Eagles acquire veteran corner Hobbs

Updated: April 27, 2009, 12:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

In what might be a prelude to a trade of disgruntled cornerback Sheldon Brown, the Philadelphia Eagles acquired cornerback Ellis Hobbs from the New England Patriots for two fifth-round draft choices.

Hobbs
Hobbs

The deal Sunday, in which the Patriots further stockpiled draft choices with the 137th and 141st picks overall, came in the wake of Brown's request last week for a trade. Brown is unhappy with his current contract, but Eagles president Joe Banner had previously indicated the veteran will not be dealt.

The acquisition of Hobbs pleased Brown, but only because he hoped it could lead to his departure from Philadelphia.

"I think it's great," Brown told The Associated Press. "I look at it as great news in terms of me being traded."

Eagles head coach Andy Reid wasn't ready to accommodate Brown's wishes.

Brown
Brown

"This doesn't have anything to do with Sheldon," Reid said Sunday. "Sheldon is on this team. [Hobbs] gives us depth at cornerback. You can never have enough quality cornerbacks."

The Eagles recently traded one-time starting cornerback Lito Sheppard to the New York Jets.

Hobbs, 25, could replace Brown, if the latter is traded, or become Philly's nickel cornerback and reteam with former Patriots teammate Asante Samuel in the secondary. The Eagles, however, are believed to be pleased with the play of current nickel corner Joselio Hanson, who last year signed a contract extension, though he is listed as a backup. Also at backup is Jack Ikegwuonu, a 2008 fourth-round pick who spent his rookie season on injured reserve.

"One of my former teammates is there and I'm sure he said good things about me," Hobbs said. "I just look forward to getting out there and showing Philadelphia what I have. Hopefully, we can bring success that's already established there."

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Ellis Hobbs answers Justin Miller's 91-yd kick return for a TD with a TD return of his own.

There had been no indication prior to the draft that Hobbs could be available in a trade. Despite the many rumors surrounding other players, Hobbs was the first veteran to be traded in this draft.

With Hobbs entering the final year of his rookie contract, with a 2009 base salary of $2.545 million, according to NFL Players Association records, Philadelphia may seek to negotiate an extension with him.

"It's a shock at first, because you play your whole career in an organization," said Hobbs, who has one year remaining on his rookie contract. "But it's a business."

Hobbs seemed aware of the Eagles' situation with Brown.

"Obviously so ... to make a move like this," he said. "I heard rumors anyway that they were interested and things like that. I didn't have any expectations as far as something would shake this early.

"They're bringing me in here for a reason. But everything has to be earned out there. Nothing is going to be given."

A four-year veteran, Hobbs started all 16 games in each of the past two seasons. In 2008, he had 47 tackles, three interceptions, and 11 passes defensed. The former Iowa State standout has played in 63 games, with 49 starts, and has 198 tackles, 2.5 sacks, nine interceptions and 36 passes defensed.

The trade of Hobbs, who also returned kickoffs for New England, further indicates that Patriots coach Bill Belichick was not happy with the play of his cornerbacks last season. The Patriots are rebuilding the cornerback spot, and chose Darius Butler of Connecticut in the second round Saturday.

The Eagles did use three of their fifth-round picks, selecting Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram, 6-feet-3, 241 pounds, who missed his senior year with a torn ACL; Virginia Tech cornerback Victor Harris, 5-9, 195, who could move to safety; and Oregon left tackle Fenuki Tupou, 6-5, 316.

In the sixth round, they added Washington State wide receiver Brandon Gibson, who caught 57 passes for 673 yards last fall. In the seventh, they took Arizona State offensive lineman Paul Fanaika and Maryland linebacker Moise Fokou.

On Saturday, Philadelphia took two offensive stars, selecting Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin with the 19th overall choice and Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy in the second round with the 53rd overall pick.

Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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