Eagles desire to upgrade the WR2 position could lead them to the AFC North

The Eagles may be Super Bowl Champions, but they are still looking for ways to improve their roster. There aren’t many- if any- glaring holes in the roster, but there are a few areas that the team could stand to upgrade. One of those positions is the WR2 slot occupied by Torrey Smith last season.

It may have flown under the radar a bit due to the fact the Eagles were seventh in yards per game (365 YPG) and third in points (28.6 PPG), but the Eagles got very little production at the WR2 spot across from Alshon Jeffery. Smith averaged a meager 27 yards per game, and caught one or less passes eight times last season. Although he was solid in the playoffs, he was a relative non-factor majority of the season.

The Eagles were talented enough to overcome his shortcomings and bring the Lombardi to Philly, but they’ll need to find Wentz a new weapon if they want to retain their title next year. I was scouring through the rumor mill to see if there were any potential matches for the Birds, and actually found two trade candidates that fit the bill in the AFC North:

 

WR Martavis Bryant
The disgruntled Pittsburgh Steeler Martavis Bryant has already publicly expressed his desire to be traded, after seemingly falling out of favor with HC Mike Tomlin and behind rookie sensation JuJu Smith-Schuster on the depth chart.

Additionally, the Steelers are expected to listen to trade offers for the young receiver at the NFL Combine, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. I’d expect the Steelers brass to hear from Howie Roseman in Indy, and wouldn’t be shocked to see the teams strike a deal.

Adding a receiver of Bryant’s caliber would be a brilliant move for the reigning champs to pull off. Bryant is three years younger than Torrey Smith- more talented too- and would give the Eagles another big-body receiver with a seemingly unlimited catch radius. A good offense can never have too many weapons, and the Eagles offense could certainly find a role for a receiver who makes these types of catches:

Some people may think of Bryant as a locker room cancer because of the way he tried to force himself out of Pittsburgh, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. The former Clemson Tiger simply feels that he is too talented a player to be relegated to a WR3 role, and wanted the opportunity to shine elsewhere. Bryant isn’t the first person to seek greener pastures after being assigned a job they’re overqualified for and won’t be the last. I think his stance is completely understandable and don’t envision him being a poor locker room presence if he were acquired.

As far as trade offers go, I think a trade package based around Mychal Kendricks could entice the Steelers. Pittsburgh may have lost stud linebacker Ryan Shazier forever due to a severe spinal injury, and Kendricks could cushion the blow of that loss, as well as help turn their defense around.

Another potential offer would be to deal Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to the Steel City. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has publicly pondered retirement on multiple occasions, but the team possesses a roster that can compete in the AFC well beyond his career. Foles is a proven winner and would be able to usher Pittsburgh into a new era once Big Ben decides to hang ‘em up.

 

WR A.J Green
Six seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards. 8213 receiving yards and 57 receiving TDs. Seven seasons, seven Pro Bowls. The numbers practically speak for themselves, as A.J Green has simply been dominant since he entered the NFL. Some may be wondering why Green is featured on this list, as the Bengals would be foolish to deal their superstar receiver, but it may not be as outlandish as it seems.

This is all pure speculation on my part, but I think the Bengals would ship Green for the right price. Green is already 29 years old and only has two years remaining on his current deal. Couple that with the fact that the Bengals are a far cry from Super Bowl contenders- they haven’t won a playoff game since 1990- and have already wasted

Green’s prime with rosters incapable of going beyond the divisional round. Bottom line, Cincinnati would be better off trading Green while his value is still high, as opposed to letting him walk for nothing when his deal expires. If they do indeed trade the superstar, they’ll almost certainly want to trade him out of the conference- in steps the Eagles.

Although the Eagles will likely be drafting in the back of the first round for years to come, their picks are still coveted by teams because of the fifth-year contract options for first rounders. For that reason, I think a package centered around Philly’s 2018 and

2019 first round picks would be fair for both sides. Cincy gains an additional first round selection in the next two drafts to try and build their core for the future, and the Eagles land a big time talent as they load up to try and retain their title.

A Martavis Bryant trade seems a lot more plausible than a swap for A.J Green, but never doubt the aggressiveness and trade savvy of GM Howie Roseman. Roseman leads the NFL in trades since 2010, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make a few more as he builds the Eagles into a dynasty

 

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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