is weak. That'd be tough timing for the Eagles... if it weren't for this very strong class of seemingly available NFL quarterbacks.
Now, I'm still of the opinion that getting rid of all three first-round picks would be a bit misguided. The Eagles need young and cost-controlled talent, particularly if they want to go out and break the bank on a guy like Russell Wilson.
But... as Mortensen said, if you can go get Wilson, you should go get Wilson. He's a franchise-changer, and as we watch quarterbacks play at an elite level later into their late 30s, him turning 33 this month isn't too concerning. He's still playing at a very high level - he had a 10:1 touchdown to interception ratio through five games - and could turn the Eagles into contenders.
The Eagles still have nine games left in the 2021 season, but those already feel like afterthoughts as this buzz gets louder and louder.
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