Regardless of injury, Philadelphia Eagles should still trade for Earl Thomas

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Though he may miss the rest of the regular season and almost all of the postseason, the Philadelphia Eagles should still make a trade for Earl Thomas.

At this point, even Philadelphia Eagles fans have to feel sorry for soon-to-be former Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas.

After taking part in what’s been described as a ‘soft holdout‘ following failed contract negotiations over the summer, Thomas knew that his tenure as the final member of the Legion of Boom was swiftly coming to an end, and either by trade or by free agency, he would inevitably be on a new team in 2018.

For a rebuilding team like the Seahawks, he was the lone piece of value on an otherwise green unit and could help to rebuild a collapsing roster with a blue-chip prospect. Setting their asking price high, allegedly turning down a second-round pick from the Dallas Cowboys, Thomas’ preferred destination, roughly a month earlier, it looked like the team was gearing up to move on from their three-time All-Pro following a Week 4 bout against the Arizona Cardinals.

That now seems like a distant memory.

As anyone who’s reading this probably already knows, Thomas suffered an essentially season-ending leg fracture in Josh Rosen‘s first professional start, finishing out the season with three interceptions and 16 tackles. The lasting memory of Thomas giving the Seahawks a middle finger will certainly be burned in the minds of the 12th man for years to come.

However, that may not be the end of Thomas’ season after all.

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According to Ian Rapoport, Thomas will be out for the remainder of the regular season and almost the entire postseason, but could be ready to go for the Super Bowl should the Seahawks be in the game (Spoiler alert: they won’t).

But you know who could be? The Philadelphia Eagles.

In case you’ve forgotten, the Eagles secondary has had a rough go thus far in 2018, especially after losing Rodney McLeod to a season-ending MCL tear in Week 3. With Corey Graham elevated to a starter and Avonte Maddox forced to switch positions from corner to big nickel safety, the Eagles gave up 344 yards through the air and an absolutely unconscionable first down to Taywan Taylor in overtime to effectively squelch any chances of an overtime victory.

The team needs help in the secondary and could certainly use a player like Earl Thomas, so why not make a trade for Earl Thomas himself?

I know what you are thinking and I totally agree that this is a wild idea, but thanks to a new rule passed this offseason, it’s one that could pay major dividends moving forward.

At the offseason meetings, the Denver Broncos submitted a new rule to allow teams to trade a player who’s on IR. While this is a move that will likely only be utilized a handful of time moving forward, as teams seldom want to acquire a hurt player, it does open up the possibility for a Super Bowl hopeful (Philly) to bring in a player like Thomas for a heavily reduced asking price without having to waste a regular season roster spot.

For the low, low price of a conditional Day 3 draft pick, maybe as low as a seventh rounder, the Eagles could likely pry Thomas away from the Hawks and bring him into the Nova Care Center to continue his rehabilitation. Though he wouldn’t be able to help with his play on the field, he could certainly provide insight to the Eagles young secondary, and add some more championship prestige to the roster while on the mend from his second fracture in three years.

And if the Eagles are able to beat the odds and make it back to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row, they could potentially start a first ballot Hall of Famer across from Malcolm Jenkins on the game’s biggest stage.

Last season, the Eagles signed former Giants tackle Will Beatty down the stretch and he only logged 40 snaps in route to his second professional Super Bowl. While Beatty theoretically could have been called into action had either Lane Johnson or Halapoulivaati Vaitai suffered a season-ending injury, the team gave him a roster spot to essentially serve as an insurance plan should disaster strike twice.

Adding a player like Thomas would also essentially serve as an insurance policy, only for the team’s return to the Super Bowl.

If the Eagles are bounced from the playoffs early? Well, I guess they didn’t need Thomas after all, but if they somehow are able to get back to the big game and Earl is ready to go? Well, we could be looking at arguably the best late-season addition to a championship roster of all time for a conditional pick.

And after the season, Thomas would be free to sign wherever he likes, be that Philly, Kansas City, or even Dallas, that is, if Philly doesn’t give him the franchise tag.

But why would they?

With Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins both signed through the 2020 NFL season, Philly really doesn’t need to bring in another long-term safety on a big money deal, they just need some help to bolster their defense this season. While this theoretical move is far from a short-term fix if Howie Roseman is serious about bringing a second Lombardi Trophy to the City of Brotherly Love, he should finally give fans what they’ve wanted since 2010: He should make Earl Thomas a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Will it happen? No, probably not. But it is 100 percent possible under the NFL’s current rules and as we saw last year with the deadline Jay Ajayi trade, thinking outside the box can seriously help a team win championships.