It didn’t make sense then and it doesn’t make sense now.
And Howie Roseman finally admitted it.
He also acknowledged — though in a roundabout way — that the Eagles may have made a mistake by giving up on Eric Rowe so quickly.
When Roseman was asked earlier this month at a rare media availability about the team’s decision to trade the promising second-round cornerback to the Patriots just a year after drafting him, his answer was that the Eagles were concerned about being able to re-sign him when his contract expired.
Which is after the 2018 season.
“When we sat down and discussed the offer, we really started thinking about the likelihood that we had to sign him to an extension,” Roseman said on Jan. 4.
“We want to build this team with some continuity. We felt at that time that we were not going to sign him to an extension and to be able to get that value for him and possibly add someone who would be here for a longer period of time made sense for where we were. ”
As we all know, Rowe became a key figure on the Patriots’ defense during the second half of this season and played well during the stretch run.
He played 60 of 69 defensive snaps in the Patriots' win over the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, intercepted Ben Roethlisberger and had a 37-yard return late in the game. He also had four tackles and two pass knockdowns, one in the end zone.
Rowe was just 23 when the Eagles traded him, and now cornerback is one of the team’s two biggest needs going into the offseason.
Roseman appeared on the 94 WIP Morning Show on Monday and brought up Rowe before he was even asked about him.
“You’ve got to give me a chance to correct my answer on Eric Rowe from that press conference because this is what happened,” Roseman said.
“Yesterday my 9-year-old son said, ‘Dad, I didn’t really understand your answer from that press conference.’
“When the 9-year-old boy doesn’t understand the answer it’s probably a problem. I said the reason you didn’t understand was because it wasn’t coherent. It didn’t make any freaking sense.”
Along with Patrick Chung, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola, Rowe is one of four Eagles castoffs who will face the Falcons in Super Bowl 51 in Houston in two weeks.
So why did the Eagles trade Rowe?
“I think it’s good to just go back to the process,” Roseman said. “So it’s the first week of the season and we get this offer and it’s the Patriots and we’re not sitting there thinking, ‘We’re getting one over on Bill Belichick,’ maybe the best evaluator of defensive backs in the history of the NFL.
“What we were thinking about was where he was on our depth chart. At that time the starting three guys were Nolan (Carroll), Leodis (McKelvin), Ron Brooks. Jalen Mills at that point in camp had beat him out, so he was the fourth guy, and then when we spoke with our coaches, they said that Malcolm (Jenkins) would be the next guy in the slot. So for where we were and what his role was at the time, we thought it was pretty good value.
“For them to give up that kind of pick — a fourth that could be a third — we knew they had a role for him. We knew that there was going to be an opportunity, and we’ve got to do what we think is best for us.”
Roseman on Monday morning didn’t exactly admit the Eagles made a mistake by unloading Rowe at a point when the team was desperate for talented young cornerbacks.
But he came close.
“We probably make 50 decisions a year that are really real decisions that we sit down and make,” he said.
“To say that we don’t go back and think about them and think about whether they were right? That’s part of it, you know? You want to hit as many as you can, but when you’re watching games of other players that you’ve had here, that’s the hard part about doing it.”
At this point in the interview, Roseman jokingly asked WIP Morning Show host Angelo Cataldi for a beer and seemed to hint that being drunk may have helped him get through watching Rowe in the AFC Championship Game.
“That’s why Sundays … that’s why you’ve got to watch some of these games like that,” he said. “It gives you an opportunity to reflect. At the same time, you’ve got to get guys who fit your scheme, that make sense for the Philadelphia Eagles, and I think that’s the most important thing.”
Roseman also addressed the notion that he got rid of Rowe because he was a Chip Kelly draft pick and he wanted to rid the roster of as many Kelly players as possible.
“That’s false,” he said. “We want good players. I don’t care where they came from. …
“I think for us, when you get a guy like (Kelly draft pick) Jordan Hicks and the role he contributes for our football team and what kind of character he has, football character, personal character.
“As many good players as we can get on the Philadelphia Eagles — at the end of the day, we’re responsible for the team and they’re part of our team and it doesn’t matter where they came from.”
Asked about Kelly's getting fired by the 49ers a year after he was fired by the Eagles, Roseman said this: “Never like seeing people lose their jobs in the National Football League. It’s a tough business, no question about it. It’s a tough time of year.”