HOWIE ROSEMAN said Wednesday that he did not offer safety Malcolm Jenkins in a package to New Orleans for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Roseman, appearing on 94WIP, acknowledged bidding for Cooks, but indicated the Saints were seeking Jenkins, who was their first-round draft pick in 2009. Roseman said trading the team's 29-year-old leader of the defensive secondary "from our perspective, didn't make a lot of sense" because it would "hurt the team."
"Anytime good players are available in this league, we're going to be making phone calls, if they fit us," Roseman said. "That's our job, that's our responsibility, we've got to be aggressive . . . see what it takes to get them."
Roseman said there "wasn't anything we felt was close to being completed" with the Saints, who ultimately traded Cooks to New England for the final pick of the first round and a swap of later picks. Pro Football Talk said the Eagles offered Jenkins, a third-rounder and a fourth-rounder.
"By the same token, people should be interested in Malcolm Jenkins. He is a heckuva player," Roseman said. "We felt like the best combination for our football team was to go and address the receiver position the way we did in free agency (with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith), and keep our defensive backfield . . . We're continuing to try and address that position. We're very happy about the way it worked out."
Asked whether he had spoken with Jenkins about the report, Roseman said he didn't want to divulge specifics, but he said that "it's important" to talk to players in such situations.
"He certainly deserves the respect, when something like that comes out there, to communicate with him," Roseman said.
Jalen Mills, a seventh-round rookie last season who played 65 percent of the team's defensive snaps, is the only thing resembling a starting cornerback currently on the Eagles' roster, but, as Roseman noted, they have eight picks in what is said to be an exceptionally deep corner draft. (Mills led the team in performance-based bonuses, CSNPhilly reported, making an extra $324,112.11 for playing so much.)
Roseman said the Eagles "gotta be comfortable being uncomfortable for the moment" with their cornerback depth. "You look at that position and it's no secret we'd like to add some people there," he said. "But we also can't force it. We can't do anything that allows us to get away from taking the best player in the draft . . . pass rush helps out those DBs a lot."
He repeatedly emphasized that "we've got a long time before we start playing, a long time before training camp opens."
Roseman has taken heat from some quarters for the contracts he negotiated last year, when he returned from a one-year exile imposed by then-coach Chip Kelly. Roseman began Wednesday's interview by listing five of those players - Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Malcolm Jenkins, Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles - and noting that they would all have been free agents this year had he not acted then. Roseman called those signings "the first part of free agency." (He didn't address whether five years and $46.25 million for Vinny Curry was a good deal, or why the Eagles needed to sign backup QB Chase Daniel for three years and $21 million last year.)
Roseman negotiated Daniel's release with agent Jeff Nalley this week, adding offset language that apparently will allow the Eagles to recoup cap space next season, based on what Daniel's next team pays him this year. Roseman also brought back former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles for two years and $11 million.
"Big, has good arm strength, has experience winning games in this city," Roseman said of Foles, who is scheduled to meet with reporters Thursday afternoon at NovaCare.