Free agency is just around the corner and Eagles fans are chomping at the bit to see how the hectic period will kick off. Is Nick Foles going to be franchise tagged? Who of the pending free agents will re-sign with the Birds? Do the Eagles have a shot at landing one of this year’s free agent stars? They’re all valid questions, but what about the trade market?
The Eagles have a very young and versatile roster and though there are plenty of holes to fill, they’re deep in other areas. If the free agent market is a little too expensive to flirt with, the possibility of a trade always remains…which leads us to ask the question, who are the team’s most valuable trade assets?
Now, for this article, I’m going to leave out the ‘obvious’ ones. Teams would give up just about anything for a player like Carson Wentz and the price would be high for a leader like Malcolm Jenkins. Instead of going down that route, here are the players who are most likely to be viewed as a ‘trade chip’ or could entice teams into a deal.
Rasul Douglas, cornerback
The Eagles have a flurry of cornerback depth and Rasul Douglas at this point in time, may be the most valuable. After Ronald Darby went down with injury, the West Virginia product, who had seemingly fallen our of favor in the secondary, was asked to step up.
It didn’t take long for the then third-year player to make his impact, tallying three interceptions on the season, with his first actually coming in the season opener. A sudden surge in tackling form saw Douglas go from overlooked to man you couldn’t stop looking at. His thunderous collisions when asked to play downhill were partnered with the rangy instincts we’ve come to know and love and in turn, this kind of negated the loss of Darby.
Going into next season, one would assume however that Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones will be the starting outside corners as of right now, with Maddox in the slot. This leaves Douglas as a depth CB once more, but you can absolutely make the case that he should be competing for a starting role.
This, gives the Eagles some luxury. With a plethora of cornerback depth, they may be able to include a DB in a trade during the offseaosn without realistically losing a starter. Douglas has the potential to be regarded as a future starter in a variety of schemes and still on his rookie contract, the cost-production ratio is an appealing one.
The question is, would the Eagles be willing to part ways with Douglas? I’m not saying he’s going to be shopped around by any means, but if a team comes knocking, he could be one of the most valuable trade assets on the roster.
Nelson Agholor, wide receiver
I wrote about this in much more depth recently, because I genuinely believe a trade is tbe best option for both parties here. Agholor has gone from zero-to-hero in Philadelphia, but after the Eagles picked up his option last year, he now carries a $9M cap hit.
Can the Eagles justify $9M on a slot receiver? The answer is debatable, but when you factor in how much it would cost to bring back Golden Tate or Jordan Matthews, it probably becomes a lot more difficult to do so. The Eagles could always cut Agholor, but why would they when the free agent slot marker is so dire?
Agholor’s 736 yard, 4 TD season, was a little quieter than his breakout, but considering the amount of noise around the Eagles offense, it’s commendable. The Eagles can’t really afford to give this young receiver the payday he deserves, but a team, such as the Indianapolis Colts (Hello, Frank Reich, how are you?) have the leverage and the positional need to take on that cap hit and restructure a longer-term deal to fit both parties. Teams will likely have their eyes on Agholor, especially if players like Adam Humphries secure a deal upwards of $10M.
‘That’ second round pick
The Eagles have a pair of second-round picks going into the offseason after acquiring Baltimore’s during the trade down to select Dallas Goedert. This could be invaluable to Howie Roseman and company for a few different reasons.
Firstly, it’s obviously a tremendous opportunity to select a high-potential player to fill a position of need. This is great, but the Eagles are entering year four of what was originially a five-year window. They’ve already won a Super Bowl, but to sustain that success, they shouldn’t be building for the future if there is an opportunity to acquire some strong talent to help them win now.
That brings us to our second point. The Eagles could either flip this pick to move down once more, or, could use it as leverage in negotiations. There are plenty of players who are banging the table to try and drum up a trade marker and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that Howie Roseman is a master negotiator in these situations. If there was a chance to acquire a surging talent to fill the trenches at the cost of a pick they acquired last year, why wouldn’t they take the plunge?
Teams like second-round picks because there’s always the potential of a first-round talent slipping into the second if a ‘run’ on a particular position dictates. Or, an injured player, like Sidney Jones for instance, could likely fall down.
Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles wheeling and dealing when it comes to draft picks this year, knowing full-well that they have a pair of second-rounders at their disposal.
Stefen Wisniewski, offensive guard
It’s hard to find quality offensive linemen in the NFL, it’s also hard to find cheap ones. At age-29, Wisniewski has just a $3M cap hit to his name and has had quite the journey in Philadelphia.
Originally signed to a prove-it deal, he played his way to a 3-year deal and was imperative during the team’s Super Bowl run…but somehow ended up being benched midway through the 2018 season despite a complete lack of justification.
Wisniewski has expressed an interest to start and wanted to do so in Philadelphia. Two year’s he’s hoped for that reality and two year’s it’s been external circumstances dictating whether he starts or rides the bench.
If Wis’ wants to force a move away from Philadelphia, the Eagles have Matt Pryor waiting in the wings after ‘redshirting’ his rookie year. Wisniewski is a starting caliber talent and the Eagles would be able to get a nice return for a veteran player who has started at both guard spots and at center during his career.
Who do you think are the Eagles biggest trade assets? Let us know in the comments!
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports