Philadelphia Eagles: Trading Samuel Is the Only Way to Draft Robert Griffin III

Giorgos KassakosAnalyst IFebruary 25, 2012

RGIII is considered the best quarterback prospect of the 2012 NFL Draft, alongside A. Luck.
RGIII is considered the best quarterback prospect of the 2012 NFL Draft, alongside A. Luck.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

When Robert Griffin III revealed that he met with the Philadelphia Eagles, many fans went from routine to frenzy. Philadelphia was never considered a possible destination for RGIII, because they are far behind the top-5 picks (where he is likely to be drafted) and because they have other issues to address.

Otherwise, RGIII looks like the perfect quarterback to replace Michael Vick in the long term: He is a good passer and can be better than Vick in the future, and of course, he has the ability to scramble and make plays with his legs.

However, the Eagles are not planning to replace Vick and they are not in a hurry to find his successor. Most important to the them is winning the NFC East and making a run to the Super Bowl—that demands moves that will strengthen the team and eliminate the areas of weakness.

Yet, when I try to look further than the 2012 season, the “RGIII-to-Eagles” scenario looks more sensible than you’d imagine. He is the perfect candidate for the job, because his playing style won’t require many changes—if any changes at all to fit the Eagles system.

Even in the short term, RGIII could be a wise choice. Vick is expected to miss some games, despite his assurances for the opposite. Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards play in a different way, while RGIII is very similar to Vick.

Enough with the theoretical part—let’s assume that the Eagles want to land RGIII in the forthcoming NFL draft. How is that feasible?

Philadelphia has the 15th overall pick and RGIII is expected to be picked in the Top-5 and maybe first overall. The Colts, though, appear to have Andrew Luck in their foresight, so the Eagles will need to get the next pick to be able to draft RGIII.

How do they get that pick? The answer is known: By trading. Unfortunately, it might be by trading a lot.

The St. Louis Rams hold the no.2 pick and they won’t give it away in the cheap. The Eagles will have to offer their first-round pick, one of their second-round picks and one from the third or the fourth round. The Rams might ask for future draft picks too.

That will leave the Eagles with a depleted number of draft picks and will probably affect their future. Is there any other way to get to No.2?

Well, my mind tells me that there is an alternative option. The Eagles can trade Asante Samuel.

Samuel has a big-money contract and wasn’t a big factor in 2011. With Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie already on the roster, he looks more expendable than ever before. Rumors about him being traded are constantly coming to the surface since the end of the regular season, so this is no science fiction.

The Eagles can get a nice return for trading Samuel. A second-round pick or a third-round and a fourth/fifth round pick are realistic targets. Of course, that won’t make a dramatic change to the Eagles’ draft, but it will allow them to draft RGIII and draft a couple of other promising rookies.

With an extra second rounder, the Eagles could trade away a first, a second and a fourth-round pick for the second overall pick and at the same time, they will be able to keep two picks in the second round.

However, I’m afraid that the question is not if the Eagles can trade up or how they do it. It’s whether it’s worth trading so many picks for your quarterback of the future, when you’re aiming to win here and now”.

On top of that, you can’t draft your future quarterback while you don’t know your strategy for the future. Andy Reid is safe for now, but his 2012 results will determine whether his tenure with the Eagles will extend beyond this year.

Personally, I think that the Eagles are not that interested in RGIII and the little chat they had with him won’t turn onto a trade up to pick him.