Philadelphia Eagles: The Michael Bennett trade was an absolute disaster

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

While losing Malik Jackson is a major blow for the Philadelphia Eagles, it hurts a whole lot worse after preposterously trading Michael Bennett to the Patriots.

Howie Roseman‘s decision to trade Michael Bennett to the New England Patriots may be his worst move as the Philadelphia Eagles general manager.

Worse than allowing Chip Kelly to release DeSean Jackson. Worse than trading down to select Marcus Smith two rounds too early. And dare I say, even worse than drafting Danny Watkins 23rd overall in 2011.

Why? Because those moves at least made (the tiniest bit of) sense at the time.

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Was waiving Jackson a horrible idea? Totally, but Roseman was clearly on the outs with his new head coach and folded to the pressures of Kelly’s gimmicky game. And what about Smith? While he wasn’t considered a player worth being selected in the first round by pretty much anyone – as Smith was projected to go in the 3rd-4th round by’s Nolan Nawrocki – he was viewed by many as a legit starting-caliber rusher after logging 16 sacks in the ACC as a Louisville Cardinal.

Even the decision to fortify the offensive line with a late first-round pick by selecting Watkins – red flags and all – made sense at the time – especially when you consider it was Andy Reid who ultimately made the pick, not then-second year GM Roseman.

The decision to trade Michael Bennett, on the other hand, made basically no sense at the time and has already aged horribly six-months later.

After rotating in and out of Jim Schwartz‘s line rotation in 2018 – logging 716 snaps in 10 starts – Bennett created a fuss over a perceived lack of a future featured role and publicly asked for a pay raise on the NFL’s Good Morning Football. While Roseman probably could have fought a little harder to keep Bennett happy and engaged, he instead turned his eyes to the draft and executed his second trade in as many years involving the player affectionately known as Black Santa to those dastardly Dunkin’ loving Patriots – 14 months removed from their Super Bowl win.

Now I may be naive, but that just feels wrong.

Granted, netting a fifth-round pick for a player who could have forced his release isn’t nothing, but it’s not like the Eagles have even been that successful picking players in the fifth round over the last couple seasons. Shelton Gibson is on the Cleveland Browns‘ practice squad, Wendell Smallwood is a member of the Washington Redskins (despite a leading the team in rushing from 2016-18), and Nathan Gerry didn’t make the initial 53-man roster in 2017.

I mean 2019 fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson is a member of the Dallas Cowboys‘ practice squad in 2019 for crying out loud – that’s just pathetic.

Outside of Halapoulivaati Vaitai, the Eagles most successful fifth-round picks of the decade are Dion Lewis and Dennis Kelly – both of whom currently play for the Tennessee Titans and didn’t find legit success in Philly.

Talk about a discouraging track record.

But maybe I’m being too hard on the decision. Maybe Roseman saw a player like Malik Jackson on the way out in Jacksonville and believed that the team would be better off with a genuine pass-rushing threat next to Fletcher Cox over Bennett and Timmy Jernigan – a regular two birds with one roster spot scenario – but even before the ex-Jaguar went down with a season-ending injury in Week 1, that feels offensively misguided.

Is Bennett better than Jackson? Probably, but it’s close. Is Bennett better than Akeem Spence, Hassan Ridgeway, an over-the-hill Vinny Curry, and whomever else the Birds rotate in to generate pressure in the middle plus a 2020 fifth-rounder?


After starting the year with basically no cap space, the Eagles have amassed almost $15 million in cap room as per OverTheCap through Roseman’s shrewd re-negotiations. While that money could be effectively used to swing for a superstar trade, like, say, for shutdown cornerback Xavien Howard (more on that here), it also could have paid Bennett’s $7.2 million cap hit in 2019 with plenty of money to spare for another mid-season move.

Next. A Xavien Howard trade could fix Philly’s CB woes. dark

While hindsight may be 20-20, if you could have asked Philadelphia Eagles fans back in March which they would rather have in September, $15 million in cap space and a 2020 fifth-round pick or Michael Bennett under contract, it’s hard to imagine anything other than an avalanche of support for number 77.