Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman does not give up easily, and that’s part of the reason he’s been able to create the equivalent of a second round pick out of thin air over the last decade. It seems like year after year, Roseman manages to get value in a trade for a player the Eagles would be cutting anyway. That adds up significantly over time.
This year there were two prime examples. Virtually everyone following the team knew that J.J. Arcega-Whiteside would not be on the final roster, nor was Jalen Reagor likely to be part of the final squad.
Before getting rid of Arcega-Whiteside, Roseman first he worked the phones and found a trade partner. Likely unable to find anyone willing to part with draft capital for Arcega-Whiteside, he went for the next best thing – a player he could flip later for a draft pick. So he swapped with the Seahawks, and received defensive back Ugo Amadi.
Amadi’s time in Philadelphia was limited, as Roseman shipped him to Tennessee nine days later. The Eagles sent a 2024 seventh round pick as well, and received a 2024 sixth round pick in return. The difference in the value of those two picks is value that Roseman created out of thin air: about 13 points on the draft trade value chart created by Walter Football.
Then Roseman was back at it again, this time unloading former first round pick Jalen Reagor to the Minnesota Vikings. The wide receiver had long been rumored to be a likely cut, so the return Roseman received was a veritable haul: a seventh-round pick in 2023 and either a fourth or fifth rounder in 2025, depending on Reagor’s output.
Assuming the worst, that’s a fifth round pick and a seventh round pick for a player who was probably going to be cut anyway. Even if he made the roster, Reagor would have been buried on the depth chart.
Either way, that’s about 42 points of draft pick value according to the chart, and if the pick becomes a fourth rounder it would go up to 78 points. That means that in the last few weeks alone, Roseman created 55 to 91 points of draft value for the franchise. That’s equivalent to a late fourth round pick on the low end, and an early fourth round pick on the high end.
But Roseman pulls off moves like this all the time. Over the past decade he’s basically stolen the equivalent of a second round pick through trades like these.
A Decade of Roseman’s “Out of Thin Air” Trades
In 2013, the Eagles traded DT Isaac Sopoaga and a 2014 sixth-round pick to the Patriots for a 2014 fifth-round pick. Sopoaga had been an offseason signing, but was being supplanted by younger players. The Patriots ended up leaving Sopoaga inactive down the stretch of the season, according to ESPN. The deal netted the Eagles 10 points of draft value.
In 2014, he traded running back Bryce Brown and a 2014 seventh round pick (237th overall) to the Bills for the 224th overall pick in the seventh-round and a conditional third or fourth round pick. It ended up being a fourth round pick, so the deal netted 79 points. Brown had been pushed down the depth chart by the acquisition of Darren Sproles, according to Pro Football Talk. Brown was stuck behind LeSean McCoy, Chris Polk and Sproles, and thus was likely to end up being cut if Roseman couldn’t find a trade partner.
In 2015, the Eagles traded signal caller Matt Barkley to Arizona for a conditional seventh-round pick. They ended up getting the pick, which was only worth 3 points. Still, that beat nothing, and according to NBC Sports Philadelphia, there was “no chance” Barkley would survive the final round of cuts.
In 2016, Roseman sent quarterback Mark Sanchez to Denver for a conditional seventh-round pick. The conditions weren’t met, but at least the Eagles had a chance at a pick for someone they were cutting anyway. The Birds had just acquired Chase Daniel and were telegraphing the unloading of Sanchez. Trading him instead of cutting him saved the Eagles $4.5 million against the salary cap, according to ESPN.
That same year, Roseman also got a fourth round pick from the Patriots for cornerback Eric Rowe, even as there were rumors he was going to be cut, according to NFL.com. The pick had the potential to be upgraded to a third round pick, but that didn’t transpire. The pick the Eagles received was worth 45 points of draft capital.
In 2017, Roseman got a 2019 seventh-round pick from the Saints for long snapper Jon Dorenbos after he lost the long snapping job to Rick Lovato. It’s extremely rare to hear of long snappers fetching anything in trades. The pick ended up being returned when Dorenbos failed a physical and needed heart surgery, according to NBC Sports. It would have been four points of value that Roseman created, if not for the medical issue. Fortunately, the trade saved Dorenbos’ life, as he was able to undergo successful heart surgery.
That year, Roseman also got a conditional seventh-round pick from the Broncos for Allen Barbre even after announcing that Barbre was about to be released, according to ESPN. Those conditions weren’t met, but Roseman gave the Birds a chance at acquiring something for nothing.
He also picked up a 2018 fifth-round pick from the Seahawks for offensive tackle Matt Tobin and a 2018 seventh-rounder. That was a 31-point pickup in draft capital for someone who was unlikely to make the roster, according to Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice.
In 2021, Roseman got a sixth-round pick from the Jets for Joe Flacco, when Gardner Minshew was likely already overtaking him on the depth chart. That picked up 16 points of draft value.
He also traded offensive lineman Matt Pryor to the Colts along with a seventh-round pick and got a sixth-rounder in return. The Eagles were likely to cut Pryor anyway, according to Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Instead, they picked up 14 points of draft value.
It Adds Up to the Equivalent of a Free Second Rounder
Using the average between the low and high estimates on Roseman’s recent moves, he picked up 271 points of draft value over the last decade. That’s equivalent to the final pick in the second round, and that’s even ignoring the potential for value he created in trades for conditional picks that didn’t work out.
Adding an extra second rounder per decade is nothing to sniff at – that’s potentially an extra Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders, or Jalen Hurts caliber player. Of course it can also be a Sidney Jones, Eric Rowe, or Jordan Matthews.
All of this also ignores Roseman’s infamous draft day wheeling and dealing, where he’s often picking up extra draft capital that other general managers don’t pursue. These are the types of moves that make Roseman one of the better GMs in the NFL, as he’s always looking to maximize the assets at his disposal.
Recent Eagles Roster Moves
Roseman has been active in recent days, taking advantage of positional arbitrage to pry C.J. Gardner-Johnson away from the Saints for next to nothing. A former NFL general manager spoke glowingly of the move.
In a lesser move, the Eagles released safety Anthony Harris from the practice squad and signed cornerback Mac McCain to take his place.