The Eagles traded wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick to the Bills for cornerback Ronald Darby on Friday in a move that addressed a need in the secondary and took one of quarterback Carson Wentz‘s closest friends on the team off the roster.
Wentz and four other Eagles took Matthews to dinner on Friday before he got on a flight to meet his new team in Buffalo, which tight end Zach Ertz, who was also there, called an “emotional” event. Wentz said Saturday that it won’t be easy to replace Matthews in the locker room while adding that he trusted the team’s football decisions.
“It’s tough,” Wentz said, via Philly.com. “It’s one of those things where there’s the personal side to things and the football side to things. The football side of things, you just got to trust what they’re doing upstairs. Ultimately, they’re the ones that make those decisions. And what they think is best for the team, I’m going to be in support of 100 percent. They haven’t let me down or haven’t let this team down yet.”
Coach Doug Pederson was asked if he was concerned about how the trade would be received in the locker room.
“Well, I’m going to tell you this: I lean back on my career and the times that I had and the things, the situations and the people that I see,” Pederson said in comments distributed by the team. “Listen, it’s decisions you got to make that are tough for the organization, for the individuals involved. But listen, it’s like anything that we do in life – the next person steps up and here we go. We can sit and have poor attitudes and all that, but at the same time we’re happy for both parties, and we’re moving forward. That’s business as usual.”
Any locker room response will likely be affected by how Darby impacts the defense. Ertz and Pederson both said they feel there are players capable of stepping into the slot receiver role left vacant by Matthews, but that wasn’t the case at cornerback and strong play from Darby should give the Eagles a better chance of winning games than they had before the trade.