Eagles mailbag: Should Eagles pursue a Calvin Ridley trade?

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  • Philadelphia Eagles
    Philadelphia Eagles
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  • Calvin Ridley
    Calvin Ridley
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  • Jason Kelce
    Jason Kelce
    American football offensive lineman

A potential Calvin Ridley trade and a look at All-Pros in Eagles’ mailbag originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

We have a long wait today before the Eagles face the Cowboys in Week 18 and then we have to wait again to find out who they’ll play in the wild card round.

So I’m happy to help you kill some time.

First, here’s a look at the first batch of questions I answered yesterday.

Let’s get to today’s questions now:

Should the Eagles be interested in trading for Calvin Ridley? Absolutely.

Ridley, 27, has missed a good portion of this season as he deals with anxiety and mental health issues but there was a recent report from NFL Network’s Steve Wyche that both sides could be looking for a “fresh start.” If that’s the case, the Eagles should absolutely be interested.

Ridley just turned 27 last month and he’s a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL after a 1,300-yard season in 2020. The thought of pairing him with DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert and Jalen Hurts in the Eagles’ offense is very appealing. And Philadelphia could be an appealing landing spot for Ridley too. Not only has this franchise proven it’s up to the task of dealing with its players’ mental health issues, but Ridley would be reuniting with a couple former teammates in Hurts and Smith.

Would it take a first-round pick? Maybe not. There’s some uncertainty about Ridley because of this season, so some of those questions would need to be answered first. And he’s set to play the 2022 season on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. So he’d be a rental who the Eagles would then presumably try to extend pretty quickly. But they should absolutely be interested if this is a possibility.

Of those two, I think Jason Kelce has the best shot of being an All-Pro. It would be his fourth All-Pro honor and I think it’s clear he’s playing at that level. His biggest competition for All-Pro would probably be Corey Linsley or Ryan Kelly but Kelce is playing at such a high level and already has the reputation, so I think he has the best shot of any Eagles player.

Slay has played at an All-Pro level this year but it’s going to be tough. Just two cornerbacks make the first team. My best guesses would be Jalen Ramsey and Trevon Diggs. That’s not to take anything way from Slay, who is arguably having the best season of his career. But Ramsey is coming off an All-Pro season and is playing even better in 2021 and Diggs has 11 interceptions. So I think Slay has a chance to make the second team.

And if we’re looking for one more possibility, keep an eye on Lane Johnson, who was snubbed by Pro Bowl voters. There’s some precedent to make All-Pro without the Pro Bowl. Kelce has done that twice in his career. And Johnson is playing as well as we’ve ever ween him play.

The good news is that Hurts won’t even be eligible for a contract extension until after the 2022 season. So if the Eagles bring him back as their starter in 2022 (I think they will) then they’ll have an entire extra year to evaluate him before they should commit to him financially.

When healthy, Christian McCaffrey was the best running back in the NFL. He was tremendous in 2019. But he’s played 10 games over the last two years and has base salaries of $8.4M, $11.8M, $11.8M and $12M over the next four years of his contract. I don’t know what the Panthers would want for him, but his trade value has to be way lower than it has ever been. I still can’t imagine the Eagles taking this kind of risk on that position.

It’s really up to Kelce. If he wants to return in 2022, the Eagles would surely be willing to make that happen. It would take a new contract but that’s doable, especially because he hasn’t slowed down even a little bit. He’s legitimately playing as well as he ever has this season at age 34.

But we all know Kelce is year-to-year at this point in his career and he’s made it clear that he’ll be pretty transparent with the Eagles whenever he makes his decision. He did it before the 2021 season. So if he hangs ‘em up, he’ll give the Eagles ample time to try to replace him.

I’m not in Kelce’s head, but the success of this season could perhaps be enough to make him want to run it back one more year. He’s playing well, the Eagles are a playoff team and the last time they went into the second year under a new coach they won the Super Bowl. If Kelce comes back, you’d understand why.

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