As I’m sure that all other lifelong fans of the Philadelphia Eagles can relate to, I’ve experienced a long and extremely complicated relationship with the organization’s general manager, Howie Roseman.
On one hand, Roseman will always hold a special place in my heart for delivering the city of Philadelphia its first-ever Super Bowl champion roster.
On the other hand, Roseman has made some infuriating choices over the years (mostly in the draft room) that may very well have prevented the birds from winning another Lombardi Trophy.
However, putting the past aside for now; I’d be flat-out lying to you if I described the birds’ 2021 offseason as anything other than an absolute masterclass in terms of roster improvement.
In the span of only one offseason (that is still ongoing), Roseman and the Eagles have managed to lure in massive talents including the likes of: Hasson Reddick, Jordan Davis, A.J. Brown, Nakobe Dean, and James Bradberry IV.
On top of these massive acquisitions, Roseman also made a handful of lesser-scale moves with tremendous upside. Such moves include: signing both Kyzir White and Devon Allen, releasing and then re-signing Fletcher Cox to a cheaper deal, and luring in high-profile undrafted players such as Mario Goodrich, Josh Jobe, and Carson Strong.
So, having discussed the Eagles nearly perfect offseason thus far; are there any remaining holes on the current roster?
Aside from a lack of depth at some positions, the only glaring hole currently remaining on the Eagles’ roster is the safety position.
As of right now, the Eagles have Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, and K’von Wallace under contract as the team’s only three safeties with NFL experience.
Harris, an average player at best, is sure to be the bird’s starting free safety. As for the strong safety position, Marcus Epps is almost certainly set to start alongside Harris despite never proving to be more than a journeyman rotational piece among multiple teams. K’von Wallace, the backup to both Epps and Harris, has shown nothing thus far in his two league years to suggest that he is anything other than a moderately adequate backup.
So, what is the answer to the Eagles’ lackluster supply of current safeties?
The answer is simple; and his name is Jessie Bates III.
Who is he?
Jessie Bates III is a 25 year old free safety currently on the Cincinnati Bengals. He was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2018 draft, and has started for the team ever since.
Having played all but one regular season game over his four years in the league thus far, Bates has 10 interceptions and 408 combined tackles. On top of those numbers, Bates also was selected as a 2nd team all-pro for his excellent 2020 season. Needless to say, the young safety has quickly established himself as one of the premier safeties in the entire NFL.
Despite Bates’ excellent play since joining the Cincinnati Bengals, the team has been unable to come to terms with the star safety on a long-term deal. As such, the Bengals have franchise-tagged Bates for the upcoming 2022 NFL season; a move that Bates has openly voiced his displeasure with by threatening to hold out.
Seeing as though the Bengals are not prioritizing Bates long-term future with the team, coupled with the fact that Bates is threatening to sit-out the upcoming season with his current franchise-tag designation; the star certainly appears to be available for trade.
What Would It Take?
Gauging Bates’ trade value in this instance is a bit difficult when considering both he and the Bengals’ current circumstances.
At first glance, you’d think that a top-tier 25 year old safety would cost potential suitors multiple first-round picks; similar to the Jamal Adams trade between the Jets and Seahawks a few years back.
However, while Bates’ on-the-field value cannot be ignored, the Bengals do find themselves in a bit of a pickle with the entire NFL being made aware of Bates’ refusal to play under the franchise-tag.
Considering this massive detail, the asking price for Bates is likely far-less than you might have originally thought.
Considering the Bengals’ current state as an immediate contender, as well as the team’s desperate need for help on the offensive-line; I think I’ve managed to craft a trade proposal that could work for both the Eagles and Bengals.
That proposal is:
Eagles receive: Jessie Bates III (FS), and a 2023 5th round pick.
Bengals receive: Andre Dillard (OT), Isaac Seumalo (OG), Jalen Reagor (WR), and a 2023 3rd round pick.
This trade proposal is both entirely feasible and would be in the best interest of both the Eagles and Bengals.
The birds get a young and established top-tier safety without having to give up a premium draft pick. Also, the organization is equipped to provide Bates with the long-term deal that he is looking for. His youth and durability makes him the perfect player for the Eagles’ to bring in and assimilate with their young and growing nucleus.
On the other hand, Cincinnati gets a former first-round left tackle in Andre Dillard, and a solid (but injury prone) talent in offensive guard, Isaac Seumalo. Both Dillard and Seumalo have shown flashes throughout their careers, but have lacked any kind of consistency due to repeated injury.
On top of Dillard and Seumalo, the Bengals get former first-round pick Jalen Reagor as a throw-in, and a 3rd round pick in next year’s draft.
Put simply: the deal is an absolute no-brainer for all parties involved. Get it done Howie!