Jalen Ramsey

Howie Roseman explains what happened at NFL trade deadline for Eagles

Howie Roseman explains what happened at NFL trade deadline for Eagles

Howie Roseman began his year-end press conference by admitting the Eagles need an infusion of youth to the roster, so his explanation about why the Eagles didn’t pull off a blockbuster trade before the deadline was pretty predictable. 

They weren’t going to mortgage the future. 

Roseman seemed downright giddy on Wednesday over the promise of having 10 draft picks this year and, in hindsight, the fact that he wasn’t willing to part with multiple premium picks during the season isn’t that shocking. 

We were trying to be measured. You're talking about really good players. It would be silly for us to not get involved in those discussions, but there also has to be a walk-away number.

Specifically, Roseman was asked about two players: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick and CB Jalen Ramsey. Both were traded during the 2019 season. 

We can kind of read between the lines and figure out when Roseman was talking about each player. 

Minkah Fitzpatrick: It was back in September when the Steelers traded a first-round pick to the Dolphins (along with a later-round pick swap) for the then-22-year-old defensive back. Fitzpatrick went to Pittsburgh and immediately had an impact. He had five interceptions in 14 games with the Steelers — more than any Eagle has had in a season since 2016. 

So why didn’t the Eagles pull the trigger on a move for a 22-year-old defensive back who would have filled an obvious need now and in the future? 

“There's a lot of factors that go into trades, including for the other team: They [are] trying to project what the team they are trading with is getting,” Roseman said. “So if you have the same offer from two people, and you think one team going forward may have a different record than the other, that's going to factor into the equation. We weren't trying to sit on our hands on either of those two things, but you also have to be prepared to walk away.”

So let’s read between the lines here: At the time the Steelers made the trade, they were 0-2 and had just lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the season. So ask yourself this question: If you were Miami, which first-round pick would you have preferred at that point? 

Ultimately, the Dolphins made the right choice but it was a little closer than we expected. Miami ended up with the 18th pick from the Steelers, while the Eagles will pick at 21. So there’s a good chance the Eagles would’ve happily traded away the 21st pick for Fitzpatrick but that wouldn’t have been enough. The Dolphins likely wanted Philly to sweeten the deal and the Eagles just decided to walk away. 

Jalen Ramsey: In October, the Jaguars traded the then-24-year-old cornerback to the Rams for two first-round picks and a fourth. 

That’s a crazy price tag but you could make the case that it would have been worth it for the Eagles, who have struggled to find a lockdown corner for the last decade. Ramsey didn’t have as much success in LA as Fitzpatrick did in Pittsburgh but he’s still a great player. 

“Well, I would say to our fans and our organization, I'm always aggressive,” Roseman said. “At the same time, in calm times you have to set a level that you're comfortable with.”

Reading between the lines here, Roseman is basically saying, Sure, we would have loved to have a player like Ramsey but that price was just way too high.

Genard Avery: While the Eagles didn’t make a real blockbuster trade before the deadline, they did make a move. They shipped a fourth-round pick to Cleveland for second-year pass rusher Genard Avery. 

Roseman’s message about this move was pretty simple: Please don’t try to evaluate it yet. 

Sure, the Eagles traded a third-round pick the year before for Golden Tate but that was supposed to pay off immediately (it really didn’t), while Avery is more of a long-term project. 

“I think they are two different examples,” Roseman said. “I think Golden was more of a win-now kind of move. When we acquired Genard, we knew that to get the best of him would take an offseason.”

After the trade, Avery played just 33 snaps in eight games and was a healthy scratch in the playoff game. So early returns don’t look great. But he’s under contract for two more seasons, so maybe the Eagles can still make it work. Roseman said they understood they wouldn’t see the best from Avery until he had an offseason here.

More on the Eagles

We now know what Eagles reportedly offered for Jalen Ramsey

We now know what Eagles reportedly offered for Jalen Ramsey

We all knew the Eagles wanted Jalen Ramsey. Now we know how much. 

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Eagles offered the Jaguars a first and second-round pick for the Pro Bowl cornerback and “thought they had a chance to land him.” 

Unfortunately, for the Birds, the Rams came in with two ones and a four and got the player. 

The Eagles were unwilling to give up more than a one and a two, according to Schefter, who also said the Jags came back to the Eagles and gave them a chance to match the offer from Los Angeles. The Eagles declined. 

For what it’s worth, I’m on record saying I would have done the deal if I were Howie Roseman. Ramsey is still just 24 and in the prime of what could be a Hall of Fame career. Guys like that don’t become available very often. 

With that said, I also understand why Roseman didn’t pull the trigger. The Eagles have drafted just five players in each of the last two drafts and they paid their quarterback this offseason and need to supplement that contract with cheap players. 

