How Philadelphia Eagles handed Micah Parsons to Dallas Cowboys, and now live to regret it

MAC ENGEL
Forth Worth Star-Telegram (TNS)
Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Micah Parsons (11) during an NFL football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

While the Dallas Cowboys’ front office pops Cristal every time Micah Parsons makes another play, the same people in Philadelphia should offer their resignation.

In the Cowboys’ 27-20 win at Washington on Sunday, Parsons made plays that buried both the Washington Football Team, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Washington felt Parsons on Sunday, but no team feels him every week like Philly.

Parsons should win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award, and NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, too.

The last (and only) guy to do that was Lawrence Taylor, in 1981. The comparisons and similarities between the Cowboys’ No. 11 and the New York Giants’ No. 56 look fictional.

The best part: The Cowboys didn’t want him. Neither did the Eagles, who had him.

Of all the events that happened in the history of the rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, the Micah Parsons Project is one of the best/worst.

This could be a new Netflix series, “Why I Hate My Favorite Team.”

Do not ever forget that Parsons was the Cowboys’ third target in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Do not ever forget that Parsons was not a player of interest for the Eagles in the 2021 NFL Draft.

How it happened: So with the 10th overall pick in the draft, the Cowboys made it known they needed a cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs.

They wanted South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II.

Horn was selected eighth by the Carolina Panthers, and Surtain II went ninth to the Denver Broncos.

The Cowboys owned the 10th pick and they made the rare move to trade within the division, sending the 10th pick to Philadelphia in exchange for the Eagles’ first-round spot at No. 12 and their third-round selection, No. 84 overall.

Rather than take Parsons, who played at Penn State and grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Eagles used the 10th pick to select Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith.

Smith has had a nice season and looks like a good pro, but this is the type of swap that haunts general managers. You can’t erase mistakes like these.

As of today, this looks like one of the worst draft-day deals this century, and Eagles GM Howie Roseman will have a hard time explaining this as he tries to hold on to his job.

The Eagles are flirting with their second-straight losing season, and have not won double digit games since their Super Bowl season in 2017.

They made it possible for the Cowboys to get Parsons at 12, and then selected defensive lineman Chauncey Gholston in the third round.

Eagles aren't only team to pass on Parsons: Please note there are a handful of other GMs who have to explain why they passed on Parsons, too.

The teams that don’t are Jacksonville Jaguars (QB Trevor Lawrence), Atlanta Falcons (Kyle Pitts), Cincinnati Bengals (Ja’marr Chase), Miami Dolphins (Jaylen Waddle), all of whom were selected in the first six picks.

Actually, even those teams may need to explain why they didn’t take Parsons.

And if you had to re-do the 2021 NFL Draft today based on production, Parsons goes No. 1.

Even after the Eagles passed on him, he was there at No. 11. The Chicago Bears opted for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.

For Cowboys, need and best player overlapped: The Cowboys had to have a defensive player, and Parsons was the best remaining defensive player on the board.

Unlike in 2020, when the Dallas Cowboys drafted based on the best player available in Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 17th pick, in 2021 they went with need.

And need happened to overlap with who was also the best player available.

The Cowboys had no idea Parsons was going to be this good. In fairness, no one did.

Maybe it was because Parsons opted out of the 2020 season at Penn State. He was not considered a safe high first-round pick.

Whatever the reason so many teams passed on him and he landed with the Cowboys, nothing about his game looks like the standard NFL rookie.

Playing multiple positions and excelling at them all: Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has used Parsons in nearly every spot other than cornerback. And Parsons could likely play there, too, if needed.

On Sunday, he had two sacks, two tackles for losses, and a forced fumble.

In the first quarter, his sack of Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke resulted in a fumble that defensive end Dorance Armstrong picked up and returned 37 yards for a touchdown.

Later in the half, Parsons was 30 yards down the field to help with a pass break up.

He wrecks game plans: He is the guy when an opposing team breaks the huddle the QB immediately finds, and offensive linemen locate. He wrecks game plans.

Parsons has 9.5 sacks in the last six games, and is accumulating the stats, and national praise, that will result in him winning major awards.

When he wins, remember when it came time to select players in the 2021 NFL Draft, he was the Cowboys’ third choice, and the Philadelphia Eagles traded up only to avoid him.