Philadelphia Eagles GM Howie Roseman offered a mea culpa for his explanation earlier this month regarding his trade of Eric Rowe to the New England Patriots.
After the previous reasoning that the trade was made in part because Philly didn’t plan on signing Rowe to a new contract (the corner had two years left on his deal) was met with raised eyebrows and even pondering queries from Roseman’s 9-year-old son, the GM clarified his reasons Monday on WIP.
“I think it’s good to just go back to the process,” Roseman said, “So it’s the first week of the season and we get this offer and it’s the Patriots and we’re not sitting there thinking, ‘We’re getting one over on Bill Belichick,’ maybe the best evaluate of defensive backs in the history of the NFL.
“What we were thinking about was where he was on our depth chart. At that time the starting three guys were Nolan (Carroll), Leodis (McKelvin), Ron Brooks. Jalen Mills at that point in camp had beat him out, so he was the fourth guy, and then when we spoke with our coaches, they said that Malcolm (Jenkins) would be the next guy in the slot. So from where we were and what his role was at the time, we thought it was pretty good value.
“For them to give up that kind of pick – a fourth that could be a third – we knew they had a role for him. We knew that there was going to be an opportunity, and we’ve got to do what we think is best for us.”
While we could get into whether Roseman’s reasoning holds up after corners get torched all season, the more salient discussion with the Patriots headed to another Super bowll, is Bill Belichick’s mastery of low-level swaps for unwanted players.
In Sunday’s AFC Championship two players forced turnovers for the Patriots: Rowe and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Neither was on the Pats roster in August.
Belichick got Rowe for a conditional fourth-round pick. He nabbed Van Noy by merely flopping sixth and seventh-round picks with the Detroit Lions. Those low-level transactions came after Belichick received Martellus Bennett from the Chicago Bears in exchange for moving down two rounds in the draft (fourth to sixth). None of these are on the level of snagging Randy Moss for a fourth-round pick, but they reaffirm Belichick’s ability to turn other’s trash into treasure.
As colleague Chris Wesseling noted in the NFL Podcast, Belichick’s team-building prowess continues to run laps around the competition. As the premiere talent evaluator in the NFL, Belichick is willing to take low-cost gambles for big gains on players from which his competitors couldn’t coax production — his dual role as GM and coach aids in the process. No one turns a broken clock into a shimmering mantelpiece quite like the Patriots’ coach.
Not all the New England moves pay off, but Belichick plays the odds, continuing to dangle mid-to-low round draft picks to acquire players that can play a role in his championship runs.
Howie Roseman and the Eagles coaching staff might have found no use for Eric Rowe. But Belichick sure did.