Eagles’ Howie Roseman: Trade with Saints about flexibility, not Jalen Hurts

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Roseman says trade with Saints about flexibility, not Hurts originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Earlier this month, when the Eagles made a trade with the Saints to pick up an extra first-round pick in 2023, one of the most popular theories was that it was a move to give the Eagles flexibility next offseason to potentially change courses if Jalen Hurts doesn’t work out.

Roseman on Wednesday pushed back against that theory.

“We’re excited about Jalen Hurts and we’re going to support Jalen and want him to have a great career in Philly,” said Roseman at his annual pre-draft press conference, parroting the franchise’s offseason talking points about their 23-year-old quarterback.

“This was about great flexibility for our team and about making sure that we have resources to improve our team for not only this year’s draft but next year’s draft going forward. We thought it made a lot of sense.”

This trade, Roseman claims, was about overall flexibility.

Could that flexibility eventually be used to trade for or draft a different quarterback? Yeah, sure. But the longtime general manager said that wasn’t the driving force behind it.

So why, then, did the Eagles make the trade?

Roseman laid out a few reasons:

“I think we were kind of looking at this year and next year and the amount of picks we had in this year’s draft and trying to kind of balance it a little bit for a variety of factors,” Roseman said. “When you look at having first-round picks and the fifth-year option, having that many guys on the fifth-year option, also kind of balancing scouting all the players in this draft and next year’s draft and having more options and more flexibility at all positions.

“Kind of getting a head start looking at next year’s draft too and seeing that it’s strong as well, as well as this year’s draft. We thought it made sense. Obviously from New Orleans’ standpoint, we looked back. There hadn’t really been a team that moved back that far for a first-round pick so it made sense for them too. Hopefully a win-win situation.”

The fifth-year option is one of the underrated attractive features of first-round picks. Those first-rounders are under team control through four-year rookie contracts and teams then have the power to exercise a fifth year that is significantly more expensive, but could theoretically be much cheaper than the going rate on the open market. Potentially having three players synching up on those fifth-year options was a deterrent to keeping them.

It’s also possible the Eagles feel differently about the first-round value in this draft class. Perhaps they like the mid- and late-round value in this draft and will take their chances at seeing a strong class in 2023, when they’re one of several teams to have multiple first-rounders.

Here’s a reminder of the terms of the trade:

Eagles got: No. 18, No. 101 (3rd round), No. 237 (7th round), 2023 first-rounder, 2024 second-rounder

Saints got: No. 16, No. 19, No. 194 (sixth round)

The Eagles enter next Thursday’s draft with Nos. 15 and 18 in the first round as well as eight picks over the final two days:

Round 1-15 (from Miami)
Round 1-18 (from New Orleans)
Round 2-51
Round 3-83
Round 3-101 (from New Orleans)
Round 4-124
Round 5-154 (from Washington)
Round 5-162
Round5-166 (from Arizona)
Round 7-237 (from New Orleans)

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