Philadelphia Eagles: Keep a close eye on the Julio Jones situation

(Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)
(Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images) /

While the NFL isn’t as player-centric as the NBA, where a star player can effectively force themselves out of even the most secure of contracts – I’m looking at you, Ben Simmons – star players can still occasionally work their way off of a team, especially if the feelings become mutual.

It happened all the way back in 2005, when Terrell Owen‘s driveway crunched his way out off the Philadelphia Eagles‘ roster, and can even happen in reverse, as New England saw all too well with the relationship between Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft.

Why, you may ask, am I bringing up a situation that, by my own admission, doesn’t come up all too often? Well, because Mike Vrabel just talked some absolute shi- talk aimed directly at Julio Jones, the Tennessee Titans’ superstar wide receiver they just traded a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for his services.

That’s… not great.

Factor in Jones’ ineffectiveness in the passing game, hauling in three catches on six targets for 29 yards and no touchdowns, and Jones’ tenure in Tennessee may not extend through the final two-plus seasons of his three-year, $66 million contract.

Fortunately, if that day does eventually come, the Philadelphia Eagles have a deep enough talent pool to swoop in and secure Jones’ services, even in 2021, where they are pretty darn tight to the salary cap ceiling.

The Philadelphia Eagles have the assets to be players on any trade they please.

Howie Roseman is a huge fan of trades.

He’s traded up in the NFL Draft, traded down in the NFL Draft, traded for franchise quarterbacks, and even traded away a franchise quarterback on at least one occasion, depending on how you feel about Michael Vick, Sam Bradford, and Nick Foles.

Have all of Roseman’s trades worked out? Obviously not. Flipping a fourth for Genard Avery looked really bad, even at the time, as was trading for Golden Tate in 2018, and he will forever be known as the man who signed Carson Wentz to a $100 million-plus contract only to draft his eventual successor and then trade him away one offseason later, leaving him with the largest dead cap hit in NFL history in the process.

Jeez, how has Roseman been able to hold onto his job with a resume of stinkers like that? Well, because he’s also made some really good moves that have aged amazingly in addition to being one of the best cap wizards in the biz. He traded two seventh-round picks for the draft rights to Jordan Mailata, who just inked a massive contract extension, landed Darren Sproles for a fourth-round pick and turned him into a player, and made a momentum-changing move with the Miami Dolphins to add Jay Ajayi at the 2017 NFL trade deadline, which vaulted the team over the top on their way to Super Bowl 52.

So, regardless of how you feel about the value of these – and the rest of the – trades Roseman has pulled off over the years, do you really think he wouldn’t dive headfirst into the deep end of the trade block if the Philadelphia Eagles are in first place come late October?

If that does happen, football gods willing, the veteran GM has put himself in one heck of a position to make a move, as the Eagles have a ton of assets to play with on the trade market.

Could that player be Julio Jones? Maybe so. As improbable as it may sound, Jones would only count for a pro-rated chunk of his $1.3 million base salary, as the Falcons are currently straddled with the bulk of his original deal in the form of dead money. While the Eagles’ proverbial wallet is rather light at the moment, they can certainly afford that hit without having to rapidly shed contracts to make the deal done.

A few months back, the Eagles trading for Jones would have been borderline unimaginable. His total contract remains one of the biggest in the NFL, and the team wasn’t expecting to be particularly good in 2021 with first-year dead coach Nick Sirianni on the sidelines and (basically) first-year starting quarterback Jalen Hurts under center.

I know a one-game sample size isn’t much to sneeze at, but if the Eagles can turn in a string of similar performances in the lead-up to the trade deadline, a spot in the playoffs might just be viable after all.

And hey, if Jones isn’t available or they feel confident with the wide receiving trio of DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Quez Watkins, they could surely cash in some future draft capital for a contributor at a position of need, be that a short-term rental on an expiring contract, or a player like Jessie Bates, who could be the team’s starting free safety opposite Rodney McLeod for years to come.

Either way, if the Eagles are close and the market is stocked, expect Roseman to go absolutely crazy in the lead up to 4 pm on November 2nd.

Jalen Hurts has already proven Chris Simms wrong. dark. Next

Professional football is a funny thing. Sometimes, teams people expect to be good end up being bad, and sometimes the underdogs catch a few lucky breaks on their way to a surprise playoff berth or, ya know, a parade down Broad Street. If the Philadelphia Eagles continue to impress and find themselves on the right side of that equation, they should be very well positioned to re-tool at the trade deadline and make a massive move to procure talent at a position of need. When you have nine draft picks to play with, including five in the first three rounds, you certainly are afforded that luxury.