Philadelphia Eagles: Roquan Smith is available? No need to even inquire

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the news of Roquan Smith requesting a trade would have put Philadelphia Eagles fans into a frenzy.

They would have championed Smith’s fantastic collegiate pedigree via a decorated tenure at the University of Georgia, lauded his NFL accolades with the Chicago Bears, and begged into the Howie Roseman void for the acquisition of the two-time second-team All-Pro.

And yet, Smith’s request becomes older every hour, and the outcry from Philly fans has been… sort of non-existent, right? Like sure, there will always be a few people who see any trade talks and want the Birds to get some skin – feathers? – into the game but for the most part, fans seem pretty much fine with keeping everything copasetic.

What gives? Have Philly fans gone soft? Are folks just coming out of their football hibernation and are not yet in “attack mode?”

Frankly, the answer is simple: The Philadelphia Eagles have finally addressed their linebacking corps.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a ton of talent in the middle of their defense.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: When the preseason comes to an end, and the Philadelphia Eagles trim their roster down to 53 players, they will say goodbye to at least one intriguing linebacker.

That’s… sort of new, right? Historically speaking, at least under Howie Roseman, the Birds have had a lack of talent, top-end and overall, in their linebacking corps and weren’t exactly releasing premier players due to a lack of available spots.

In 2022, however, at least one of the following players: Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley, Kyron Johnson, Patrick Johnson, and JaCoby Stevens won’t make it onto the 53-man roster due to the presence of T.J. Edwards, Nakobe Dean, Kyzir White, and Haason Reddick and may ultimately find themselves claimed by a team like, say, the Jacksonville Jaguars a la Jason Huntley in 2020.

That’s right, with four fresh faces filling out a decent enough collection of players headlined by Edwards, the “star” of training camp thus far, the Eagles suddenly find themselves flush with talent who can fill multiple roles, cycle in and out situationally, and, most importantly of all, be mixed and matched without creating clear negative mismatches.

While someone like Edwards may not be a prototypical “sideline-to-sideline backer” due to his lack of prototypical athleticism, he was great in zone coverage last year and should be able to stay on the field for everything but a Hail Mary. The same goes for White and Dean, a pair of “undersized” WILBs who are ideally suited for traditional defensive subpackages. Even if White never plays a down of goal line work, and Dean is only used if things get super heavy, neither is truly deficient against the run and thus can play together from time to time instead of being cycled in and out of the game as 1a/1b.

Factor in the addition of Reddick, who has reportedly been a surprisingly effective player dropped into coverage and the rush-y reserves, Johnson and Johnson, tasked with duking it out behind him, and the Eagles can quite literally go two deep at every position and still keep a player like Bradley around as a four core special teamer.

All things considered, that is very good news.

Next. T.J. Edwards’ path from UDFA to training camp star. dark

So Roquan Smith, good luck with your trade request; it does seem like the Chicago Bears aren’t negotiating in good faith, and finding a new team willing to give you the bag you’ve clearly earned is a worthwhile endeavor. Unfortunately, that new destination likely won’t be in the City of Brotherly Love, as the additions of Hasson Reddick, Kyzir White, Kyron Johnson, and your fellow Georgia Bulldog Nakobe Dean likely rule the Philadelphia Eagles out of any trade talks.