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Who’s really to blame for the J.J. Arcega-Whiteside mistake?

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Photo Credit by John McMullen/JAKIB Sports

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The J.J. Arcega-Whiteside saga is finally over for the Eagles. He was considered a disappointment, chosen 57th overall in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Stanford, seven places before eventual Seattle Seahawks star DK Metcalf. On Monday, Arcega-Whiteside was traded to Seattle for defensive back Ugo Amadi, who could play either nickel corner or safety.

The news of Arcega-Whiteside’s trade was applauded by Eagles’ fans and local media alike. A local sportscaster even had to get a little dig in while showing previous clips of Arcega-Whiteside, saying “We had to look hard to find that one.”

Okay, Arcega-Whiteside was a disappointment.

He did not play up to his draft status.

In three seasons, Arcega-Whiteside caught 16 passes for 290 yards and one touchdown in 40 games. The Eagles quickly found out he did not have separation speed from defensive backs and had trouble winning 50-50 balls. His production regressed as he progressed through the league, catching 10 passes for 169 yards and one score in 16 games his rookie season, four passes for 85 yards in eight games in 2020, and a mere two catches for 36 yards in 16 games last season, though played well on special teams.

Arcega-Whiteside deserves some blame there.

But who’s really at fault?

This goes up there with fans’ misguided ire when teams are perceived to overpay a free agent, and many aim their anger at the player, when it’s the team that deserves the blame for signing them to the ludicrous contract.

In the case of poor J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman, off a great run after this 2022 draft, made a blatant mistake and deserves the blame for Arcega-Whiteside. It goes back to Roseman outthinking himself and his outlier approach. It’s obviously since changed, since Roseman has gone with more certain picks, proven by taking Jordan Davis in the first round and Nakobe Dean in the third, both proven defenders out of national champion Georgia.

Yet, it was Arcega-Whiteside, who tried to bulk up to play tight end this year, that took the brunt of the derision when the trade was announced. Arcega-Whiteside was not a second-round draft pick and that bore out in his production. It was not his fault that he was chosen in the second round. The liability lies with Roseman and the Eagles.

The Eagles and Seahawks swapped players on the brink of being cut. Reports from Seattle hinted that Amadi, 25, would be clipped. A fourth-round pick in 2019 by Seattle, Amadi has more experience than Arcega-Whiteside, making 12 starts in 47 games, with one interception and 54 tackles in 2021. Even though the Eagles need help at safety, Amadi was primarily a nickel corner in three seasons, playing in 16, 14, and 17 games, respectively, in that span. His stats show he made 125 total tackles and forced two fumbles with the interception.

Reports from Seattle stated Amadi had been running with the Seahawks’ third-string defense.

Can he help the Eagles?

Who knows right now?

One thing is certain: Arcega-Whiteside gets a reprieve in Seattle with a caveat, seeing Metcalf every day, which may be a reminder of his stay in Philadelphia.