Eagles

Pros and cons of Eagles’ potential trade for Jadeveon Clowney

Pros and cons of Eagles’ potential trade for Jadeveon Clowney

I logged off Twitter the other night to escape the same question I’ve been asked about a million times in the last month and then I got a text message from a good friend: 

“I need Jadeveon Clowney.” 

As this Clowney saga has unfolded in Houston (where I briefly covered Clowney, by the way), Eagles fans have taken notice more and more. There’s a three-time Pro Bowler being dangled in front of you like a steak in front of a hungry dog. I get it. 

It still seems like Miami is the front-runner to land Clowney and the Dolphins seem to think that way too. But if the Eagles want to be in play here, they can be. They have the cap space ($17.9M) and they have the ammo to get a deal done with the Texans. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, but it means it could if the Eagles and Howie Roseman want it. 

This whole situation is a tricky one for several reasons. For starters, Clowney hasn’t yet signed his franchise tag, so he basically holds veto power, while Bill O’Brien clearly wants to trade him. The Texans have no GM after firing Brian Gaine; Clowney has no agent after firing Bus Cook. 

All of that makes this whole thing so interesting and unpredictable. 

With that in mind, I made a pros and cons list for the Eagles about a possible trade for Clowney: 

Pros

Clowney is good

This one seems pretty obvious, but it’s the main reason why you’d want to trade for the 26-year-old. While he’s never had a double-digit sack season, Clowney has been a Pro Bowler in each of his last three seasons and does have 18 1/2 sacks in the last two years. There’s a reason he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2014; he’s an absolute freak athlete. I only got to cover Clowney briefly in Houston because of his microfracture injury as a rookie, but he’s one of the most athletic players I’ve ever seen. 

Since coming into the NFL, Clowney has played in Houston’s 3-4 as both an outside linebacker and a defensive end, but I have no doubt he’d be able to play DE in the Eagles’ 4-3 scheme. He’d be fine. 

Eagles lack depth at DE 

After Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett, the Eagles lack depth at defensive end. Vinny Curry returned as the third DE, but after that they have unproven depth with Josh Sweat, Daeshon Hall and Shareef Miller. The Eagles went into the 2018 season with the same starters, but originally had Michael Bennett and Chris Long coming off the bench. This is a significant drop-off this year. 

Texans are in a bind 

The Texans have sort of backed themselves into a corner here and everyone knows they want to trade Clowney. From a leverage standpoint, that’s not great for them. On top of that, head coach Bill O’Brien is the acting general manager. So if there were to be an Eagles-Texans trade, one side has a guy with basically no GM experience and the other side has one of the shrewdest GMs in the league. Advantage Eagles. 

Clowney wants to come here 

While the Dolphins have been given permission to speak to Clowney, he would reportedly prefer to go to a contending team. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, two of Clowney’s preferred destinations are Seattle and Philly. Normally the player’s preference doesn’t matter all that much, but since Clowney hasn’t signed his franchise tender yet, he holds veto power. That’s huge leverage in this game. He can basically steer the trade in the direction he wants it to go. 

Cons 

Clowney is good, not great 

While Clowney has been to the last three Pro Bowls, he has never had a 10-sack season. And despite how athletic and freakish he is, he has never really lived up to his potential. Sure, he’s a good player, but is he great? This is where we bring in the questions about his buying in and work ethic. It’s clear that Clowney and O’Brien don’t mesh and it would be important for the Eagles to figure out how Clowney would fit here. There’s a reason the Texans never gave him a big contract, right? Because eventually, you would presume, the Eagles would want to sign him to a long-term deal. They have to determine if he would be worth that. 

He’d take snaps from Graham/Barnett 

The main reason Chris Long didn’t return to the Eagles was because he wasn’t prepared to take a very diminished role in the defense. If Clowney comes here, he needs to start, which means sending either Brandon Graham or Derek Barnett to a diminished role. The Eagles paid Graham this offseason and Barnett was a first-round pick not that long ago. The addition of Malik Jackson has changed the potential workload for that third defensive end this season because in past years, a DE would slide inside on third downs in the NASCAR package, creating opportunity for the next DE. But Jackson will stay on the field on third downs this year. Their top pass rush group now would be: Barnett, Jackson, Fletcher Cox, Graham. If Clowney comes, he'd be on it. 

What’s the price? 

You’re not going to get Clowney for nothing. The Eagles would have to give up something significant to bring in the Pro Bowl player. How much? That’s hard to figure out. On 97.5 TheFanatic Wednesday morning, Wilson said the Texans are open to a “reasonable” deal, which could mean a second-round pick and a player or two. That definitely seems reasonable, but that’s not how negotiations usually work. The Texans would be crazy to at least not start discussions with a first-rounder. We’ve all heard the names associated with this potential trade (Big V, Nelson Agholor, etc.). The Texans need a tackle, receiver (specifically a slot guy) and running back. The Eagles have a surplus of all three. 

