This time last year, there was rampant speculation as to whether the Philadelphia Eagles would use the fourth overall draft pick on outside linebacker Dion Jordan. The connection was simple: the Birds needed a pass-rusher for their newly installed 3-4 defense, and head coach Chip Kelly knew Jordan better than anyone from their rime together at Oregon.
12 months later, the speculation still hasn't died. It's been rumored since January that the Miami Dolphins might be willing to part with Jordan after just one season, and Philadelphia would be a natural destination. So much so in fact that Bob Grotz for the Pottstown Mercury reported on Thursday the Eagles did in fact attempt to swing a deal for the former Duck.
Buried in the preoccupation with pass catchers is that the Eagles, according to a respected NFL source, made an offer almost two months ago for pass rusher Dion Jordan, who played spectacularly for Kelly at Oregon but hardly at all last season with the Miami Dolphins.
The details are unimportant. The Eagles are said to have included a second-round pick and linebacker-defensive end Brandon Graham. For now Jordan is still part of the Dolphins, who say they’re going to find a way to get him more snaps next season.
Grotz also Tweets the Eagles' first-round pick would get the deal done, and goes so far as to say it would be a "bargain." I don't know about that last part.
Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero got the rumblings started back in January, suggesting newly hired Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey was not attached to Jordan. The 24-year-old also did not appear to be a great fit in Miami's 4-3 defense, as he struggled mightily with just two sacks in 16 games as a rookie.
Salguero suggested Philly could be interested, and it turns out he was right. Kelly insinuated last year that the Eagles might've taken Jordan had he lasted to No. 4, but the Dolphins traded up to nab the 2012 first-team All-American.
Despite Grotz's strong feelings on the matter, that timeline of events is more than enough to make me leery about the idea of packaging a first-rounder for Jordan. I get the current GM didn't draft him, nor is he an ideal fit for the defense, but the fact that they are willing to give up on a player after one season—not to mention eat $10 million in dead money against the salary cap in order to do so—is a serious cause for concern.
Not only that, as Grotz points out in his story, the Eagles would be taking on Jordan's fully guaranteed contract, which has four years at over $20 million remaining.
All of this for a player with two career sacks.
It's worth noting offseason shoulder surgery may have played a role in Jordan's difficult transition to the NFL in addition to being poor fit. You could also argue he hasn't had enough playing time to demonstrate he could make more of an impact.
Jordan may have all the potential in the world, but it's impossible not to view him as damaged goods to a certain extent. If the Eagles are sending Graham in the trade too—a former first-round pick himself who has actually been very productive in limited playing time the past couple seasons—I see no reason they should part with a No. 1 for an unproven commodity.
Then again, a deal for Jordan may be the Eagles' best chance to land a high-end pass-rusher in this draft. The top outside linebacker prospects are likely to be gone by the time Philadelphia is on the clock, so this would be one way around that issue.
Still, I have a hard time trading a premium pick for somebody's secondhand goods. Jordan may very well have a bright future in the NFL, but the new-car smell is long gone.