As if the hype train surrounding Minkah Fitzpatrick wasn’t big enough, enter one of the league’s brightest young stars in Jalen Ramsey. After getting into a shouting match with Doug Marrone on Sunday, the cornerback has requested a trade, with Jacksonville looking for at least a first-round pick in exchange for his services. The Eagles are said to be interested in Minkah Fitzpatrick, but will this tilt the scales?
Why would it?
If there’s one thing we can all take away from the opening two games of the season, it’s that there may once again be an underlying problem in the secondary. It’s hard to point the finger at a particular player or the scheme when it’s a combination both that saw this team rank 25th in interceptions and 30th in passing yards allowed last year. Through two weeks, Philly have allowed the second-most passing yards in the NFL…and frankly, that cannot continue, regardless of the reason.
Minkah and Ramsey are two very talented players who bring different skillsets to the table and would fit different roles in the secondary.
Minkah, for instance, automatically has a connection to Eagles’ special advisor Matt Burke, who was his defensive coordinator in Miami last year. He would also fit the role of the ever-versatile Malcolm Jenkins, a player who the Eagles haven’t approached with regards to a reworked contract, a hot topic this offseason.
|Defensive Line (Edge Blitz/TE coverage)||23|
After this year, the Eagles Safety position is clouded in uncertainty. Malcolm Jenkins will be pounding the table for guaranteed money, Rodney McLeod’s contract is up and he’ll join Andrew Sendejo and Jonathan Cyprien in looking for a new deal. Minkah has four years left on his rookie deal, will cost next to nothing in comparison to the players aforementioned and even then, the Eagles have the fifth-year option available. This would be a long-term band-aid, giving some much-needed stability at the position…but it’s not an area of weakness as of right now.
Enter Mr Ramsey. Ronald Darby was eaten for breakfast and spat back out again by the Falcons receivers last night and the rest of the corners have had tumultuous starts to 2019, with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Like Safety, the Eagles don’t really have starting corners (Mills and Darby) beyond 2019 (Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas would be expected to step up however) The difference here is, although depth is thin, there’s a young, hungry talent pool that is itching to prove its worth.
Another factor is the caliber of player. Minkah has been a victim of terrible coaching decisions, leading to his play all over the field, something he’s been very vocal about wanting to see change. Whereas Ramsey, at age 24, is a Pro Bowler and a renowned star. DeAndre Hopkins said he’s his favorite corner to play against due to just how physical and aggressive he plays.
And then there’s this…
There is the potential drama element but the Eagles have already proven to be a fire brigade for Diva personalities. The main thing to bear in mind is that Jalen Ramsey wants a big-time payday. Can the Eagles afford to give him what he wants after this year? There’s the fifth-year option and franchise tag available, but then you’re spending a lot of money at a position where the Eagles have been very tight with spending as of late. Outside of Ronald Darby, every corner on the roster aside from Cre’Von LeBlanc is on a rookie contract and has grown under the gaze of Jim Schwartz.
The Eagles have to be careful here. The salary cap wizard will be firing all the engines to try and make a move possible, and who could blame him? But at the end of the day, with Wentz’s contract now on the books and big names like Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson likely seeking new deals soon, they have to verge on the side of caution. It’s why they’ve kept over $20M spare coming into this season.
Then there comes the question of ‘what do the Eagles give up?’ If you trade for Ramsey, it’s likely going to be a first and a player. I think trading Rasul Douglas to Jacksonville and giving him a chance to actually thrive as a starter as opposed to a track record of being buried on the depth chart without logical reason in Philadelphia, would make sense and definitely sweeten the deal. The Jags will want draft capital (as mentioned in the initial report) and the Eagles, who are now building for the future while buying the present (see Andre Dillard, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Miles Sanders), may not want to part ways with anything that will chain them down long-term.
As for Minkah, the Dolphins are in full tank and may want even more draft capital because of how cheap and how long Fitzpatrick’s contract is. They won’t want players if they’re fully bailing on the season and that would sway me back in the way of Jalen Ramsey.
Two different players, two different positions, one secondary fix. If you want to mortgage the future to secure a certified star in the hopes that the player fixes the schematic secondary lapses, it’s a big gamble. I think it’s just as much on the scheme as it is the players and if they play Jalen Ramsey 8 yards off the ball then oh no, we have a problem.
However, if the Eagles want to add surefire depth to a position that will have next to none of that next season, then it makes sense to push really hard for the player with the attractive contract who comes to the team two years younger and with a very versatile skill set.
Who do you want the Eagles to trade for? Would you rather they don’t trade at all? Let us know!
Liam is a 24-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.
You can contact him here: Phillysportsnetwork@gmail.com