Eric Rowe was simply not a fit in Philadelphia.
Somehow the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots found a way to use the Eagles' discarded cornerback plenty in their improbable 34-28 comeback win in Super Bowl LI in Houston.
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No. 25 was on the field for 32 of the Patriots' 49 defensive snaps (65 percent) on Sunday night. In the Patriots' three playoff games, Rowe played 70.6 percent of defensive snaps. In the AFC Championship game against the Steelers, Rowe played 88 percent.
I know … who cares?
Here's why you should care: It's significant for the Eagles going forward because the fourth-round pick the Eagles got in exchange for Rowe can turn into a third-rounder if Rowe plays enough next season. This year, Rowe didn't play until Week 6, so he played just 43.3 percent of the Patriots' snaps during the regular season. That fell under the required 50 percent to turn that pick into a third-rounder. But if he plays at least 50 percent next year, that pick will still change.
Now, the playoffs don't count toward the percentage, but the fact that the Patriots played Rowe 65 percent of the time in the Super Bowl and 70 percent in the playoffs probably bodes well for next season.
Rowe went from being shipped out of Philadelphia to playing a large role for the Super Bowl-winning defense. So after the game, he wasn't too worried about what happened in Philly.
"I'm not even worried about that. I didn't fit and it led me right here," Rowe said to NJ.com in the locker room at NRG Stadium. "Honestly, I don't think it was a scheme fit thing, but it's whatever now, because I just got me a ring."
Originally, Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman said the reason the Eagles traded Rowe was because they had already determined they weren't going to extend him in two years. Later, Roseman admitted that didn't make any sense (see story). Instead, Roseman said the decision to trade him was because of the depth chart, his role and the value they got back.
In the Super Bowl, Rowe wasn't great. According to ProFootballFocus, he was targeted five times and gave up four catches for 75 yards, but just two of those yards came after the catch. One of those catches he gave up just happened to be one of the best catches in NFL history (Julio Jones in the fourth quarter). And Rowe's one pass defensed prevended a third-down conversion in the third quarter.
Not a great game. But Rowe gets a ring anyway. And maybe next year, the Eagles will get a third-round pick instead.