The Philadelphia Eagles have a Super Bowl contender in place thanks to some wise roster construction by general manager Howie Roseman.
The executive has been no stranger to pulling off some trades to get to this point. His wheeling and dealing is the reason they have A.J. Brown, a key player who helped elevate their passing game last season, and why they’ll have Jalen Carter on the roster.
The 2022 trade with the Saints paid off with a top-10 pick this year, and a trade up let them move to No. 9 to take the talented Georgia defensive tackle.
So while it’s likely that the Eagles roster is pretty much set, a shocking trade can’t be ruled out. With Jalen Hurts’ contract extension out of the way, Roseman can focus on maximizing his roster, and that could mean considering a few trades during this quiet part of the offseason.
Here’s a look at three possibilities that are at least worth exploring.
Trade for Budda Baker
Jalen Hurts and the offense are fun, but the Eagles also have a nasty defense that can make life hard for any offense.
It would be even better if they could add a playmaking safety like Budda Baker to the mix.
The Philadelphia defense is built on the front lines. The Eagles had 70 sacks last season, and they continue to make investments up front, drafting Carter and Nolan Smith to give them another pair of young pass-rushers.
All of that pressure leaves a ton of opportunities for defensive backs to make plays. That’s why C.J. Gardner-Johnson had a career-high six interceptions.
Gardner-Johnson was not brought back, though. He signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency. The Eagles have replaced him by signing safeties Justin Evans and Terrell Edmunds.
Budda Baker would be a massive upgrade over both of them, though. The five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection is a versatile chess piece who could fill the role of Gardner-Johnson as a safety who can also play in the slot.
The Cardinals are in the middle of a transition as Jonathan Gannon has taken over as the head coach and Monti Ossenfort has taken the reigns as the general manager.
Baker, 27, has already made a trade request. While ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the reason for the request was his desire to be the league’s highest-paid safety, he might be willing to play at a lower rate for a winner.
That’s exactly what the Eagles are, and he could help take the defense to an even higher level.
Trade Quez Watkins
Quez Watkins was fourth on the team in receiving yards and still has one year left on his rookie deal, so it would be a little shocking if the Eagles were to trade him.
Then again, it would save them $2.7 million against the cap and Watkins was not an efficient fourth option in the offense last season.
The 24-year-old couldn’t build on his strong 2021 campaign in which he had 43 receptions for 647 yards. In 2022, he caught just 33 of his 51 targets for 354 yards.
It’s notable that he went from 9.2 air yards per reception in 2021 to 6.3 air yards per reception in 2022. Watkins is at his best as a deep threat when he can use his 4.35 speed to get open on long routes.
With A.J. Brown on the roster, a lot of those deep targets are being funneled in his direction. So while some of Watkins’ drop in production is on him, he just doesn’t have the same role now that Brown is the team’s top receiver.
So trading Watkins is something that would be good for all parties involved. Perhaps Shane Steichen would be interested in bringing him to Indianapolis. He wouldn’t have the same overlap with Michael Pittman Jr., and Steichen knows what Watkins can do from his time in Philly.
The addition of Olamide Zaccheaus renders Watkins nearly obsolete in the receiving corps this season. If the Eagles can get anything in return for Watkins, it’s worth doing.
Trade for DeAndre Hopkins
A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smtih are already one of the best receiving duos in the NFL. Adding DeAndre Hopkins to the mix would make them unstoppable.
It’s a long shot and the financial side of things would be difficult to sort out, but let’s think for a second about how difficult an Eagles offense with Hopkins would be for opposing defenses.
Hopkins only played in nine games last season due to a suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy, but he still finished with 64 catches for 717 yards and three touchdowns.
Like Baker, Hopkins is with an Arizona team that is going through the transition of a new head coach and general manager with a quarterback in Kyler Murray who is coming off a major knee injury.
In an appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast, Hopkins included Jalen Hurts as one of the top five quarterbacks he’d like to play with (h/t Ari Meirov of The 33rd Team).
Hopkins has been a speculative trade candidate all offseason. A trade to Philadelphia would be difficult. According to Spotrac, Hopkins’ new team would be on the hook for a two-year, $34.3 million non-guaranteed contract if he were to be traded.
It’s a lot of money for a team that’s already on a tight budget, but this is an Eagles team that’s incredibly close to winning a Lombardi Trophy. Adding Hopkins to the mix might push them over the top, and that’s worth a cost-benefit analysis.