Eagles' Howie Roseman earns high praise for Ronald Darby trade, drafting Sidney Jones

By Matt Lombardo
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Some will point to the Eagles trade for cornerback Ronald Darby as a signal of executive Vice President Howie Roseman and the front office gearing up to make a playoff run in 2018, but there is some credence to the thought that this was yet another foundational move for a rebuilding team.

Peter King of MMQB takes the latter viewpoint on Roseman flipping slot receiver Jordan Matthews and a third-round draft choice for a 23-year-old press-cornerback in Ronald Darby who was one of the top corners in the league as a rookie two seasons ago, and pairing him with injured second-round draft choice Sidney Jones:

The Ronald Darby debut for Philadelphia (one interception, two passes broken up) brings up this point: Heck of a deal by Howie Roseman to get Darby. And a heck of a job by Roseman to overhaul a very needy position, cornerback, in the span of four months. Roseman dealt a good receiver with one controllable salary year left before free agency, Jordan Matthews, plus a third-round pick to Buffalo for Darby. Darby has two years left, at a combined salary of $1.858 million--highly reasonable for a good press corner. The Eagles will have four controllable years of rookie second-round cornerback Sidney Jones (recovering from a March Achilles tear) beginning this year. Assume that Darby, 23, and Jones, 21, will be the opening-day starters for Philadelphia in 2018. They'll be 24 and 22 years old, and they'll have a combined cap cost of $2.849 million. That means Roseman used Matthews plus second-round and third-round draft picks to build what, most likely, will be the best starting corner situation (considering money and age and ability) in the NFC East in 2018. It's not easy to figure a way to build a good corner situation from scratch, but Roseman did it, and he deserves credit for it.

For his part, Darby could not have been more impressive either on the practice fields of the NovaCare Complex or in his exhibition debut against his former team last Thursday night since being acquired on Aug. 11.

In addition to his interception and pass breakup against the Bills, Darby intercepted Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler, when he jumped the route after playing press coverage against wide receiver Jarvis Landry along the sideline, on the final play of Monday's joint practices between the two teams that will square off Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

Beyond just the Jones and Darby duo, the Eagles also invested a third-round pick in Rasul Douglas who will be given every opportunity to win the starting nickel job in the second half of the preseason and last year's seventh-round pick Jalen Mills saw significant playing time both outside and in the slot as a rookie. Mills is poised to open the season starting on the outside opposite Darby.

While it remains possible that Jones could miss the entire 2017 season with the torn Achilles tendon he suffered at Washington's Pro Day back in March, at the door remains cracked open that he could make his debut in the latter half of this season, offering a glimpse of the young cornerback group that has King so optimistic about the Eagles' future.

Whether Jones plays this season or not, Roseman certainly deserves credit for trading away a player who in all likelihood would not have re-signed this offseason for one who has the potential to turn what had been the roster's most glaring weakness into arguably one of its biggest long-term strengths.

I have to admit I luv Howie though the pitchfork and torches horde of Negadelphians vehemently oppose my sentiments.