No two teams in football trade with impunity more than the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that the two teams found common ground on a deal in the days leading into Week 1.
Philadelphia is sending cornerback Eric Rowe, a 2015 second-round pick, to the Patriots for offensive lineman Josh Kline and a 2018 fourth-round pick, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported according to a source. The 2018 pick can upgrade to a third-rounder if Rowe satisfies certain conditions. This is a move that continues Eagles VP Howie Roseman's erasure of the Chip Kelly era, while giving the Patriots another option for a quietly thin cornerback group.
Rowe was not in the top four cornerbacks on the Eagles' depth chart under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. There were open questions about whether he would make the team, which is why it's surprising the Patriots would give up a decent draft pick to acquire him.
Kline started 18 games over the last three seasons and was a part of the team's interior line struggles last year. He looked penciled in to start this year, but the Patriots must be confident in their depth with Jonathan Cooper, Shaq Mason and rookie undrafted player Ted Karras.
Bill Belichick said Tuesday that you don't really know your team until the middle of October. The next month will include a lot of tinkering, and that includes seeing whether Rowe can crack a Patriots cornerback depth chart where rookie Cyrus Jones and Justin Coleman are the top backups at the position.
Belichick has struggled drafting second-round defensive backs over the years, so perhaps he will have better luck with a pick that another organization clearly regrets selecting.