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Former NFL GM Randy Mueller Explains Eagles-Saints Pre-Draft Deal

Former NFL Executive of the Year Randy Mueller broke down a trade that saw the teams exchange a total of eight draft picks

The Eagles and New Orleans Saints upended the latest round of mock drafts in record time earlier this week when the two teams swung a deal involving significant draft capital that came together thanks to divergent philosophies.

While Philadelphia's Howie Roseman was eyeing the 2023 quarterback class, the Saints' Mickey Loomis evidently sees some opportunity in 2022.

On the surface, it seemed to make more sense from Roseman's side of the aisle as the Eagles essentially gave up the No. 16 pick in 2022 for the Saints' first-rounder in 2023 while also getting a late third-round pick this year (No. 101) overall and an extra second-round pick down the road in 2024 as the crux of the deal.

To make sense of things we called on former league executive of the year Randy Mueller for his take on what was behind the maneuvering.

"With this particular trade from both angles I think it's more obvious from Philadelphia's angle," Mueller, a former GM for the Saints admitted to's Eagles Today via JAKIB Media's Birds 365 show.

Mueller then pivoted a bit: "... I know from my history and really growing up with Mickey - we were together for 20 some years - my guess is there's another shoe that has to drop. I think making this move was probably the first of a couple (moves)."

Much like the Eagles did on their way to Carson Wentz in 2016, perhaps the Saints are gathering ammunition (picks 16 and 18) to move up again to target a quarterback like Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis.

Or Loomis might see the value in the draft dipping a bit after 20 or so and wants to get two players to compete in what figures to be a watered-down NFC this season.

Either way, Mueller's takeaway is that Loomis and the Saints have locked in their draft board early and are moving with a precise plan in mind.

"It tells me that (the Saints) have their board set for this year which is a little early which surprises," Mueller said. "They know where players are going to run out so to speak and maybe it's 20 people that they feel are quality, really good values. They have two picks in that top 20 now and we know the Saints need volume this year."

New Orleans' well-reported, salary-cap woes, which forced the team to allow star players like Terron Armstead and Marcus Williams to walk in free agency, are a big part of this.

"They're trying to move some things around cap-wise so the only really impact players they're going to be able to add because of the cap is through the draft," Mueller assessed, "and this might allow them to add two. If not, it gives them some versatility and maybe being able to move up another step."

That said, you don't trade to No. 16 with one player in mind, Mueller explained, because there are simply too many variables.

"You wouldn't make a deal like this now for a particular player because you don't know who's going to be there," he said.

As a former GM himself for the Saints and Dolphins and a high-level personnel executive with Seattle and the Chargers, Mueller found the deal intriguing.

"I think it was fascinating from my end to see the different philosophies," Mueller noted. "You mentioned Howie and the Eagles, who are much more analytically driven, much more trade draft-chart driven. In my opinion, Mickey won't be like that. He'll be a supply-and-demand guy as opposed to going off any charts or draft codes or anything like that.

"So a different philosophy. Maybe old school a little bit against new school, but I  think there's value for both these teams in making these deals. They're just building their teams in different ways."

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for's Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen