The trade deadline is a little over 24 hours away and after a big-win over the Bills, the Eagles sit at 4-4 with the NFC East title firmly within reach. Should they be buyers at the deadline? Here’s a whilestop guide to the perfect framework for Howie Roseman and co.
Pursue a team-need
The Eagles interior defensive line may have held their own against the Bills, but expecting a group comprised of Fletcher Cox and three former UDFA’s to handle business throughout the second half of the season could be a little too lofty.
But, there’s a problem. The Eagles are already contractually committed to Malik Jackson and Fletcher Cox for the next few years and while a name like Geno Atkins or Leonard Williams (just traded to the Giants) would immediately inject some ferocity to the position, paying 3 DT’s north of $10M per year is going to be a struggle…and it’s not exactly going to make Jackson the happiest Bunny on the farm.
It’s also worth noting that Timmy Jernigan could be reasonably close to returning soon, throwing yet another spanner in the works.
Free-agent acquisitions may well be the way to go here unless Howie can poach another under-the-radar stud.
There are also a lot of eyes on Jets WR Robby Anderson, and rightly so. The Eagles were high on the speedster last year and he’s reportedly being shopped around again. The problem in trading for Anderson is that DeSean Jackson exists and is returning to practice within the next week, per Doug Pederson. Can we really afford ‘too many chefs in the kitchen: EP2’?
The only way I see Philly pushing for Anderson is if they decide to move on from Nelson Agholor…but that’s a separate point we’ll touch on shortly.
Penultimately, let’s just talk cornerback for a second. No cornerback (Yes, including Mr RAMsey) would single-handedly fix this secondary. There’s too much schematic deficiency to even contemplate that. The other issue is that now Mills and Darby are healthy, LeBlanc will return soon along with Maddox. That’s full-health.
If you’re having to make a move because your secondary ‘isn’t good enough’ eight weeks into a season where you’ve had backups playing the whole time, that’s a sign of poor management.
Finally, linebacker. The Eagles linebacker corps is a shadow of its former self. Zach Brown was cut and Nigel Bradham is injured. Fab. The Birds’ linebackers are struggling with consistency and a big name could really boost the unit. But wait, Liam, how could they afford say, Lavonte David?
Make a statement
Cutting Zach Brown, Akeem Spence and Orlando Scandrick carries about the same intimidation factor as me after one Vodka and Red Bull. There is no way that releasing veterans on minimum deals is going to set a tone or enhance accountability. If you still want to set that tone, cut/trade Nelson Agholor.
Aggy has struggled this season and it’s more than just dropped passes. Effort has come into question on a couple of occasions and considering how many snaps he’s seeing, his $9.3M cap hit is just looking disgusting at this stage.
Let’s look at a handy little comparison, shall we?
WR1: 20 rec, 28 targets, 300 yards, 2 TD’s
WR2: 29 rec, 46 targets 261 yards, 3 TD’s
WR1 is Jordan Matthews from 2018. WR2 is Nelson Agholor’s 2019. Startling isn’t it?
If the Eagles can shift Agholor as a deal-sweetener, two things will happen:
- The $9.3M can be used directly against the player they’re trading for, meaning that let’s say it is Geno Atkins, they’d only pay $2M extra than they already are.
- It sends a direct message that nobody is safe. Agholor has one of the highest cap-hits on the team this season and the mentality of ‘if the Eagles are prepared to cut ties with him, then why not me?’ would surely be instilled.
Also, for an offense that’s rapidly becoming the Alshon/Ertz show and is lacking production from literally every other wide receiver, bringing back Jordan Matthews on a minimum deal makes plenty of sense.
Matthews thrives in Philly, he always has. He’s best friends with Carson Wentz and even adopted one of Carson’s dog’s puppies. Getting the band back together ahead of a tough stretch of games makes plenty of sense here.
The Eagles met with a LOT of big receivers pre-draft. Don’t believe me?
R2: A.J. Brown, Ole Miss: Official visit
R2: Parris Campbell, Ohio State: Official Visit
R2: N’Keal Harry, Arizona State: Official Visit
R2/3: Emanuel Hall, Missouri: Combine
R3/4: Diontae Johnson, Toledo: Official Visit
R4: Mecole Hardman, Georgia: Official Visit
R4/5: David Sills, West Virginia: Senior Bowl, Combine
R5: Jalen Hurd, Baylor: Official Visit
R5: Hunter Renfrow, Clemson: Senior Bowl
R6/7: Olamide Zaccheus, Virginia: Local Visit
R7: Alex Wesley, Northern Colorado: Senior Bowl
UDFA – Ventell Bryant, Temple: Local visit
UDFA – Vincent Papale, Deleware: Local visit
UDFA – Jesper Horsted, Princeton: Local visit
They then drafted J.J Arcega-Whiteside, who stands at 6’5. The intent to develop a ‘big-slot’ receiver may well be echoed by the fact JJAW is ‘cross-training’ three positions. If the Eagles don’t re-sign Matthews, it makes sense to at least give your second-round rookie a run in the slot.
The dream scenario
Step one: Trade for a LB/DT with Nelson Agholor in the equation. You can find a full-list of trade candidates here:
Step two: Re-sign Jordan Matthews OR move JJAW inside.
Step three: WIN!
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Liam is a 24-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.
You can contact him here: Phillysportsnetwork@gmail.com