Eagles, Saints Swap First-Round Picks

New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore and Philadelphia Eagles CB Darius Slay
New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore and Philadelphia Eagles CB Darius Slay
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Draft - The Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints have agreed to a trade that will involve first-round picks over the next two seasons. Full details to follow, but the big-picture is this: the Eagles are sending two first-round picks to the Saints in exchange for a first-rounder this year, another first-rounder next year, and a second-rounder in 2024, with a handful of later-round picks changing hands to make the point charts happy. 

OK, so ... why? The Saints move up from 18 to 16, passing the Eagles and also the L.A. Chargers. Perhaps they were worried the Chargers might take their preferred player, though that would involve forecasting a lot of moving parts several weeks ahead of draft day. It also gives them a pair of first-rounders this year, which is more immediate capital than they had on hand; maybe they'll bundle those picks into the top 10 or something.

For the Eagles, it's delayed gratification. They still have two first-rounders this year (15, via a trade with the Dolphins, and 18), and now they have two first-rounders in 2023 as well. In a draft class that's weak on quarterbacks, their plan might be to just grab two good players this season to get Jalen Hurts all the help he needs. And if Hurts fails to impress, they'll be able to trade up for a new quarterback next year.

Comments

43 comments, Last at 10 Apr 2022, 6:53pm

1 Eagles are betting the…

  1. Eagles are betting the Saints will suck in 2022.
  2. You can kiss that 1st round LB draft pick goodbye, mocks.

7 I think actually the Eagles…

I think actually the Eagles are betting that the first-round picks in '23 are better than those in '22. This isn't a great draft talent-wise at the top. The Saints aren't super likely to be that much worse.

Plus shoving 3 first-rounders in one year is awkward roster-wise and it's not trivial cap-wise if things work out with everyone. Overall I think this is a pretty darn good trade for the Saints, and the Eagles probably were struggling to find trade partners.

12 Feels like this trade was…

Feels like this trade was driven from the Saint's side. Not quite sure WHY however. 

So the Saint's basically turned their first round pick into 2 first round picks this year and upgraded their 7th to 6th by giving up their first next year and third this year and a second in 2024?

So the Saint upgraded their pick by 2 spots,  moved next years first to this year and upgrade their 7th to a 6th. And it cost them a third round pick and a second 2 years from now. 

I guess they wanted to restock talent but didn't have the cap space for free agency? Jameis Winston doesn't really scream GFIN now though. 

 

15 Buying a middle first-round…

Buying a middle first-round with a future first-round usually costs you more than just a second-round pick multiple years off. Like, a lot more. In terms of total draft value the Eagles could easily lose on this. Easily. And you rarely see that happen with trades that involve future picks. Especially considering the main compensation is two years off

I agree I don't understand what the Saints are thinking (they're not a team that should be pulling future value forward) but man, if I was more of a contending team, like, say, Buffalo? I'd do this trade every day of the week.

20 Adding more talent this year…

Adding more talent this year makes your future picks worth less, because you're a better team (unless there are externalities, like the cap with the Saints). It also makes you more likely to get extra picks via compensatory.

Basically, the Saints are borrowing the Eagles first round pick for extremely low interest.

13 My thought is that this…

My thought is that this allows the Eagles to have ammo to trade up for a QB in next year's draft if they decide that Hurts is not the guy.

I also think the Eagles got the better of this trade. The Saints gave up extra picks just to move up 2 slots in the first round and move a first rounder from next year to this year. For what purpose though?

If it's the idea that a couple of rookies will make them title contenders this year, I think they'll be sorely disappointed. If it's to setup a big move to trade up, this doesn't feel like the draft to do it.

17 I also think the Eagles got…

I also think the Eagles got the better of this trade. The Saints gave up extra picks just to move up 2 slots in the first round and move a first rounder from next year to this year. For what purpose though?

The meaningful extra pick is far off. The 6th/7th swap is candy, and giving up a 3rd to move up 2 spots is completely reasonable (considering it's a low third). Depending on the draft value chart, it's actually totally even.

So scratch the 18+3rd round pick->16 and ignore the 6th/7th swap as candy. Now you're left with "pick 19 for next year's first plus 2024's second." And that could actually be a win for New Orleans: if they sneak into the playoffs both years and win a game in '24, they could win that trade. Even if they struggle next year, if they rebound in '24 and have a great year they could still win it.

And that's ignoring the time value of the pick, which you can't do - future picks always have to be worth less otherwise a team can just borrow forward indefinitely.

From a draft economics point of view it's a terrible trade for Philly. It's not so bad if they're right that the draft next year is more valuable than this one.