“There is no disappointment,” Doug Pederson said earlier this week. “[It’s] hard to comment on that because obviously he's not on our team. Yeah, [I have] a lot of respect for him. [He is a] good player. [I’m] happy for the Rams obviously. He'll be a great addition. They have some corners that are banged up. They obviously traded one, so he'll fit in well there.

“Listen, we're getting guys back, too, on our team, and I'm excited about the guys we have coming back and getting in the mix. We're starting to get healthy as well, so that's the encouraging part from our side.”

Schefter also noted that the Eagles are getting healthy at their cornerback position. Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby are back or nearly back. Avonte Maddox is expected to return and Cre’Von LeBlanc could eventually return off IR. So help is coming this season. 

But I didn’t view Ramsey as simply a rental player. He could have become a cornerstone of the franchise, assuming they could re-sign him. Oh well. Roseman has nine days until the trade deadline.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

NFL trade deadline: 8 cornerback targets for Eagles with Jalen Ramsey off the board

NFL trade deadline: 8 cornerback targets for Eagles with Jalen Ramsey off the board

After Eagles fans had hoped for weeks that Howie Roseman would pull the trigger and land Jalen Ramsey, the Pro Bowl cornerback was dealt to the Rams for two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick on Tuesday night. 

We can all debate whether or not the Eagles should have paid that price — and that is a fun debate — but it won’t change anything. Ramsey is off the table and the Eagles have less than two weeks before the trade deadline on Oct. 29. 

Here are several other cornerbacks who might be available in a trade: 

CB Patrick Peterson (Cardinals) 
Peterson is 29, but it somehow feels like he’s been a rumored trade target for the Eagles for about 15 years. The former first-round pick has truly been a great player for a long time. He’s been in the league eight years and is an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. Peterson missed the first six games of the year because of a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, but he’s back now and ready to play. The Cardinals have been hesitant to trade him, but they’re 2-3-1 and rebuilding with a rookie quarterback. Peterson has one year left on his deal after this season. The price would be relatively high for him, but maybe the Eagles can get a few years of Peterson at a high level. 

CB Chris Harris Jr. (Broncos) 
Harris is 30 and in the final year of his contract, so he might just be a rental. The Broncos don’t seem eager to trade away players and they have won two straight games (2-4), but they should probably still sell. Harris worked his way from being an undrafted rookie to a four-time Pro Bowler. He’s been at his best as a nickel, but can play outside too. 

CB Xavien Howard (Dolphins) 
I don’t think Miami is going to trade Howard, but I’d at least make a call. He’s still just 26 and had seven interceptions in a Pro Bowl season last year. Howard has a knee injury right now too, which would be another hurdle. And the Dolphins did sign him to a big contract in May, so they seem to view him as a piece for the future. 

CB Desmond Trufant (Falcons) 
The Falcons fooled me again this season. I thought they were going to be good and they stink to the point where they probably should be selling. Trufant is 29 now and under contract for three more seasons. He’s pretty expensive, but he would help and Roseman can figure out the numbers. 

CB Josh Norman (Redskins) 
No, Norman isn’t what he once was with the Panthers, but he’d be an upgrade for the Eagles. There are some reasons not to make this move, though. He’s 31, has a loud personality and a bloated contract with another year on it after this season. But if the compensation is right, it wouldn’t be a horrible idea. 

CB Janoris Jenkins (Giants) 
Not sure how the Giants would feel about trading Jenkins in the division, but the 30-year-old is having a good season with three interceptions in six games. He has one more year under contract after this season with a salary of over $10 million next year, but the Eagles could get out of it or restructure. 

CB Trumaine Johnson (Jets) 
Johnson has a ridiculous salary after signing a five-year, $72.5 million deal last March and the Jets should be eager to dump that off. Heck, they benched him earlier this season. But maybe a change of scenery would do the 29-year-old good. 

CB Artie Burns (Steelers) 
The former first-round pick hasn’t played up to that status and has fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh. He’s also in a contract year, so the Steelers might want to get something for him before he walks as a free agent. It probably wouldn’t take much to get him to Philly. 

If the Eagles don’t trade for a cornerback, there are other positions that would make sense, too. Here are a few names I’d at least call about: EDGE Von Miller (Broncos), EDGE Vic Beasley (Falcons), EDGE Carson Dunlap (Bengals), DT Geno Atkins (Bengals), DT Leonard Williams (Jets), WR Emmanuel Sanders (Broncos), A.J. Green (Bengals), WR DeVante Parker (Dolphins). 

Roseman has pulled off significant moves in each of the last two seasons: for Jay Ajayi in 2017 and for Golden Tate last year. He has less than two weeks to get one done this year. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles