When looking at the NFL hierarchy, few teams, if any, are set up as well as the Philadelphia Eagles are going forward. They came into the season with the NFL’s ninth-youngest roster and have a great corps of young stars like Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Josh Sweat, among others.
And the rich should get even richer thanks to the frequent wheeling and dealing by general manager Howie Roseman, one of the NFL’s most aggressive front-office minds.
The Eagles have the unheard-of distinction of playing in the NFL’s championship game and having a premium pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, thanks to a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Saints before the 2022 draft.
In fact, it was that very trade that helped the Eagles make the leap from being a fringe playoff team to a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Even more impressive was how the groundwork for this deal was laid in 2021, thanks to Carson Wentz of all people.
Let’s revisit, shall we?
Before the 2022 draft, the Eagles held the No. 19 overall pick following a 9-8 2021 season that saw them make the NFC playoffs as the No. 7 seed and get shellacked by the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card round.
However, the Eagles also held the No. 16 pick after trading Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in Feb. 2021. Indianapolis traded a conditional 2022 second-round pick and a 2021 third-round selection to Philadelphia in exchange for Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in 2016 who’d fallen out of favor due to performance and the rise of 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts. That conditional pick became a first-round selection because Wentz played 75% of Indianapolis’ offensive snaps in 2021.
Now, back to the Eagles-Saints deal.
On Apr. 4, 2022, Philadelphia agreed to trade the 16th and 19th picks, along with a sixth-round pick (No. 194 overall) in the 2022 draft to New Orleans in exchange for five draft picks, which were:
- The 18th overall pick in the 2022 draft.
- A third-round draft pick (101st overall) in 2022.
- A seventh-round pick (237th overall) in 2022.
- A first-round pick from New Orleans in the 2023 draft.
- A second-round pick from New Orleans in the 2024 NFL draft.
The Saints made the deal to acquire more 2022 picks in hopes of trading up for a franchise wide receiver, which they accomplished after sending a package to Washington for the No. 11 pick, which turned into Ohio State wideout Chris Olave.
The real key here was the 2023 first-round pick, which has since become the No. 10 overall pick after the Saints floundered to a 7-10 finish. To their credit, Olave had a great rookie season, despite Andy Dalton being his quarterback, and he even finished as Pro Football Focus’ 18th-best wide receiver. While New Orleans gave up a ton to get Olave, perhaps this will end up being a good deal for both teams.
While the Eagles are playing in the Super Bowl with much of their corps intact for the foreseeable future, this pick could determine how consistent of a title contender they’ll remain in the coming years.
A big reason for that is the potential for the Eagles to lose several key players in the coming years due to retirement, especially along the defensive line where Fletcher Cox (32), Brandon Graham (34), Linval Joseph (33), Ndamukong Suh (36), and Robert Quinn (32) are all getting up there in age, while Javon Hargrave is set to become a free agent.
Other key players who are likely nearing the end of their time in the NFL include center Jason Kelce (35), left tackle Lane Johnson (32 and has had plenty of injury woes), and cornerback Darius Slay (32).
Even for a team as good as the Eagles, that’s a lot of potential holes that could emerge over the next few years, so having a top 10 pick, along with their own first-round selection that will be No. 31 or 32, will help them reload rather quickly.
Heck, knowing Roseman, he’ll trade down with that top 10 pick to acquire more early-round selections to continue filling holes that emerge and ensure there’s very little, if any, drop off in the coming seasons.
This is how dynasties are made.