And then there’s the literal price. While the Eagles have the cap space to make this deal, Clowney would take up almost all of it. It’s not like a team loses cap space if they don’t use it; it simply rolls over to the following year. 

No negotiations until after season 

We mentioned that if the Eagles trade for Clowney, they’d probably like to sign him to a long-term contract. The problem here is that because Clowney would be playing on that franchise tag, paying him around $16M in 2019, the Eagles wouldn’t be allowed to negotiate until after the season. So this would be a one-year rental with the hope they’d be able to keep him after that. And the better he plays, the higher that price tag climbs. 

Conclusion 

I still doubt the Eagles will trade for Clowney, but I would never count out Roseman. The part that should intrigue the Eagles is that the Texans are really backed up against the wall without much leverage and with an inexperienced GM. If the trade price is as low as Wilson hinted, the Eagles would have to be interested. At the very least, they should be doing their homework.

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Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Four years ago, when Rodney McLeod became a free agent for the first time in his NFL career, one of the reasons he wanted to join the Eagles was for the chance to play next to Malcolm Jenkins. 

And for the last four years, he did. The two formed a safety tandem that played 49 regular season games and four playoff games, including Super Bowl LII, together. 

But now Jenkins is back in New Orleans with the Saints and the Eagles are preparing to play without him for the first time since 2013. Meanwhile, McLeod signed a two-year deal to return to Philly. 

On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, McLeod said he learned a lot from Jenkins over the past four seasons. 

What were some of those lessons? 

Just as a competitor,” McLeod said. “And then the ability to get the most out of guys, whether it’s on the defensive side or from an entire team standpoint. I think as a leader, that’s your kind of job. How can you get guys to play at the highest level and get the most out of your players. I think he was one of the best at doing that and understanding everyone … I learned a lot from him. 

“Not just on the field but off the field, the way he handled himself and what he did in the community for the city. I’ll always admire him. It’s hard to match. But like I said, his legacy will live on. The Saints are getting a good guy. Now, us as Eagles, playing with a new group of guys and we’re ready to move forward.

There’s no question that the Eagles are going to miss Jenkins’ contributions on the field. They will use some combination of Jalen Mills and Will Parks to replace him at that position and that won’t be easy. 

But the Eagles will also miss the leadership Jenkins brought to the locker room. He wasn’t just the leader of the secondary or even just the defense; Jenkins was oftentimes the key leader for the entire team. That’s hard to replace too. 

It’s not that McLeod, 29, hasn’t been a leader during his first four years in Philly. But now that role might need to expand and will become more important with the absence of Jenkins. 

“I think it’s important for me to be myself and be who I’ve always been,” McLeod said. “And that’s a guy that leads by his actions and leads by example. I think if you ask a lot of guys on the team, that’s what they’ll tell you most. Actions sometimes speak louder than words. I think there will be times for me to speak up when needed. When my teammates need me most, I’ll be ready to do that.”

For the most part, McLeod has been the quieter of the two safeties and Jim Schwartz has previously called him the calming presence in the defensive backfield.

But McLeod can speak up too. 

It’s really just about finding a balance between his two sides and putting the lessons from Jenkins into practice in 2020. 

“Myself, being a leader on this team for some time, will of course be asked to step up as well as other guys from a defensive standpoint and on the team,” McLeod said. “I think we’re prepared for that. And guys will be willing to step up to the plate and accept the challenge. Myself first and foremost.”

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Carson Wentz’s 3rd annual AO1 softball game canceled

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AO1 Foundation

Carson Wentz’s 3rd annual AO1 softball game canceled

Carson Wentz’s AO1 Foundation has canceled its 2020 softball game that was scheduled for May 8 at Citizens Bank Park. 

The foundation says the game will return in 2021. 

The AO1 Foundation said the following in a statement: 

“We canceled the game because we are taking the COVID-19 situation very seriously. We were looking forward to an event that brings the Philadelphia community together to have fun and help others, but the health and safety of our supporters is of utmost importance to us.”

All purchased tickets will be refunded. Expect it to take 5-7 business days for that credit to appear in accounts. If there are questions about the refund process, the AO1 Foundation asks you contact the Phillies at tickets@phillies.com. 

In the first two years, this softball game has raised $1.35 million for the AO1 Foundation, which launched in 2017. Last May, there were 15,000 fans at Citizens Bank Park. 

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