Courtland Sutton to the Eagles? 3 reasons why it makes sense

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Broncos vs vikings
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 8: Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown during a game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on January 8, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles have been very busy during the opening days of free agency but with the new league-year officially arriving, Howie Roseman is about to really put his foot on the gas. The Eagles could be in a prime spot to poach some players from teams in need of cap relief, and there’s one wideout they should have circled in red – Courtland Sutton.

The fit

Quez Watkins has been a serviceable slot receiver during his time with the Eagles, but serviceable just doesn’t cut it anymore. In a year where the offense exploded, those minor errors and concentration drops were magnified ten-fold. Watkins has all the speed in the world but without the cherry on the cake, the Eagles may decide to look elsewhere.

One option the team has toyed with for years now is a big-slot receiver. Zach Pascal was the closest they got in 2022 at 6’2, 214 lbs, and while he was efficient, it’s clear that once again, mediocrity is no longer the baseline.

Enter Courtland Sutton.

The Broncos wideout might not be the first name you think of when imagining slot receivers, but his athleticism is off the charts. He’s 6’3 but gets separation as if he was 5’11. With 4.5 speed at his disposal, soft hands, and the ability to go up and snag a ball out of the air in-line with A.J Brown’s, Sutton ticks every box that Philadelphia has on its WR checklist.

He played around 10% of his snaps last year from the slot and there is no reason he couldn’t be the perfect complement to Brown & Smitty.

Cap space loopholes baybay

So, why would the Broncos let Courtland Sutton walk? Well, Denver is going through somewhat of an identity crisis recently and is apparently shopping receivers to teams such as New England. Maybe it’s a cap thing, maybe it’s not.

As far as Sutton goes, that checks out. He carries a cap hit of $18M in 2023 (ouch) but the Broncos have an out at the end of the season. If they no longer like what they see, they can simply bid him farewell without having to pay $26M of base salary that’s still on the table. He’s the second-biggest cap hit that the Broncos have and 8th biggest at WR. If Denver is simply looking to cash in while they can, who could blame them?

The question then becomes whether Howie Roseman is a savvy buyer. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s traded for a star wideout only to restructure a mess of a contract within a heartbeat of the move being announced to facilitate his arrival. If the Eagles could get Courtland Sutton to agree to a deal with a $7-8M average, who would really say no?

Sutton has never surpassed the 900-yard mark, although it’s not like he’s had stellar QB play to support him. This could be a value play for the Eagles if they are indeed willing to swallow an up-front cap hit and can restructure that deal to essentially give Sutton either a prove-it contract, or a lighter, long-term deal that suits him and reflects his current value.

All-in on longterm defensive stalwards

Trading for Courtland Sutton would also tick a need off of Howie’s offseason shopping list. The Eagles need to replenish DT, LB, and CB spots through the offseason and have two first-round picks at their disposal. The more they can tick off now, the more picks can be used to find cornerstones of the defense for years to come.

Can the Eagles afford Courtland Sutton?

What would it take to land Sutton? Musket Fire reported that a second-round pick would be good value, but the Broncos are in dire need of depth on both offensive and defensive lines. Perhaps Derek Barnett and a fourth-round pick?

I’m spitballing here, but if they’re asking for a first for Jerry Jeudy, then realistically Courtland Sutton should cost a second-rounder at MAX. This should open the doors for Howie to pry away what would be just as much of a salary-cap dump for them as much as it would be a chance to hit reset.