Much ado has been made over the mere fact that the Philadelphia Eagles interviewed Baylor QB Robert Griffin III (RG3) last week. As I explained previously, the Eagles were just doing their due diligence as it relates to information gathering about draft prospects.
However, since the notion of the Eagles trading up in the draft to land RG3 is intriguing, and honestly it’s an exciting thought as well, I thought I’d try and break down the likelihood of them doing this and what it would cost them in terms of trade compensation.
So, let’s set the stage here for a possible trade-up scenario.
Right now, the buzz is very high about RG3 since he rocked the combine with 40-times of 4.38 and 4.41 (official time was 4.41). Mike Mayock, the big draft analyst of NFL Network, thinks RG3 will be the second overall pick in the draft (which many have speculated he would be anyway).
This means that the St. Louis Rams hold the golden ticket with the No. 2 pick in the draft. Since they have Sam Bradford, they have no need for RG3 and will certainly be fielding tons of phone calls with trade offers for their pick.
The Rams have pretty much hit the jackpot here with that pick. With the new CBA in place, the salaries for rookies at the top of the draft have been dramatically reduced. This means that teams will be more eager to trade up since they know they won’t have to fork over a boatload of cash for a top rookie.
Therefore, I fully expect it to be a “sellers market” for the Rams. There are several QB-needy teams and they will have to outbid the competitors for that pick. The Rams will trade with the highest bidder that also doesn’t drop them down too far in the first round either.
They’d ideally like to trade their No. 2 pick for a kings ransom but still be able to land the player they covet in the first round. That is, unless some team from the mid-late first round blows their doors off with a trade offer they can’t refuse.
The Eagles sit at pick No. 15, so we’ll have to look at what it would cost for them to move up 13 slots. There are several factors that lead into what the cost would be to make such a move. There’s the draft value chart that some may defer to, but past precedent is the better guideline to go by.
Just for starters though, let’s look at this draft value chart as provided by WalterFootball.com. It has the No. 2 pick as being worth 2,600 points and the No. 15 pick worth 1,050 points. Therefore, the Eagles would have to make up the difference of 1,550 points in draft pick trade compensation.
Going by that chart, the Eagles wouldn’t even be able to make up the difference if they traded all of their draft picks! The total point value for the all of the Eagles’ 2012 draft picks is 2,341, which leaves them 259 points (or a high 3rd round pick) short of the total value of pick No. 2.
Obviously, that’s a little much and unrealistic but at the end of the day, the No. 2 pick is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.
Just ask the 1999 Washington Redskins when they traded the No. 5 overall pick to the New Orleans Saints in return for the entire Saints draft ( eight total picks) and a first and third-rounder the following year so they could land Ricky Williams. Of course, someone must have drugged Mike Ditka to make such a trade, but that’s besides the point.
However, the Saints/Redskins trade does serve as past precedent, even though it was over a decade ago. But let’s look at a little more recent history to give us a better feel as to what types of value teams in the top 10 are getting from teams outside of the top 10 (i.e., I’m only looking at trades that involved a team outside of the top 10 who traded up inside the top 10).
In 2011, the biggest deal was the monster trade-up by Atlanta when they moved up from pick No. 27 to pick No. 6 in order to select WR Julio Jones. Here’s what the Falcons gave up: their first round pick (No. 27), second round pick (No. 59), fourth rounder (No. 124) and a first and fourth round pick in this year’s draft (2012).
In actuality, the only real sacrifice by the Falcons was giving up this year’s first round pick. The deal actually wasn’t too bad and if you calculate the point values from the draft value chart, it pretty much lines up with those numbers if you figure a future first round pick is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 to 600 points.
In 2009, the New York Jets traded up from pick No. 17 to pick No. 5 (Cleveland) to select QB Mark Sanchez. The Jets gave up their first and second round pick along with three players: DE Kenyon Coleman, DB Abram Elam and QB Brett Ratliff.
Coleman and Elam were viewed as starting-caliber players by the Browns so that bumps up the value as compared to if they were viewed as backups.
In 2008, Jacksonville traded with Baltimore to move up from pick No. 26 to pick No. 8. The Jaguars gave up their first round pick along with two third rounders and one fourth rounder.
Going back as far as 2003, the Jets traded up from pick No. 13 to pick No. 4 and gave up two first rounders (pick No.’s 13 and 22) and a conditional fourth or fifth round pick in the next year’s draft.
So, going based on all of the aforementioned guidelines and historical precedence, what would be the likely cost for the Eagles to move up from No. 15 to No. 2?
Since there hasn’t been an exact example of that scenario playing out anytime of the relevant past, we’ll have to gauge it a little bit an shoot for a ballpark scenario. And, it’s even tougher now since this is the first draft where all teams know that the top picks won’t get killer contracts, thus heating up the competition for trading up.
With that said, for the Eagles to make such a move, we’d be realistically looking at trading the No. 15 pick, both second round picks, a fourth rounder and likely a high 2013 pick. However, there are several trade packages that could be worked out as well.
For instance, the Eagles could offer up Asante Samuel and/or DeSean Jackson in a trade package. The Rams could certainly use either one, or both, of those players.
For now, we’ll go with the notion of including Samuel in that package since he’s the more likely trade bait at this point. If so, the Eagles could offer up a package that included pick numbers 15, 41 (second round), 99 (fourth round), Asante Samuel, and a 2013 second round pick.
That’s giving Samuel roughly a mid-to-high second round grade in terms of trade value. That should be at least in the ballpark of a fair offer. However, in reality it will probably cost much more than that this year because there will likely be more teams vying for a trade.
The Eagles’ biggest bargaining chip will be if they wanted to package Samuel and Jackson in a potential trade. For a team like the Rams, they could look at getting two good veteran players who would help push them over the top and have them easily competing for the NFC West and perhaps more.
But alas, all of this speculation is most likely for not. Why would the Eagles even think about making such a move for RG3 when they have Michael Vick and just signed Trent Edwards?
The question of whether or not the Eagles would make such a move will depend on how Andy Reid views his future with the team. If, as we all suspect, he views 2012 as a do-or-die season, it’s highly unlikely he would make such a move for a player who would ride the bench most of the season.
Reid needs players who will help now, not later. If he were to give up a lot in trade compensation for a player like RG3, he would have to know that he would have time to reap the benefits down the road. Does he have that kind of time in Philly?
On the flip side, if you wanted to take a “conspiracy theorist” line of thinking, Reid could purposely try to trade up for RG3 in an effort to save his job. How’s that, you ask?
If the Eagles sunk a lot of resources into landing RG3 in hopes that he’s their next franchise QB, they could very well feel that Reid would be the best choice to develop him as a player. Reid, after all, is known as somewhat of a quarterback guru.
And that could be a strong play by Reid. It wouldn’t make much sense to get a guy like RG3 only to blow up the coaching staff the following year. Quarterbacks who don’t get the benefit of coaching and system stability tend to struggle in their development and sometimes never live up to their potential.
In the end, it’s a long-shot at best that the Eagles will make a play for RG3. However, it’s interesting to think about because this is a QB-driven league and Michael Vick’s future in Philly past 2012 is a huge question mark.
We all know that the Eagles have a history of making decisions with an eye towards the future. But in this case specifically, a future with RG3 would likely be a package deal with Andy Reid.
How would you feel about that?