The Ronald Darby Trade was a Move the Eagles Had to Make
So after a couple days to fully process the Eagles trade of Jordan Matthews, and a third round pick, to the Bills for corner Ronald Darby, I’ve come to the conclusion that this was a move the Eagles simply had to make.
Well for a few reasons.
1: The ability to really compete right away
Every year during training camp all fans of their teams start talking themselves into their respective team winning 9 or more games. It’s just what fans do. But how could the Eagles realistically compete in the loaded NFC East with such a huge hole on it’s defense. No matter what kind of leap Carson Wentz makes in year 2, all that can be negated by the corners getting torched. We can all be as high on the pass rush as we want, but as we saw against Green Bay last season, a great pass rush can be neutralized by quarterbacks getting the ball out of their hands quickly thus forcing corners to make plays. The Eagles didn’t have the guns to seriously do that and if you want the Eagles to win now– than this was a no-brainer kind of move.
Also let’s not think the Eagles front office didn’t look around what’s happening in the NFC East and think they may have a window of opportunity here. We all know what’s happening in Dallas and I thought it was funny that the trade was completed just a little bit after the Zeke suspension came out. The Giants have major offensive line issues, but two big time wide receivers that the Eagles are going to have to face twice this season. And finally, you have the Redskins, who are just an embarrassment of a franchise that is either going to let Kirk Cousins walk for nothing this offseason or make him the highest paid QB in the NFL. They also lost one of their best defensive players, Trent Murphy, for the season over the weekend.
Getting Ronald Darby makes your football team better in a way that Jordan Matthews couldn’t do. Darby has a chance to be a legit starting corner in this league for the next 5-8 years. Good corners don’t just grow on trees, like we’ve seen here. Getting a corner like Darby for a third round pick and expiring contract in Jordan Matthews is a bit of a steep price, but they weren’t going to pay Matthews and Darby is way better and more of a sure thing than any third round pick.
Matthews is a fine player that made key drops when you really needed him. It’s not like he’s irreplaceable. With Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith here we were going to see a reduced role from Matthews this season anyway. With the way the Eagles offense is set up, it felt like Zach Ertz was going to be more of their slot receiver regardless. I’m pretty confident that the combination of Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Ertz and Trey Burton will be able to shoulder the load if need be. No-brainer.
2. Getting back to team building instead of band-aids.
Andy Reid believes in building a team you must invest in QB, two tackles, two pass rushers and two corners. The Eagles have the QB, they have one of the two tackles long term and Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett look like they may be a force. The one area this team lacked, from a team building standpoint, was the cornerback position. But now look at this thing on paper. The Eagles next season could have Sidney Jones, widely regarded as the best corner in the draft, starting opposite of Ron Darby, who will only be 24, with Rasul Douglas, who showed some flashes in the first preseason game and Jalen Mills, who will be served best as a rotation corner and not a starter, coming off the bench. That’s a solid, solid young core that will give the Eagles steady hands at the position for the first time since Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown were manning it. All of a sudden corner may be an area of strength for the Eagles.
The Eagles made a major move over the weekend. It was a move that not only helps this team compete right away but also puts them in a position of strength going forward. You’re kidding yourself if you think the Eagles can’t manufacture the “production” Jordan Matthews put up in his first 3 years here.
This was another win for Howie 2.0.