The Philadelphia Eagles may not be a trendy Super Bowl pick for 2020, but they figured to be a very good team at minimum, given the talent on hand. Unfortunately for them, they’ve lost Brandon Brooks for the year with a major injury, which hurts the offensive line quite a bit. Brooks is famously one of the best guards in the NFL, and you don’t simply lose a guy like that.
The Eagles have a number of options to fill that void, though all will fall well short of Brooks. They can fill the gap with internal options, add via free agency to snag a great player like Larry Warford or a lesser option that’s freely available, or they can make a trade.
If they go that last route—and obviously there are no guarantees they will—should the Falcons pick up the phone and see if Philly wants to swap a late round pick for one of their veterans at guard?
The case for it
The best reason to do this would be this: The Falcons can’t keep all their guards on the roster, and they’d be better off moving one of their higher-priced veterans than cutting ties with someone like Matt Gono, who has real upside.
The Falcons are going into 2020 with rookie Matt Hennessy potentially playing guard along with Chris Lindstrom, but they also have last year’s starting left guard James Carpenter, part-time starter Jamon Brown, recent signing Justin McCray, and the immortal Sean Harlow at the position. I can’t imagine they’ll keep all of those guys, and moving Brown or Carpenter could pull in a 3rd day selection that’s far better than just cutting a guy outright.
The case against it
As the Brooks injury has shown us, you don’t know what’s going to happen during the offseason. The Falcons could move Carpenter to the Eagles and then lose a starting guard in preseason, shortened as it may be, which would leave them suddenly short on depth all over again. They’d have to be awfully comfortable with Brown/McCray or Carpenter/McCray as potential starters to make a move like this.
As I mentioned the other day, Hennessy’s starting job is not locked in, either, given that he’s a rookie and won’t get the usual help with the NFL learning curve since everything has been and will be virtual for so long. If the Falcons trade a player they think can be a capable starter and Hennessy isn’t ready to go, they may regret it.
In the end, I suspect the Eagles will dip into free agency to solve this particular challenge. I do think the Falcons should be open to a call if one comes, however.