ProFootballTalk

Howie Roseman explains the decision to trade for A.J. Brown

The Eagles stunned the football-following world on the first night of the draft by trading for Titans receiver A.J. Brown.

Recently, Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman visited #PFTPM to discuss the decision to make the trade.

“Three factors, when I think about why we made the trade,” Roseman said. “I think one was the player fit. The evaluation of the player. Tremendous player. We did a lot of work on him coming out of Ole Miss. Felt like this guy really made a difference whether playing inside or outside. How he complemented our young receivers. We drafted DeVonta [Smith]. We drafted Jalen Reagor. We have Quez Watkins. We signed Zach Pascal. We have a bunch of other guys here that have contributed to our football team. He was a different kind of player.”

Roseman became drawn to Brown given their experiences against another big receiver who could make things happen with the ball in his hands.

“We had played for a long time against Anquan Boldin,” Roseman said. “The difference he made as a player and how physical he was and the toughness that he played with. He hated to be tackled. Then we had won a championship with Alshon [Jeffrey] and what he did on the outside. That’s kind of a piece, that we had different body types.”

Roseman also explained that the current makeup of the roster made it easier to go after Brown.

“I think second is just where we were as a team,” Roseman said. “I think there’s two parts of that. I think the first part is we have a quarterback on a rookie deal so you’re able to maybe be more aggressive in those modes. I’m sure that was — I don’t want to talk for [Titans G.M. Jon Robinson] but I’m sure that was part of his thinking, like, ‘I got a quarterback that I’m paying.’

“The third part of it is that we had accumulated assets. We know this. The best guys in the draft are going to hit on 60 percent of their first-round picks. No matter how strongly you feel about a first-round pick, you still don’t know how that guy is going to transition. How is he going to transition to a new city? How is he going to transition with money in his pocket? How is he going to translate to new personalities? How is he going to translate living on his own for the first time? I’m not saying that’s a reason to be risk averse and not take draft picks, but because we had accumulated some of these draft picks and because of those other reasons, we felt like this made sense for us right now at this time.”

Roseman still had to consider the impact of trading for and paying Brown on the rest of the team.

“When you bring free agents in and you pay free agents a lot of money or you trade for guys and pay them a lot of money . . . I think when you do that and you don’t take care of your own locker room, you’re basically telling your guys like maybe you’re not good enough,” Roseman said. “Maybe the guys that you drafted, and you’ve developed and have given blood, sweat, and tears in Eagles uniforms, they’re not good enough. Then you risk those guys becoming independent contractors, right? Because when you get to free agency, you’re probably going to the highest bidder or close to the highest bidder. When you do that to your team and say, ‘Hey we’re going to be aggressive in trying to improve our team, but our priority is always going to be take care of our own.’ Guys we draft and develop that we know them day-to-day, the ins and outs to their personalities. I think what it says to our younger guys is you do the right thing, you play well, and we’re going to try take care of you.”

That’s an important point. A team can’t just pay big money to players who have never played there. The team also has to be willing to reward those who have earned second contracts, or the younger players indeed begin to realize that their future will be elsewhere.

If the Eagles keep performing at a high level, they’ll have to do that. Starting with quarterback Jalen Hurts, and extending to others. That’s what a team considers a good problem to have.