Should the Eagles explore the idea of trading for a big time cornerback like Patrick Surtain?

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 14: Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman is pictured prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles have been known to make some big trades over the last couple of years that no one is ever expecting. Both of those trades ironically happened during the NFL Draft which means that you can’t rule out the idea of fireworks over Philadelphia during this year’s draft. The first trade consisted of the Eagles acquiring a franchise-changing player in A.J. Brown.

Not only did they make the bold move in trading for the stud wide receiver but they also signed him to a 4 year, $100 million contract extension on the same night. It’s safe to say that the trade worked out more than just fine for both Philadelphia and A.J. Brown.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) making a one-handed catch to score a touchdown against Washington Commanders cornerback Benjamin St-Juste (25) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The next move was another surprising one where Philly traded for RB D’Andre Swift. The move benefited the Eagles greatly as they needed a replacement for Miles Sanders but the offense struggled even with the multi-talented playmaker in their backfield. He didn’t accept the Eagles’ offer to stay but landed with the Chicago Bears on a decent deal. Meanwhile, Philadelphia signed the best running back on the market to a huge deal so you can say both sides got what they wanted.

This brings me to the 2024 NFL Draft. The Eagles have done a terrific job with building depth at positions of need but they still have a ways to go to being competitive on the defensive end. Offensively, the only group in question is the offensive line due to the retirement of Jason Kelce but I’m sure they’ll still be just as good.

As for the defense, there’s a log jam at corner, not enough safety depth, and a need for rotational depth on the defensive line. However, one position group trumps all of them which just so happens to be the cornerback group. The Eagles are still tied to veterans like Darius Slay and James Bradberry due to their contracts which is making the young corners an even bigger question mark.

Kelee Ringo showed signs of great potential last season while Eli Ricks flashed then dimmed when the lights got brighter. Josh Jobe still hasn’t found his footing and Avonte Maddox is an incredible nickel cornerback but is often injured. The Eagles have a big decision to make and now is the time to make it. 

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Wilson, left, catches a touchdown pass in front of Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Kelee Ringo (22) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

They can make a move for a young cornerback who is still on his rookie contract and extend him with the future riding on that player along with Kelee Ringo. While there are a good amount of young corners that the Eagles can make a move for, one name stands above them all. Patrick Surtain.

Does it make sense for the Eagles?

It makes perfect sense for the Eagles to entice the Broncos into trading away their star cornerback. The team is in a rebuilding period as Sean Payton continues to find his footing while Surtain will command big money soon. Surtain is easily one of the best corners in the game if not the best. Pairing him with Kelee Ringo can establish a firm foundation for the Eagles going forward. Barring any injuries the two could be a formidable duo for the foreseeable future.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Trey Palmer (10) avoids a tackle by Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry (24) after making a catch and running for a long touchdown during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The Eagles can eat the James Bradberry contract by either designating him for a post-June 1st cut but there would be no cap savings for them. If they can find a trade suitor for him and designate it for a post-June 1st move then they can save $1.2 million in cap space for 2024. Unfortunately, the 2024 dead cap would be above $3 million for either scenario and $10 million for 2025. 

A third option would be to restructure Bradberry’s deal and then either move him or convince him to take a bench role in which the Eagles’ depth would be even better. But that could be a long shot. Either way, the Eagles shouldn’t hesitate in making a move for Surtain just because of Bradberry’s contract. I’m sure there are more ways around it than the scenarios that I’ve included.

But does it make sense for Denver?

While Denver may be hellbent on retaining Patrick Surtain, it would make more sense to move him. The team is a long way from being a contender so tying big money to a corner may not be the best move right now. Instead, it would be wise to get what you can for Surtain and use it to move up in the draft to select your franchise QB.

After moving on from Russell Wilson, the Broncos are in desperate need of a QB and they’re also in the middle of an identity crisis. Payton has to work for Denver so standing still causes more of an issue for their franchise than many believe. The Eagles have the draft capital to allow Denver to make a big leap in the draft. If Denver can acquire the right picks then I wouldn’t be surprised if they jumped up to select one of the top QBs. It seems like destiny at this point.

What would it cost?

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 01: Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman chat during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on November 1, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

We just saw the Giants trade a 2024 2nd round pick and a 2025 5th-round pick for a premier pass rusher. Surtain isn’t your typical cornerback. He’s the definition of a shutdown corner and is a bit of a rarity at this point. The Eagles once traded a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick for A.J. Brown. I believe it would take the same kind of ammo to land Patrick Surtain.

Before you panic about giving up a 2024 first-rounder, I need you to remember that the Eagles have two second-round picks this year and could flip one of those into a third-rounder and maybe a 2025 pick. Why draft a corner in the first round when you can get a young veteran for the same value? 

While the Eagles do not have a third-round pick in this year’s draft, I believe that offering a 2024 1st round pick and a 2025 3rd round pick can get the trade done for Philadelphia. If needed, you can even go in the route of offering the Jets’ 2026 3rd-round pick that is tied to the condition of becoming a 2nd-round pick.

How would you feel about the Eagles making a big splash in this year’s draft?!

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire