The Philadelphia Eagles have traded defensive back Eric Rowe to the New England Patriots in exchange for a draft pick.
Offensive lineman Josh Kline had originally been expected to also be on his way to Philadelphia, but is now not a part of the deal.
While sources had told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Kline was likely going to be flipped by the Eagles, the Patriots now retain his rights, though they could also elect to release him.
Rowe was selected in the second round of the 2015 draft, which was overseen by former coach Chip Kelly. He started five games as a rookie and finished with 31 tackles, one interception and five passes defensed.
The 23-year-old was inconsistent, but showed enough promise to be considered a potential starting option heading into this season. Rowe (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) struggled to adapt to new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, however. Doug Pederson acknowledged that Rowe experienced “hiccups” early in the offseason and was “pulled back a little bit” as a result. He ended up sliding down the depth chart.
“Really from rookie year to this year, I personally think like I have gotten better in my technique, I’m getting comfortable with my press-man technique, with the deep balls I’m getting better with that technique. I really thought I played pretty well in the preseason games. So personally, I don’t have anything holding me back,” Rowe said Monday, prior to Tuesday’s trade, “but I don’t know what they’re thinking upstairs. I can’t control that, but nothing is really holding me back. I’m out there just really trying to compete.”
Rowe ruled out scheme change as a possible reason for his fall, saying his responsibilities remained largely the same as a press corner on the outside. He was aware of the trade buzz surrounding him over the weekend, and tried to take his mind off it by going to Philadelphia’s “Made In America” music festival. Back at the NovaCare practice facility on Monday, he said no one from the Eagles addressed the trade reports with him.
“I mean yeah, it’s tough, but all I can control is how I play out there,” Rowe said. “Maybe there’s something they don’t see in me, but I’ve just got to keep fighting.”
Rowe played safety and corner at Utah. The Eagles viewed him as a corner, but some evaluators thought he would make a better safety coming out of college.
Kline (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) is a four-year veteran who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State in 2013. He has played in 37 games (21 starts) for the Patriots (including playoffs).
The Patriots have some depth on the interior of their offensive line after drafting left guard Joe Thuney in the third round and acquiring Jonathan Cooper from the Arizona Cardinals in a trade for Chandler Jones.