19 You're coming to some weird conclusions.

The only reason to discount future picks much (as if these are 3+ off anyway) is because that's how GMs operate when they can be fired at any time. But as fans that doesn't affect us. They can only borrow up to like 7 years into the future anyway.

The only trade chart that values these as somewhat equal (since it's not hard to see how good NO will be) is the Rich Hill one. But in all likely both future picks will be in like the 20s of their respective rounds which is a W for Philly. And every other chart would agree with Philly move (PFF, Fitzgerald-Spielberger, etc). I detailed below the ranges of the JJ and even the worst case scenarios (Saints back to back champs, again, not likely) is pretty close to a Philly win.

Actually looks like a queen sweep. You must be REALLY discounting future ones. There is a very VERY small chance of the league folding if that's your fear. 

There's some small risk this backfires for them, of course, but unless NO is great multiple years in a row with a new (formerly bad) HC, etc. it mostly be fine for Philly. There was no need for 3 1sts in this draft for them. I'm not calling it a resounding win like many because there is some danger but if we're being honest NO is NOT going to be THAT good. Philly comes out ahead indeed and most people are coming to the correct conclusion (again, maybe too strongly but nonetheless the right one). 

24 "reduces the value of your future picks"

But how and why, from our perspective? Who cares about the FO jobs, who get compensated well for such entertainment? A 1st is 1st. We aren't worried about job security as fans. We SHOULD be able to hold for a year or two. That's the point of delayed gratification. You an Eagles fan with cancer or something that they HAVE to win before you die or something? 

I don't think I'm going out on a limb that NO won't even make the SB over the next two years and if so, that's a W for Philly. If they do though, ok W Saints I guess. That's a fair bet to make for Howie and weird one for Mickey thinking he can compete with the big boys after missing the playoffs last year and losing Payton and his starting safeties in a division with Tom Brady.

27 But

"future picks always have to be worth less otherwise a team can just borrow forward indefinitely."

there is a set amount of years they can trade ahead (might be actually only 3/4)? And so what if they do? I think you're too rooted in their job security and not ours as fans. If a GM thinks they can always just flip next years pick for whatever every year...that's on them for thinking that. One year they're gonna give up a high 1 (the scary part as fans).

33 One year they're gonna give…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

One year they're gonna give up a high 1 (the scary part as fans).

If a team loads up on borrowed draft picks and ends up with a high 1 they're a freaking terrible GM.

34 That still doesn't answer anything

The only people that can "discount" them are the people with their jobs on the line. But in reality they're literally the same value at no discount and there's no reason for us to apply the same logic as GMs when they can't even borrow that far enough into the future that we can guarantee that we'll be dead by then. 

You've got to be the only non-Saints fan in the world that thinks this is a W for the Saints but at the same time admitting it's weird, which you know, is the whole reason it's VERY likely an L for them.

36   You've got to be the only…

 

You've got to be the only non-Saints fan in the world that thinks this is a W for the Saints

Never thought that. Never said that, either. Anywhere. Just double checked, actually. I said it could be. If they were in a position to capitalize on it. Which they're not. It's a loss for both teams, although in Philly's case it's mostly forced so it's hard to criticize. Much easier to criticize the Saints decision.

38 Above you literally said

Overall I think this is a pretty darn good trade for the Saints, and the Eagles probably were struggling to find trade partners.

You think the Eagles were struggling to trade one of their 3(!) 1sts...in the teens...and that this good for NO!

How is it forced for Philly? A 1st is a 1st and you still haven't explained how a pick that's just a year away is worth less to organization when that pick will likely be in the teens again.

 

39 You're right! I did say that…

You're right! I did say that. Where exactly in there does it say I think it was a win for the Saints?

It doesn't. Because I don't think that. It's a good trade. As in, they got back good value for what they offered. It's not a win, because it's a stupid time for them to do it. It'd be like trading for one of the best WRs in the league when you've got some mediocre QB (wait...). What they traded is good value for what they got back. Dumb idea for that team to do it.

You think the Eagles were struggling to trade one of their 3(!) 1sts

Yes.

 you still haven't explained how a pick that's just a year away is worth less to organization when that pick will likely be in the teens again.

With regard to Philly the criticism of the trade isn't that they deferred the pick, it's that I believe they could've gotten more for it if they had waited until the actual draft itself.

40 Pat playing the semantics card again...

Good trade doesn't = a W. Even though the entire thing is on the basis that, hey, NO isn't that good and equating it to a trade for a player makes no sense when all that is involved are picks. 

IDK what I expected from the guy that is just NOW stating he THINKS they could've gotten more but at the same time was "struggling to trade" a pick in the teens, thus that =, could "In terms of total draft value the Eagles could easily lose on this. Easily."

