Some people are penciling in a second straight blockbuster trade between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans. One year after stealing A.J. Brown seemingly out of the blue on draft night, could general manager Howie Roseman be at it again?
It’s possible. One thing no one will ever do is expect Roseman to sit on his hands. While the names have changed – Ran Carthon is the new general manager after the Titans fired Jon Robinson last December, after the Eagles beat them 35-10 thanks to a 119-yard, 2-touchdown performance by Brown – the main phone number at One Titans Way in Nashville remains the same.
Eagles stealing another Titan?
The Titans could also be facing a similar dilemma to the one which pried Brown free. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons has scrubbed his social media clean of Titans references in what many see as a clear sign he’s angling for a trade.
The 25-year-old starter is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie deal, one that would pay him $10.753 million in 2023. Simmons wants a long-term financial guarantee from Tennessee, and it was supposed to be the “first order of business.” He’s still waiting for pen to hit paper, although the front office doesn’t appear to be in panic mode.
“I asked him for a hug,” Carthon said, via Jim Wyatt. “He gave me a hug, so I think we’re good.”
Spotrac estimates a contract extension for Simmons at $21.6 million per year or 4 years at $104.44 million. That’s roughly the same per-year amount outgoing free agent Javon Hargrave got from the San Francisco 49ers. One key difference: Simmons (25) is 5 years younger than Hargrave (30), with a much higher ceiling.
Pro Football Focus ranked Simmons as the No. 9 interior defender in football during the 2022 season and handed him an 81.1 overall grade, which was two spots above Hargrave (78.2). The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder recorded 7.5 sacks in only 15 games as he battled a nagging ankle injury while earning a career-best 79.3 pass-rush grade. Simmons now has 16 sacks over his past two seasons, along with 30 QB hits and 108 tackles (21 for loss).
Making Financials Work, Giving Up Draft Picks
It doesn’t take a genius to see how valuable Simmons would be to the Eagles’ defense. He’s incredibly quick and pleasantly versatile, a guy who switched from five-technique to nose tackle on a whim in college. He thrives in a 3-4 scheme which should be the base defense run by new defensive coordinator Sean Desai in Philadelphia.
So, as Sports Illustrated’s Ed Kracz mentioned, Simmons would be a “dream come true” for the Eagles assuming they could broker a sweet deal with Tennessee. Remember, the price tag is going to be steep in terms of a long-term contract, coupled with the inevitability of giving up a first-round pick, likely the No. 10 overall pick in April.
Is he worth it? Sure. Simmons is better and more polished than any defensive tackle on the board in 2023. However, the Eagles are looking to work out an extension for Jalen Hurts who could soon become the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. There is only so much money to go around. There are only so many contracts to restructure. Hurts is the top priority for the Eagles.
“We want him here long-term. It’s going to be a priority for us to extend him,” Roseman said of Hurts, via The Inquirer’s Josh Tolentino. “You have to navigate the offseason understanding that we’re not going to lose our franchise quarterback with one year left on his deal.”
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