Philadelphia Eagles: What Should Happen If They Draft Christian McCaffrey?
What should happen if the Philadelphia Eagles draft running back Christian McCaffrey at 14?
The Philadelphia Eagles did a good job of attacking the 2017 NFL offseason. They clearly had a gameplan to fill some of the holes on their roster. Wide receiver was a glaring hole, and the Eagles went out and made a splash.
Howie Roseman and company signed former Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. He will quickly become the Eagles No. 1 target and can take their offense to the next level. Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz should be happy, and Jeffery thinks Wentz is a future MVP.
Philly also signed wide receiver Torrey Smith, who will be a threat in the vertical passing offense. Along with the two wide receivers, the Eagles signed two offensive linemen (Chance Warmack and Stefen Wisniewski) to solidify their offensive line.
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Even with all of these solid moves the Eagles made, they still have some obvious positions that need help. Cornerback is the biggest position of need, and that should be the Eagles primary focus in the 2017 NFL Draft. However, running back is also big hole too. It could be big enough in the Eagles’ eyes that they decide to take a running back with the 14th overall pick.
A lot of Eagles fans and media members have been getting behind the idea of drafting former Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey at 14. In my opinion, that is the only running back that makes sense at 14. McCaffrey is a perfect fit in head coach Doug Pederson’s offense. Here is my scouting report on McCaffrey before the NFL Combine.
Adding a dynamic player like McCaffrey could do wonders for Wentz and this Eagles offense that struggled in 2016. It remains to be seen if McCaffrey can even make it to the 14th overall pick, but if he does, and the Eagles take him; here is what the Eagles should do next:
Trade or Release Darren Sproles After Releasing Ryan Mathews
According to Over The Cap, Philadelphia only has $713,619 left in cap space. For those that do not understand the cap, that is not okay. Luckily the Eagles will be releasing running back Ryan Mathews once he passes a physical. That move will clear $3 million in cap space, taking the cap space up to a little over $3.71 million. (All contract numbers courtesy of Spotrac)
The next move isn’t popular, but it makes sense. Trading Darren Sproles hurts, but if the Eagles add McCaffrey, Sproles doesn’t make sense. He is owed $4 million this season, and if the Eagles trade him before June 1, they will get all of that money back. A fifth-round pick will probably be what gets Sproles, and if the Eagles get an offer around that, they should take it. That would get the cap number up to around $7.7 million. If no one is willing to trade for Sproles, then sadly, releasing him may make more sense for a team that is building towards the future.
Trade Mychal Kendricks
Somehow linebacker Mychal Kendricks is still on the Eagles roster. The rumors of him being traded have been around for a long time now, but here he is, still in Philly. If the Eagles draft McCaffrey, the trade rumors need to become real. The Eagles would be smart to use him in a trade to sweeten a deal if they are moving up in the draft. By trading him during the draft and/or before June 1, the Eagles would bump their cap space up around $8.8 million.
Draft A Cornerback In Second Round
Taking a cornerback in the second round is evident for the Eagles, especially if they do not draft a cornerback in the first round. There is no way the Eagles can leave the 2017 NFL Draft without somehow acquiring a starting cornerback. And I say that because it leads right into my next move for the Eagles if they select McCaffrey at 14.
Trade For Veteran Cornerback (cough, Joe Haden)
If the Eagles take McCaffrey at 14, they are leaving themselves very vulnerable at cornerback. Taking a cornerback in the second round will help, but it most likely won’t give the Eagles a legitimate No. 1 cornerback. That is why they need to trade for one. A lot of fans want Richard Sherman, but if the Eagles are using their 14th overall pick, they will not be trading for Sherman.
That is why Roseman should get creative and trade for Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden. I talked about why the Eagles should trade for Haden already, but it makes more sense if they take McCaffrey at 14. Haden would get $6.4 million from Cleveland, but the Eagles would need to pick up the $8 million tab on his contract for 2017. Roseman would have to get creative, but it is manageable.