Ok bud. 

28 Brokers and economists are…

In reply to by LondonMonarch

Brokers and economists are subject to that fear, too, but monetary inflation nevertheless has an independent driving function.

25 Compensatory picks act as…

Compensatory picks act as draft inflation. If you borrow ahead at equal cost to replace a high-end player you can then let walk, you net out the pick and the cap savings. (Obviously this doesn't work if everyone does it). There's also the effect that if borrowing forward is likely to be cheaper because you're likely to be better, although that could be countered by the whole tanking argument (so there are other effects, clearly).

There's also the separate issue of QB (and, I guess, WTF WR) cap growth: finding a young QB sooner rather than later is better because QB cost relative to cap inflates, but that can't last.

32 Anything traded in the 1st…

Anything traded in the 1st or 2nd round occurs before the inflationary mechanism. Compensatory picks can't occur before the 3rd round.

I'm saying that borrowing a pick from the future for equal cost nets you more than the cost of the pick because you can do more with it immediately. That's what inflation is: borrowing from the future at zero cost nets you more now because it's less valuable in the future.

It's not a perpetual thing, obviously, since it's a zero-sum system (so obviously, you borrow when you have the right opportunity). That's what I meant by the fact that gaining the first round pick reduces the cost of it - as in, if you're at 16 and you borrow ~17 assuming the cost of a first-round pick at 16, next year you're most likely to be lower than 16 so you're likely going to net out (because you got better). The fact that it's a zero-sum system counters that by the fact that the lender nets out better because giving up 16 makes them worse, so their pick next year gets better (on average) - but of course, that's just tanking.

35 I'm saying that borrowing a…

I'm saying that borrowing a pick from the future for equal cost nets you more than the cost of the pick because you can do more with it immediately. That's what inflation is: borrowing from the future at zero cost nets you more now because it's less valuable in the future.

The mechanism for that is tethered to monetary inflation, whose underlying mechanisms are probably credit and fractional reserve banking -- you can effectively have more money circulating in the economy than actually exists -- and population growth. Inflation is an observed effect and an outcome of external events -- it's not a fundamental rule of economics.

NPV=R_t/(1+i)^t. i isn't subject to a Heaviside step function or an absolute value -- it can be negative. Hell, this has happened in NFL history in the external economy. US interests rates basically hit zero during the depression -- a future trade was worth in the future exactly what it was now in currency terms, and given NFL contraction, was worth more in the future -- there were fewer players to go around.

But NFL teams -- Bengals aside -- usually spend to the salary cap and cannot loan money. So the expansion of currency and ability to lower costs in lieu of opportunities basically do not exist, or exist only in strongly truncated forms. (There is some association between currency and salaries paid, but the cap marches on in a predictable manner and salary is only millions to people worth billions; it's like if I bought a really fancy banana instead of a bruised one)

So the NFL is an environment where no one busts and all loans must be rigorously repaid as agreed, populations do not inflate, and everyone spends to the same proportional limit. A theoretical evaluation of effective i would indicate a value very close to zero.

37 Yes. Again, you're talking…

Yes. Again, you're talking about long term. Long-term, economies always have inflation, although I disagree on the mechanisms (my argument would be inflation exists because economists and businessmen have agreed they want it to always exist).

But even if you didn't always have long term inflation, there would be shorter-term cycles of inflation and deflation, and obviously you can profit by capitalizing on those opportunities so long as there are others that don't.

Really though talking about that as inflation/deflation is silly, it's really just "buy low, sell high." The Saints are betting that this is a low point for them, and while I disagree (hence the reason I think it's a lose/lose) it's a totally valid point that well-run teams tend to bottom out around the middle of the first round. Hence the reason why I think for Philly this is more about the fact that this year's draft sucks and they didn't have many trading partners.

 

2 Interesting.

So in total the JJ draft value

  • #16 - 1000
  • #19 - 875
  • #194 - 12.2

Total = 1987.2

  • #18 - 900
  • #101 - 96
  • #237 - 1
  • '23 1st - 590-3000
  • '24 2nd - 270-580

Total = 1857-4577

Slight risk but likely should end up being good for Philly. Of course that's if you're not pure quantity over quality of darts.

They could even get #32 next year but as long as '24 is ~55 or better I would say the quantity then would be > and a W for Philly. 

3 Saints are taking a big risk…

Saints are taking a big risk that they won't stink badly next year.

I guess with the Panthers and Falcons in their respective sorry states, maybe? 

