The Eagles have traded safety Johnathan Cyprien and a seventh-round pick to the Falcons, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). In exchange, Atlanta will send linebacker Duke Riley and a sixth-round choice to Philadelphia.
It’s a not-so-minor deal that addresses areas of need for two different contenders. The Eagles are now a bit better off in the front seven while the Falcons’ secondary has been somewhat fortified, with a small step down late in the draft for the Eagles.
Riley does his best work at weakside linebacker, where he makes an impact despite his less-than-ideal size. With Philly, he’ll fill the shoes of L.J. Fort, who has moved on to the Ravens. Meanwhile, Cyprien will help round out a Falcons safety group that is now without standout Keanu Neal.
Cyprien visited the Eagles in June, but did not join the club until August. This year, he’s been itching to show what he can do after missing the 2018 season with a torn ACL, but hasn’t been given much of an opportunity. A four-year starter with the Jaguars, and a ten-game starter with the Titans in 2017, Cyprien is still only 29 and capable of delivering big hits in the middle of the field.
Riley, 25, has also dealt with the injury bug. His 2017 rookie season was halted in October by a torn meniscus, though he has been on the field for every possible regular season game since then. Last year, Riley started ten times and amassed 60 total tackles.
The Eagles (2-2) and Falcons (1-3) already played their one matchup of the year on September 15, so Riley and Cyprien won’t cross paths until at least the playoffs, if the two teams happen to qualify and match up. By then, Cyprien could be in new threads – he’ll be out of contract in March. Riley, meanwhile, will be under Eagles control through 2020 on the final year of his rookie deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.