Why trading for Frank Clark would make perfect sense for the Eagles

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Fresh off a 13-sack season in Seattle, 25-year old defensive end Frank Clark represents perhaps the biggest name available heading into the draft. After being slapped with the franchise tag earlier in the offseason, it appears the talented pass-rusher has fallen out of the Seahawks’ favor after his recent contract demands. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Clark reportedly won’t attend any offseason workouts- voluntary or mandatory- unless inked to a long-term pact.

While Seattle would like to retain the productive edge rusher, team General Manager John Schneider is on record saying that the team will entertain offers for the former second-round pick. Possessors of a league-low four total picks in the upcoming draft, Seattle’s willingness to deal for more draft ammunition is certainly understandable. Furthermore, it sounds as though a late first-round pick would be enough to land Clark.

When discussing a potential move on NFL Network, Ian Rapoport stated Seattle may look to fetch a first-rounder and that such a move would “clearly affect the back half of the draft.” For those keeping score at home, the Eagles own the 25th overall selection this year, making them prime trade partners should they have interest- which they absolutely should.

One of just seven active NFL players to record 9+ sacks in each of the last three seasons, Clark is exactly the type of productive pass-rusher the Eagles desire. The former Michigan Wolverine is explosive off the snap and relentless in his pursuit of quarterbacks. He’s also versatile, having the ability to rush from both the left and right side- a trait that is sure to attract DC Jim Schwartz. Clark is also a high-character locker room presence, often drawing praise for his work ethic from coaches and teammates.

So why is he available?

As I mentioned earlier, the Seahawks literally own a mere four picks in the upcoming draft and are desperate to add more as they look to fill some glaring roster holes. Additionally, Seattle currently totes less than $10M in cap space and simply can’t afford to offer Clark the type of extension he seeks.

If a late first-round pick is all it takes to land the talented 25-year old, I think the Eagles should be all over it. Quite frankly, I’d hardly be surprised if the Eagles decide to pursue Clark, as these are the type of situations when Howie Roseman pulls off the improbable and reminds us that not all heroes wear capes.

No stranger to the trade market, Eagles GM Howie Roseman can once again pull off his patented move of acquiring a discontent, talented player and putting them in a much better situation in Philadelphia- both on-field and financially. Clark simply wants to be compensated fairly for his impressive efforts on the field and has yet to formally demand an inflated record-shattering contract of any kind. If there is one front office executive that could manipulate the cap to squeeze another Pro Bowl talent on the roster, it’s Howie Roseman.

Roseman has worked tirelessly all offseason, clearing roughly $21M in cap space so far, and presumably fully intends on spending big this spring. Roseman has proven that he can appease players on relatively team-friendly contracts and should have little trouble doing so again if able to acquire Clark. Trading for and subsequently extending Clark to lower his cap hit over the next several seasons would be another stroke of genius for the cap wizard Roseman.

Dealing for Clark wouldn’t be star hunting simply for the sake of star hunting either, as the Eagles have placed an emphasis on maintaining strong defensive end depth.

Last season, the Eagles intended on unleashing a fearsome rotation of Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, Derek Barnett, and Chris Long before a Barnett injury hindered their plans. Seriously. Philly isn’t satisfied simply being formidable at the position, they want to be loaded- preferably bordering overkill. While the current tandem of Graham, Barnett, and Vinny Curry is certainly nothing to scoff at, it doesn’t seem like a finished product for a team that values the position so highly. A trade for Clark would vastly improve the position outlook for the Birds and help them achieve ‘overkill’ status once again as they prepare for war in the competitive NFC.

Much like the Bears when they acquired Khalil Mack last offseason, a trade for the talented Clark would propel the Eagles defense from great to downright elite and would make them heavy favorites to compete for the Lombardi trophy. Adding Mack to an already impressive front resulted in Chicago ranking as the #1 defense by season’s end. Slotting Clark beside Graham, Jackson, and Cox could see Philly experience a similar boost in performance and allow Schwartz to be far more aggressive in his playcalling. In the era of superteams, the Eagles know they have to be loaded- not just good- if they want to compete and trade for Clark would make them just that.

From a draft perspective, parting with the 25th overall pick wouldn’t limit the Eagles ability to move up in the draft should they desire, as they still own two second round picks this year. Should a player they’re enamored with fall late in the opening round, the Eagles could easily trade back into the first to select him. Heck, they could even trade back into the first round then couple the acquired first rounder with a player like Rasul Douglas or Sidney Jones to move into the mid-to-late teens of the draft. These aren’t just Madden-themed trade ideals crafted for comical purposes either. Alternatively, these are possible luxuries afforded to a team in possession of three picks in the first two rounds.

Either way, Clark’s time with Seattle is likely coming to an end soon and when the dust settles, don’t be surprised if the talented pass-rusher is donning Midnight Green. Draft season always generates a few surprise blockbuster deals and this year could see the Eagles emerge as NFC favorites as a result.

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