Howie Roseman’s trade for Robert Quinn boosts Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes

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For the production he gave to the Chicago Bears, for the money he made, Robert Quinn wasn’t a good player that season. Quinn has been one of the NFL’s elite pass-rushing defenders pretty much since joining the league in 2011. The Bears, his fourth team, had signed him to a reported five-year, $70 million contract in 2020, a deal that paid him $7 million last year and nearly $13 million this year. Last year he had 18½ sacks. Last year it was a bargain. Of course, a salary cap forces managers and fans to see athletes not as flesh and blood but as investments, stocks that go up and down.

Quinn fell. In the Bears’ seven previous games, he had one sack and hit an opposing quarterback just three times. He’s 32, on the edge of his prime if you can still consider him in his prime, and although the Bears had signed him for the 2024 season, his contract didn’t guarantee him any money in 23 or 24. Considering Quinn’s downfall was obvious, it made sense for the bears to say: Instead of trimming it for free, we’re trading it in for something now, before the league deadline of November 1st.

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Welcome once again to the world of high finance in professional football. Welcome once again to the world where Howie Roseman is a king.

For the low-risk price of a fourth-round draft pick The Eagles acquired Quinn Wednesday afternoon. It was the latest sharp move from Roseman, the Eagles’ executive vice president of player personnel, a roster-builder that has allowed them, due to its apparent shortcomings, to take another championship fee five years after their first Super Bowl win.

This is Roseman’s time. He’s always loved to shoot and act, and it’s become an annual tradition when the Eagles are battling for the NFC East title or more to see what he’ll do in late October because it’s a surefire one Bet he will do something.

This some things have helped in varying degrees. In 2019, for example, Roseman traded a fourth-round pick after the deadline to Cleveland for linebacker Genard Avery, which was of little help. In 2018, Roseman sent a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions for wide receiver Golden Tatea trade the Eagles didn’t benefit much from until Tate caught Nick Foles’ game-winning touchdown pass in a playoff win… in Chicago against the Bears.

But the 2017 season is the most useful point of reference for this season and this trade — and not just because the Eagles were the best team in the league that season and, 6-0, have that the best record in the league this season. At the close of trading this season, Roseman relinquished a fourth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for letting Jay Ajayi run back. The Eagles needed depth in their backfield, needed another ball carrier to form a strong committee with LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement, and Ajayi fitted in perfectly.

That’s all the Eagles are asking of Quinn. You will ask him to adapt. You don’t need him as Robert Quinn of 2013 when he led the NFC with 19 sacks with the St. Louis Rams. You don’t need him to be the Robert Quinn of 2019 when he had 11½ sacks for the Dallas Cowboys. Which is good, because he’s not one of those Robert Quinns. He’s not even last year’s Robert Quinn.

What he is is a seasoned pro who still has something to give, who doesn’t have to justify a high salary – to himself or the franchise that paid him – by being the dominant player that his age no longer allows. The Bears are reportedly paying most of Quinn’s remaining salary this season, and instead of playing 68% of all defensive snaps for the Eagles like he did for the Bears, Quinn will join coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s regular rotation of defensemen Join: Haason Reddick, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, Milton Williams.

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This group is a mix of young and old, veterinarians and junior staff. Look at the pass defense stats, and the Eagles are in the top 10 in the league on several counts: sacks, knockdowns, pressures. They’ve done well harassing and disrupting opposing quarterbacks, but they can be better. And remember: Graham is 34 and now a part-time player. Cox will be 32 in December. The more selective Gannon can be about when and how he plays them, the better they will be in their advanced footballing ages.

Quinn gives Gannon more options, more flexibility. In that context, Robert Quinn can be a good player for this team that has so little to lose. That was a step that paid off. This is Howie Roseman’s season.

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