The rumors surrounding Jessie Bates and the Eagles have been swirling over the weekend, but does a trade make any logistical sense? It’s time to take a deeper dive into the situation.
The initial trade
If we take a look back at recent DB needle-movers, it becomes clear that the Eagles will need to give up something significant to get something significant. This isn’t like an A.J Brown situation where the team had just drafted an immediate replacement (Sorry, Dax) and were keen to cash in as opposed to already opting to pay him $13M on the franchise tag. The Bengals could facilitate an extension, it’s just whether or not they’d want to. They also know that interested parties will have to pry him away from a franchise that is coming off of a Super Bowl appearance. The Bengals won’t go down without a fight.
The Jets traded Jamal Adams to the Seahawks in 2020 for a pair of first-round picks and some change.
The Dolphins traded Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2019 for one first-round pick and some change.
Like both of those players before him, Bates enters this stage of his career knowing full well that he’s one of the most impactful safeties in the game. A 2023 second-rounder and a player (take your pick from Andre Dillard, Miles Sanders, Jalen Reagor, Isaac Seumalo) should do the trick, but they could give up one of their firsts if absolutely needed knowing that they have another and that their roster is way ahead of schedule on the path back to a Lombardi.
This is ultimately where the fun begins. Jessie Bates switched agents not too long ago to the same man, David Mulugheta, who helped both Deshaun Watson and Jalen Ramsey find new homes. That last one is very important, as Ramsey is a DB who was in a relatively similar spot and ended up securing a $71M bag.
Budda Baker and Kevin Byard also signed big-time contracts under his guidance and in fact, both of those players rank inside the top 4 for average salaries at the position. Justin Simmons leads the way with $15.25M, while Baker and Byard are both averaging over $14M.
Realistically, Bates is still a young safety. He’s only 25-years-old and is already ascending up the pecking order at a rapid rate. Paying him a huge amount of money could be seen in two ways. It’s an overpay due to a recency bias, or it’s banking on his development continuing at the current rate and carrying over onto a new team, new scheme, and a fulfilled dream with a shiny new deal.
According to Spotrac, the Eagles have around $4M in cap space. Their 2023 cap space is currently -$10M. Could a deal be worked out? Sure. But they’d have to move some money around pretty sharpish and that may involve a shock move.
They’d probably need to pay Bates a contract worth around $65M over 4 years (4th highest-paid safety in the NFL), with an average of $16.25M per year.
The real question is whether or not it’s worth it.
Should the Eagles go all-in?
If you had asked me a month ago, it would’ve been a resounding no. But this roster has somehow shot upward in terms of trajectory. I honestly don’t know how the stars aligned so well and the team does lack any long-term security at the position, with both starters set to hit the open market next year.
If they can make it work, then they should take a swing. Bates is a young player who can grow with the youthful core of this team and enjoy his prime years in consistent playoff contention in what should be an easier division. The only question is whether Bates would prefer to jump ship from a team he was a buck short of winning a ring with, or wait it out in hopes they recognize his worth.
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