4 So this is basically the…

So this is basically the Eagles giving pick 16 and getting the Saints' 2023 1st, 2024 2nd, and this year's supplemental 3rd (pick 101).

(The Eagles also move up from pick 19 to pick 18, and down from pick 194 to pick 237, this year. Which favors them slightly.)

Big win for the Eagles. The negative is waiting a year, getting that 1st in 2023 instead of 2022. The positives are that they also get a 2nd & 3rd, and the 2023 draft class looks stronger than this one, and the Saints' 2023 pick is expected to be earlier than 16 (they currently have the 13th worst Super Bowl odds), and there's a chance that the pick could be very early (a random 1st is worth more than a mid 1st, because the gap between early 1st & mid 1st matters a lot more than the gap between mid 1st & late 1st).

5 Cool bet

Interesting bet from Philly that the Saints will blow chunks this year (and probably the year after). Sneaky good way to position themselves for a top pick in ‘23. And the ‘24 pick will likely end up being top 40. 

Also, not sure they are really thinking this far in advance, but having 2 first rounders 2 years running is better than 3 in 1 year for managing the cap (at re-signing) if those picks end up working out.

A lot to like about this from Philly’s POV. 

8 Also, reading the analytics,…

Also, reading the analytics, the expected value gain from 18 to 16 is not worth the loss of a 2nd rounder and change. These are exactly the kind of deals those results hate 

9 So the Saints basically…

So the Saints basically. moved their 2023 first rounder to this year and moved up from 15->18? And paid a fair bit to do it?

Maybe it's a precursor to another move, but giving up the other picks seems to make that unlikely. Like it for Philly but seems odd for NO. 

 

10 Absolutely hate this for the Saints

Can't imagine what they're hoping to accomplish. They seem unlikely to do better than their middle-of-the-round finish this year, even in the NFC, and they gave up value unless you subscribe to the goofy idea that a first-round pick next year in a deeper pool is supposedly equal to a second-round pick this year in a weaker class, which has always seemed like magical thinking. (If I could give up my team's fourth-round pick for a second in two years or a first in three, I'd do it every goddamn year, and twice a year if I could.)

11 I don't really get this from…

I don't really get this from a NO perspective. They need a new franchise QB, and the draft next year will have better passers available, so why trade away a 2023 1st rounder?

14 This definitely feels like…

This definitely feels like NO stocking up for a move into the (bottom half of the) top-10. My gut says it's for a QB, despite their protestations that they're all in this year and every year, or whatever they said.

Except... Winston has a non-negligible cap number for next season, and won't have much incentive to renegotiate (accepting for the time being that Rookie QB would sit this year). Maybe they're counting on Indy taking another spin on the Wheel O' Flawed But Famous Veteran QBs next year (last year I'd have been kidding about this, but now...), since his cap number would still be pretty reasonable for a starter.

Or, well, maybe they want a non-QB. It seems eminently possible that either or both of Thibodeaux or/and Hamilton could still be there in the 6-12 range, which is roughly where they could reach now. Either might fit in right now and make an immediate impact, for a team still entertaining dreams/delusions of contention-ish.

18 As a nerd who enjoys Madden…

As a nerd who enjoys Madden more to put on my wannabe GM hat than to actually play video game football (and who makes more draft pick trades in a single season of Madden than most real GMs make in a career), this kind of thing is fun.

My gut reaction is that this is a no brainer for the Eagles. Unless I felt very strongly that there were 2 specific players I had to have with picks 16 and 19, I would much rather have pick 18 and the Saints' pick next year. Even if you assume the pick is in the midteens, I'd rather have the flexibility in a year where I might have decided I want to move on from Hurts. But there's also the chance that the Saints have a terrible year and that pick is in the top 10 or even top 5. (And as Dan pointed out above, the upside of a middle-of-the-round pick improving to the top of the round is way bigger than the downside of that pick moving to the end of the round...and realistically, I would be absolutely shocked if the Saints did better than the 6-7 seed and a wild card loss. So I don't see any way that pick drops below, say, 24). And I'm also getting an extra 3rd this year and an extra 2nd next year? Sounds great. (That 2nd next year could also help if I feel like I have to trade up, like for a QB).

31 People are reviewing a film that has not been released yet

Quick Question:

How good were the Saints (58-23 over the last 5 seasons)  last season?

Answer : Incomplete not enough consistent data for proper overall evaluation.

One can evaluate the performance of the players wearing Saints jerseys on the field last season, but that is not a good barometer to forecast 2022.

They set an NFL record for highest # of different starting players in a season.

Michael Thomas out for the year, Winston  played 7 games Kamara missed several games and the NFL essentially forfeited a game for them by not rescheduling the Miami game.