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Trade Complete: Brown, Gocong to Cleveland for Picks and LB Hall

A "Good Deal"? Not Really
By Lance Epstein

According to PhiladephiaEagles.com reporter Dave Spadaro and The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane, the Eagles and Browns have completed a trade. The trade sends starting cornerback Sheldon Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong to Cleveland. In return the Eagles will receive Cleveland's 2010 fourth-round pick (105th), fifth-round pick (137th) and LB Alex Hall (former seventh round pick).

Head coach Andy Reid must not have been joking last week when he stated the team was fielding calls for Brown. Reid and GM Howie Roseman praised both Gocong and Brown for play with the Eagles.

"Sheldon Brown has been a very good football player for the Eagles over the last eight years," Reid. "He's a good person, a legitimate tough guy and he'll do a good job helping the Browns. Chris did a good job converting from defensive end to linebacker and helped us win a lot of football games. We wish both of them all of the best."

"Sheldon and Chris have been nothing but professionals on and off the field during their tenure in Philadelphia and we wish them all the best as they continue their careers in Cleveland," Roseman Said. "

Hall (6-5, 250 pounds) has played in 30 games over his two-year career, but has only started two games. In his limited playing time, he has recorded three sacks, 30 tackles and a handful of special teams tackles.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, Hall has not recorded a sack since his first three games of his rookie season. Although Hall, 24, finished as the all-time leader in sacks at St. Augustine College with 26.

Do not expect Hall to be used at defensive end but at SAM linebacker. Hall has the size and athleticism to be a good SAM linebacker and compete for the starting job with Moise Fokou according to Roseman.

"Alex Hall is a big, athletic linebacker who we've had our eyes on over the last couple of years and he'll have a chance to compete at the SAM linebacker spot," Roseman said.

However, yet again it appears like the Eagles are trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. Like Gocong, Hall is a linebacker who converted from defensive end. While everyone hopes for a different result, he could wind up having the same problems in pass-coverage that Gocong had.

So the question now becomes did the Eagles get enough for Brown and Gocong? No they did not. While Brown might have been on the downside of his career, he still is a quality starting cornerback on a cheap salary. Yes, he probably was making a fuss behind the scenes and the Eagles did not like him airing their dirty laundry out to the media, but right now they do not have anyone with nearly the talent to replace him.

Furthermore, the Eagles have put themselves between a rock and a hard place. They have to hope the guy they covet in the draft fall to them at 24, if not they are in trouble. Although they do have the ammo to move up now. Even if they get the guy rookie they want, he is unproven and could turnout to be a bust.

That said, there is no way the Eagles can start the season with Joselio Hanson, Ellis Hobbs or Marlin Jackson as the starting right corner. They need a impact player. Look for them to take either Boise State's Kyle Wilson or Rutger's Devin McCourty in the first round (if they fall to them).

Why was it okay when the speculated deal was a reported third rounder and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson? Due to the fact, Jackson is a proven linebacker in the league. He would have been an upgrade to the corps. With Hall you do not know if he can cover tight ends like Jason Witten or Chris Cooley like Gocong could not do. Plus a third round pick could have been a top 75 pick.

All in all, the Eagles now have 10 selections in the 2010 NFL Draft: 1st round (24th overall), 2nd round (55), 3rd round (70, from Seattle), 3rd round (87), 4th round (105, from Cleveland), 4th round (121), 5th round (137, from Cleveland), 6th round (200, from Indianapolis), 7th round (243, compensatory pick), and 7th round (244, compensatory pick).

With all those picks, the Eagles will definitely try to find a cornerback to replace the departing Brown, but whoever he is will have huge shoes to fill. Brown was a leader on the field, was one of the most sound corners in the league and never missed a game due to injury in his entire career.

UPDATE: The hold up in the deal was Brown getting his long awaited new contract. Expect his deal to be reported soon. Last year, the Eagles refused to give him an extension with more money and he took it to the media. Sources inside the organization say that they were still upset at the way Brown handled his demands last year.

GM Howie Roseman's Press Conference:

On sheldon’s demands or move related:
For us it is always a football decision. We feel really good about some of the guys we have on this football team at the position. We get Ellis Hobbs back, we trade for Hobbs last year, we think he has the opportunity to come in here and compete. We still have Joselio (Hanson) and a couple of guys who can play corner and can play safety and were excited about it.
Alex Hall coming off on third down, is he a pass rusher and competing for the starting SAM Linebacker position:
Alex is coming here and competing for a spot. We’re going to start him off at the SAM linebacker spot. At least on first and second down, but he will have the opportunity to put his hand down on third down. An interesting prospect for us and he was productive for Cleveland a couple of years ago and did not have as much opportunity in the year.
What does this mean for the other corners on the team? Will Macho Harris be a corner?:
We are going to put all those options together in terms of the combinations at safety and corner. And I think it will all sort itself out here before the first training camp.
Flexibility to make moves in draft and trades:
I think it is exciting. I think it allows us to have a lot of options on draft weekend. If we wanted to move up or move around it gives us those options.
Is this rebuilding year:
No we are trying to win. We’re always trying to win. For us this is a football decision. We’re excited about some of the players on are team and quality in the draft.
Any corner that can play at the level of Brown and did his desire to get a new contract play a role:
First of all I say this again, it was a football decision for us. It gave us the opportunity to get two really good picks in this draft. And it gives an opportunity to Ellis Hobbs, who we traded for last year to step up and contribute to our defense. Asante Samuels has made some Pro Bowls so you asked we feel we have any other quality pro Bowl caliber players and I think he has show time and time again he is that kind of player.
Is there a corner that is as good as Brown though and can be as productive:
Yeah we like Ellis Hobbs. Hobbs was a starter on a team that went 19-0 (actually 18-1). We think that Ellis Hobbs is a good starting corner in this league. And we think we have other players on this team that can step into that spot and contribute. Obviously we have some options going forward in the draft and we will see what other things come available here.
On Offseason so far (releasing of veterans) and where the Eagles are going:
I think all of those veterans have been good players for and I do not want to slight those guys at all. I am really appreciative of the contributions that they have made to our team and our success. Just as we looked at it going forward, this year and what team we wanted to build we saw an opportunity to do that and obviously it won’t take full shape until we get to mini-camp or even further than that. We have a direction and a plan and we are just trying to executing it. Sometimes when you look at it piece-meal it doesn’t all come together.
On potentially drafting a starting cornerback, playing him as a rookie or competing with Hobbs:
Certainly, if you look at the whole picture we obviously feel as there is some good depth on the defensive side of the ball without getting into specific positions. If you look at the history of the past couple of years in the draft, guys coming in and contributing at any position you will see that there are opportunities for rookies to come in and play at a high level.
On interest in Seahawks guard Rob Sims:
We cannot talk about players under contract with any other teams.
What do you tell fans about shipping Sheldon out for only a fourth and fifth round pick:
What I say that is were trying to build a great team here, a great defense and a team they are proud of so were trying to execute that. We understand. Sheldon is one of my favorite players. When I spoke to him today I thanked him for all his contributions. I understand those feelings, but hang with us and see the players we bring in here. I think they will be excited once those players get on the field.
On moving Brown to safety:
Yeah we talked about that. We talk about all things. Sheldon wants to play corner and he sees himself as a cornerback and that is kind of where that ended.

1 comment:

  1. I think that they should have been able to do a little better with the draft picks they got back, at least they should be early in both rounds I haven't checked. This is a good draft to stock up on picks, I would have preferred like another 7 instead of Hall. Maybe if that would have happened they could have packaged the 7 and the 5 and moved up in the draft for another 4.