Report: Eagles made trade offer for Miami Dolphins OLB Dion Jordan

Report: Eagles made trade offer for Miami Dolphins OLB Dion Jordan

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.

Seth Smith would be a logical, low-cost trade target for Phillies

Seth Smith would be a logical, low-cost trade target for Phillies

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Tuesday night he'd still like another veteran bat in addition to Howie Kendrick, though he understands the front office is conscious of not blocking young prospects.

The Phillies need offense and the clearest area to upgrade is an outfield corner. But don't expect to see the Phils go after Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders or anyone of that ilk, because those players will require multi-year guarantees and everyday playing time. If you sign one of them, you're basically telling two of Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr that they won't be needed much the next three years. 

That would be unwise. The whole point of rebuilding is filling a roster with young, inexpensive talent and then eventually supplementing that core with established players who fit. Look at what the Cubs did. Look at what the Astros are doing now, adding older players like Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Nori Aoki and Josh Reddick to fill in the holes around Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman.

For that reason, a player like Seth Smith would be a worthwhile addition for the Phillies.

Smith, 34, makes $7 million in 2017, the final year of his contract with the Mariners. When Mackanin discusses "professional hitters," Smith is the type. He has one of the better batting eyes in baseball, chasing about eight percent fewer pitches outside the strike zone the last three years than the league average.

He's a career .261/.344/.447 hitter who averages 29 doubles, 16 homers, 56 walks and 102 strikeouts per 162 games.

The left-handed Smith can play both outfield corners, and he's always been very effective against right-handed pitching. He has a .272 career batting average with an .827 OPS against righties compared to .202 with a .594 OPS vs. lefties. 

Smith is a fit for the Phillies for several reasons. They need more offense from the corner outfield. Logically, that outfielder should be a left-handed hitter because the Phillies' projected middle of the order has four right-handed bats in Maikel Franco, Tommy Joseph, Cameron Rupp and Kendrick.

Furthermore, Smith, unlike Saunders, for example, does not require everyday playing time. Smith shouldn't start against lefties. That would provide opportunities to Altherr and Quinn in 2017, while protecting against ineffectiveness from Altherr and another injury to Quinn.

And lastly, Smith is not going to cost anything meaningful via trade. He's a 34-year-old platoon player in the final year of his deal. The Phillies could likely land him for an insignificant prospect, perhaps a pitcher who had a high strikeout rate last season in the low levels of the minor leagues. 

For Seattle, it would be more of a salary dump. The Mariners' 2016 payroll is already $20 million more than it was last year, and per reports, they seem willing to spend to improve their starting rotation.

Smith is not a game-changer, that's not the argument here. He's not J.D. Martinez, a much bigger name and better player. Martinez would also fit the Phillies as a one-year option, and they'd likely be interested in keeping him around longer if they could acquire him. But any trade with the Tigers for Martinez wouldn't be nearly as painless for the Phils as acquiring Smith. 

So perhaps more than other available outfielders, Smith would be an offensive upgrade and a player who fits the Phillies' goal of improving without stunting a top prospect's growth.

Connor McDavid, Oilers' speed, skill present Flyers with 'real good challenge'

Connor McDavid, Oilers' speed, skill present Flyers with 'real good challenge'

VOORHEES, N.J. — They are among the very best – and highest scoring — lines in the NHL this season.
 
And they’re gunning for the Flyers on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
Connor McDavid’s unit with Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl have a combined 30 goals and 78 points worth of offense. 
 
Among them, the lightning quick McDavid leads the NHL with 36 points. All 11 of his goals are even strength. 
 
He doesn’t have a single power-play goal, but is tied for the league lead with several players, including Claude Giroux, with 10 power-play assists.
 
You can expect to see Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s unit with Chris VandeVelde and Dale Weise against this line with defenseman Ivan Provorov drawing McDavid for the first time this season.
 
“Speed and skill that Edmonton has up front presents a real good challenge for our team,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “We have to be better with the puck tomorrow. 
 
“We didn’t do enough when we had the puck. Gave it up a little too easily and because of that, you end up playing defense a lot of the night and that’s what happened last night to us.”
 
Bellemare, who had his share of forward battles with Jaromir Jagr in Tuesday, likes to analyze the matchups against McDavid.
 
“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Bellemare said of the 19-year-old McDavid. “It’s tough not to be excited when playing against a guy who plays like this. He competes every second he is on the ice. That line is an impressive line.”
 
The Flyers better have some bad, choppy ice to slow McDavid down. Edmonton has some of the fastest ice in the league and the Oilers use it to their full advantage. 
 
Asked of McDavid’s tendencies, Bellemare said, “Is that a tendency? To be super fast?”
 
Yes it is. 
 
“When you play against them, he is a kid who is freaky fast right from the start,” Bellemare said. “Against that line, you saw [against Buffalo] that everyone knows how fast he is and he still had two breakaways.”
 
Which means the Flyers need to watch their turnovers, especially in the neutral zone where McDavid can go 60 feet in a flash.
 
“Even blue line to the top of the circle, you can’t turn the puck over,” Bellemare said. “Or he’s gone. This is a tendency we have to be careful of. All of the ice, you can’t give him any time or space. The less time you give him, the bigger chance you have to frustrate a player like this.”
 
Bellemare did some talking with Jagr a couple times in Tuesday’s game. So did Provorov. Bellemare says it helps to add psychology to the mix.
 
“You try to be in his face,” Bellemare said. “If you can win that battle against that line and our first line can win the battle against their fourth line, then it’s a win-win situation. I was trying to be in [Jagr’s] face.”
 
Jagr actually got angrier at Provorov and it showed with his hooking calls. But when Bellemare and Jagr went into the corner, Jagr got testy with his stick there as well.
 
“He was trying to give it to me a little harder,” Bellemare said. “Exactly what I need. If he is less focused on the puck, then maybe I have a chance to win that puck.”
 
McDavid’s focus will be solely on the puck.
 
“McDavid has been playing some pretty good hockey,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “They’re a high-tempo team. A smart team. We’ve got to be ready.”
 
Loose pucks
Boyd Gordon came off long term injured reserve onto the active roster to give the Flyers 13 forwards. In doing that, Matt Read (oblique pull) went on injured reserve. … Defenseman Michael Del Zotto will sit against the Oilers while Radko Gudas returns from an illness. Gudas will be paired with Mark Streit, as Ivan Provorov remains with Andrew MacDonald for now. … Steve Mason, who did not practice Wednesday, will start in goal.