Philadelphia Eagles: So, about that Chuck Clark trade offer

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

In case you haven’t heard, the Philadelphia Eagles have officially signed ex-New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry to a one-year, $10 million contract.

This addition, which was heavily lobbied for by fans and team members alike, immediately upgrades the Eagles’ secondary to an impressive degree and should allow Jonathan Gannon to play the two-deep safety, zone heavy look he desperately wanted to field in 2021 but simply didn’t have the personnel to accomplish.

Factor in the one-two punch of a pair of ex-Georgia Bulldogs added to the front seven and the addition of Temple product Hasson Reddick as a hybrid rusher coming off the edge, and the Eagles’ defense is looking pretty darn good, maybe not quite up to their 2017 standards but darn close.

And yet, there’s one position that remains a bit too light for some fans’ favor: Safety.

While Anthony Harris returning is totally fine, as he was an average starter in 2021, some question whether Marcus Epps is ready to take on a full-time starting role at free/strong safety, as even though his production was on point last season, he’s never played more than 506 defensive snaps as a pro.

Could it all work out? You bet, but maybe, just maybe, Howie Roseman would be wise to look into his other options, as the rest of the defense is very much of playoff-caliber.

Fortunately, there is, or at least was, an offer on the table to secure a solid do-it-all safety via the Baltimore Ravens, who wanted nothing more than a much-maligned former first-round pick out of TCU for his services. With the rest of their wide receivers room looking very good indeed, maybe the Philadelphia Eagles should circle back to that particular trade conversation and see if they can make a deal Monty Hall-style.

Chuck Clark would really put the Philadelphia Eagles’ secondary over the top.

Chuck Clark was never an overnight success.

He wasn’t a five-star recruit coming out of high school, failed to hear his name called on Day 1 of the draft coming out of Virginia Tech, and didn’t immediately start at safety for the Baltimore Ravens after falling to the team at pick 186 in 2017.

No, time and time again, Clark saw the field because he put in the work and made it impossible to keep him on the bench.

While he didn’t start as a rookie in the Charm City, Clark saw action in 15 games, largely on special teams, and continued to fill whatever role he was tasked with until 2020, when he not only started all 16 games for the Ravens but was on the field for 100 percent of their defensive snaps.

Whether tasked with playing on the free side, or the strong side, in the box, in the slot, or deployed deep, Clark found ways to contribute in a positive way and provided the Ravens with plus play in a variety of different ways, including 283 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, five picks, and 28 passes defensed over just 79 regular season games.

This play helped to earn Clark a three-year, $15.3 million extension that runs through the 2023 NFL season and a presumed spot in the starting lineup indefinitely, but when Kyle Hamilton, the supremely talent Notre Dame safety, fell to Baltimore at 14, one pick after the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jordan Davis, that came into question. With a cap hit of just $4.6 million in 2022, Clark wasn’t suddenly an albatross around the Ravens’ neck, but after trading away the team’s top wide receiver, Hollywood Brown, on Night 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft, the thought of parlaying their soon-to-be-former starting strong safety into help on the perimeter became enticing.

That is when Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta reached out to Howie Roseman about making a deal, with Jalen Reagor the other player discussed. Sure, Reagor has been sort of bad as a pro, but he would have a much better shot at seeing the field in Baltimore than South Philly and could theoretically prove a good buy-low candidate if he can figure it all out.

At the time, the Eagles turned down a potential deal, but if DeCosta called again, would the results be the same? Maybe, but they shouldn’t be.

I mean, think about it; the Eagles have been on a bit of a talent hunt at the wide receiver spot over the past few weeks, signing Fresno State product Keric Wheatfall coming out of Rookie Minicamp and then claiming Josh Hammond off of waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars. With five wide receivers more or less locks to make the roster this fall in A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Zach Pascal, Quez Watkins, and Greg Ward, why would the Eagles continue to target pass catchers when Reagor should have a stranglehold on that sixth and presumably final spot on the depth chart?

Maybe it’s because the upgrade of Clark over Epps – and, in turn, Epps as safety three over K’Von Wallace, Wallace as safety four over Andre Charchara, etc. – is much more impactful than the difference between Wheatfall, Hammond, or Oregon wide receiver-turned-Olympic hurdler Devon Allen versus Reagor at WR6.

Next. Signing James Bradberry is a compounding victory. dark

Should the Philadelphia Eagles target an upgrade at safety heading into the summer? Yes, yes, they probably should; outside of Anthony Harris, the rest of the Eagles’ secondary is incredibly unseasoned, and adding another vet could prove valuable down the line. But should Chuck Clark be that player? That, my friends, is a very good question indeed. Unless the Eagles really want to just shout Yolo and make a trade for Jessie Bates III, flipping a bottom-of-the-roster wide receiver, regardless of where he was drafted, for a starting safety seems like a pretty good swap indeed.