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Did Eagles drop the ball on Jalen Ramsey? | Early Birds

Should the Eagles have traded for Jalen Ramsey? The arguments for and against.

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey talks with defensive coordinator Todd Wash on the sideline during a game against the Denver Broncos.
Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey talks with defensive coordinator Todd Wash on the sideline during a game against the Denver Broncos.Read moreDavid Zalubowski / AP

Good morning, Eagles fans. For some, it hasn’t been a good week after the Birds laid an egg against the Vikings on Sunday. To make matters potentially worse, fans clamoring for Howie Roseman to trade for top cornerback Jalen Ramsey had to endure the Rams swooping in for the former Jaguars player Tuesday evening. I’ll weigh in on the deal and whether the cost was rightfully too steep for the Eagles further down, but Ramsey’s move to Los Angeles may only intensify the pressure on Roseman to add someone before the Oct. 29 trade deadline.

The Eagles, meanwhile, begin preparations for their biggest game yet. The Cowboys await Sunday in Arlington, Texas, and first place in the NFC East -- at least for one week -- is on the line. The Eagles suffered a setback in Minneapolis, but Dallas has lost three straight. Both teams have taken different paths to 3-3, but either one can get an early leg up in the division with a victory.

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Jalen Ramsey traded to Rams: The arguments for and against

With two weeks until the trade deadline, the Rams pulled the trigger on a trade for Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Tuesday. The Jaguars received a first-round draft pick in 2020, a first-round pick in 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2021 in exchange for their 2016 first-round selection.

Multiple teams had made offers, according to various reports, including the Eagles. It’s unclear how serious general manager Howie Roseman was about acquiring Ramsey. He will often toss out low-ball offers to see if other teams will bite, but Jacksonville wasn’t going to part with arguably its best player for peanuts.

Roseman likely made a competitive offer. Since we’re chit-chatting in here, I heard through the grapevine that he might have offered two first-rounders in exchange for Ramsey and a second-rounder at one point. It sounds like an offer he might make -- giving his trade partner the sexy-sounding two firsts, while softening the blow for the Eagles by getting a two in return.

It doesn’t much matter now what he dangled. Ramsey is parting the 2-4 Jaguars for the 3-3 Rams and seemingly a chance to play in the postseason. Los Angeles had cleared a spot at corner and on the roster by dealing Marcus Peters to the Ravens earlier in the day.

There could be arguments made for and against the Eagles outbidding the Rams, or at least matching their offer. The obvious case for revolves around personnel. Yeah, duh. Eagles cornerbacks haven’t been playing well.

Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones had rough outings Sunday against the Vikings and have been otherwise inconsistent. Ronald Darby and Avonte Maddox weren’t exactly playing well before injuries sidelined them. And Jalen Mills and Cre’Von LeBlanc have yet to play this season, although Mills will begin practicing Wednesday and could return Sunday.

Mills may need time to get caught up. He hasn’t played football in nearly a year since first injuring his foot. And while Mills is probably a better option at this point than either Douglas or Jones -- and the same could be said of Darby and Maddox, who has been playing in the slot -- not one of them has anywhere near the talent of Ramsey.

The Eagles do value cornerbacks, and trading for Ramsey would be in line with their organizational philosophy. He’s only 24 and the former fifth overall draft pick has seemingly yet to tap into his full potential. He’s already been named first-team all-pro (2017) and to two Pro Bowls (2017-18). He has good size (6-foot-1, 208 pounds) and has tallied 193 tackles, 9 INTs, and 44 pass break-ups in just his first three seasons.

But is he worth the cost? The Rams surrendered a lot of draft commodities for one player. The Eagles have one of the NFL’s oldest rosters, and with quarterback Carson Wentz’s expanding contract, they need to hit on more draft picks. First-rounders are relatively expensive, but the Eagles can trade out if they want to increase their picks. They’ve made only 10 selections over the last two drafts.

Ramsey is also going to command a massive contract extension, with significant leverage after the Rams forfeited their future. Mr. Brinks Truck will likely become the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. The Rams also just gave their quarterback a massive deal, but most fiscally-sound franchises don’t hand large pieces of the salary-cap pie to just a few players.

Especially players with prima donna reputations. Ramsey has been called a gamer, but would a gamer miss time with a suspicious back injury? The Eagles have handed out contracts to other marquee players who weren’t homegrown only to see it blow up in their faces. Could Ramsey have been another mistake?

Only time will tell.

Ramsey also isn’t the only cornerback the Eagles could trade for. There should be other opportunities before Oct. 29. But will they make sense for Roseman?

Only time will tell.

What you need to know about the Eagles

  1. From Les Bowen: Defending the indefensible: Eagles’ Jim Schwartz has a lot to answer for, but not a lot of answers.

  2. Eagles receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside sees his role diminish, but he’s learning, writes EJ Smith.

  3. Bob Ford asks: Are the Eagles on the way to becoming the Phillies?

  4. My what we learned following the Eagles-Vikings game.

  5. Mike Groh says long shots are going to pay off for the Eagles, sooner or later.

From the mailbag

Why is Carson holding onto the ball so long? Is no one open? — @Tunesnthoughts via Twitter

Nick, thanks for the question. I’m not sure what you’re seeing, but I don’t think Carson Wentz is holding the ball any longer than most quarterbacks. In fact, I’d argue he’s probably getting it out quicker than most. Pro Football Focus, for example, has Wentz clocked from snap to release at an average of 2.51 seconds. That’s tied for 14th fastest time among 38 quarterbacks who have started more than two games.

If Wentz does hold the ball for longer periods, it’s often because his receivers aren’t getting open or he’s had to escape the pocket to buy time. More often than not, when he does scramble, he makes a play. Have there been occasions when he’s held the ball too long and taken a sack? Sure. But I think I could count on one hand when that’s been the case.