Why did, many fans asked in the immediate moments following the announcement that the Eagles traded away linebackers Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd, Jr. to Indianapolis for cornerback Kevin Thomas and a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2013, the Eagles bring in another cornerback to compete with an already-deep talent pool.
I don't know if Thomas can make it here. I know that once upon a time he was a third-round draft pick and that he spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve after suffering a torn ACL with the Colts. I know that he has good size at 6 feet, 190-plus pounds. I know that he can play outside cornerback, so there is some fresh competition for second-year man Curtis Marsh, among others.
I know that players like Brandon Hughes and Cliff Harris Trevard Lindley just lost a few reps in practice, so they need to make their time on the preseason field valuable on every rep.
I know that the Eagles are likely to keep four, maybe five, cornerbacks when they whittle down to the 53-man roster in September, and that Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Joselio Hanson and Brandon Boykin are already four very strong candidates to remain.
And I know that in return for Fokou and Lloyd, two good players who just weren't going to make this team, the Eagles received a conditional seventh-round draft pick for 2013, which always comes into play and which can be flipped at anytime and polished to be a lot shinier than it appears now.
It is a good deal for the Eagles. They gave up players they projected to be outside the 53-man roster limit and added a seventh-round draft pick for next season.
Fine with me.
As for linebacker, are the Eagles now thin there? Not really. They have nine on the roster -- starters Brian Rolle, DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks, along with Jamar Chaney (a key depth player all three spots who is still competing with Rolle on the weak side), Casey Matthews (No. 2 in the middle at the moment), Akeem Jordan (playing well at SAM in camp), Keenan Clayton, Monte Simmons and Ryan Rau. The Eagles may add a linebacker in the next few days, anyway, just to make sure they have enough bodies.
In the scheme of things, this is considered to be a "minor" transaction, but you always have to keep an eye on what a draft pick becomes. Can't you see Howie Roseman and Andy Reid using that seventh-round pick from the Colts, maybe an early seventh-round pick at that, in a package to move up in the draft next year? You know how the Eagles love to flip their draft picks.
As for Thomas, the Eagles want to see him in press coverage and see how he uses his strength. This is what Todd Bowles wants in his cornerbacks. Big guys who can handle business at the line of scrimmage. I've seen a strong bump from Lindley this summer as he works into the Bowles ways. Not sure if Lindley makes it here, but he's had a good camp.
Fokou was a good player and a fantastic, community-oriented person while he was here, and we wish him good luck. Go win a starting job in Indianapolis (which may sweeten that seventh-round pick), Moise! Lloyd is a good kid who is looking to get some traction at linebacker in this league.
That the Eagles did the deal with the Colts is, of course, no shocker. Colts GM Ryan Grigson and Roseman are tight friends and had just done a deal a couple of weeks ago to bring in defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu, who has been a nice contributor in camp.
Clearly, Roseman knows what the coaching staff wants. Jim Washburn wants defensive linemen who get up the field quickly and who play relentless football. Bowles wants big corners who can press and who can turn and run, and Thomas is said to fit that mold.
The end result of Thursday's trade? We'll see how the three players moved pan out in the short term. There's a month to go before the rosters are down to 53. In the long term, the Eagles are clutching a draft pick that is there's to have, hold, and use in any way they deem appropriate in the 2013 draft season.