I was going to write a post to this effect yesterday before the first round of the NFL draft, but (a) I didn’t get to it and (b) I didn’t think it would actually be relevant. But, now that it is totally relevant, I am shocked that I cannot find anyone else that has expressed this opinion. I believe the following to be true:
The Eagles and the Cardinals made an agreement (which is completely illegal in the current state of the NFL labor situation) to make the following trade: The Eagles would send Kevin Kolb and their 1st round pick (#23 – Danny Watkins) in exchange for the Cardinals 1st round pick (#5 – Patrick Peterson).
I was watching with cautious excitement for the Cardinals decision at #5, hoping that they would take Peterson because that would go further towards confirming my pre-draft suspicions of “something fishy.” But, I really didn’t expect it…and then it happened.
The Cardinals took him – Peterson, the cornerback from LSU.
The Cardinals were one of the worst teams in the NFL last year. But…there is one part of their roster that almost indisputably is pretty solid – the secondary. They have first-round pick and rising star, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, at one corner and an emerging young playmaker, Greg Toler, at the other. And, then they have maybe the most underrated (if not the best) set of safeties in the league in Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes. And, yet, they took a cornerback…
Which team had the worst quarterback situation – in maybe the shakiest quarterbacked season since Don Coryell’s offensive schemes reinvented the position – in the league last year? The Cardinals. Which team was on the clock with a plethora of first-round QB talent still on the board (only Newton was gone)? The Cardinals. And, yet, they take a player at the one position on either side of the ball where they don’t really need to upgrade? Interesting…
Let’s look at the other side of the coin. Who does need a cornerback desperately? The Eagles. Which team, almost above all others in the past 3-4 years, has gravitated towards speed and athleticism on both sides of the ball? The Eagles. Then…which team, with their own pick, passed on a very talented cornerback (Jimmy Smith) to take an offensive linemen, who seems like good value and isn’t exactly unneeded, but is not even close to the most pressing of needs? The Eagles. And, which front office has shown that they keep things very close to the vest and are not afraid of repercussions from the NFL league office? The Patriots. Okay, good point – Belichick is on his own level of indignation. But, among mere mortals at the trade, isn’t Andy Reid well up there on the ole “I don’t give a crap” meter?
Okay, so how is this more than random speculation from a guy who has absolutely, positively zero inside information? Well, it is not more than that – it is precisely that. But…you have to admit, it smells fishy, especially if you consider that were countless rumors – from very reputable sources, including Sal Paloantonio and Adam Schefter – that, if the lockout was lifted and players were able to be traded, the Cardinals would strongly consider giving the #5 pick to the Birds for Kolb.
So, why is no one talking about that now? Because it would be highly illegal, under the current league regulations, and no one with any information would be willing to “out” a team, or even attract attention to a team, for doing something that could result in significant penalties from Officer Goodell.
But, I’m not “in the know,” by any stretch, so I’ll throw it out there.
I predict that Patrick Peterson will be starting across from Asante Samuel next year for the Birds, and that Kevin Kolb will be starting at quarterback in the desert. I also predict a very strong reaction from the league office that will include a hefty fine on both sides and, possibly, the forfeiture of a future draft pick.
(Quick tangent: While we’re on the subject of predictions, I also expect the Birds to resign Jason Babin and reunite him with Jim Washburn, who turned him from a bit rotation guy here in Philly to a Pro Bowler in Tennessee.)
But, if you’re asking me – I’d take it. Peterson is a game-changer and a flat-out stud. Remember when the Eagles defenses were so good under the late, great Jim Johnson? Everyone says it was because Johnson was such a brilliant innovator of blitz schemes, and that is very true. But, I really believe that no matter how brilliant Johnson was, he could not have pulled off those elaborate, risky blitzes without complete confidence in his one-on-one coverage on both sides. First it was Vincent and Taylor and as soon as they showed signs of age, they transformed that combination into a younger version with Sheppard and Brown. Now, they have one piece in Samuel, but the other side was a disaster last year. With Peterson, they can go back to sending the house. I love it!
Let’s hope that this crazy hair-brained theory of mine that no one who actually knows anything thinks is even remotely possible does become reality. Not so that I can sit around come September and say “I told you so,” but so that all of us Eagles fans have a slim chance to sit around come February and say “We are the champions!”