The NFL Trade Deadline is just a few days away and Sunday’s results could be the needle movers for many NFL franchises. Nobody really knows whether the Eagles should be buyers or sellers, but everyone expects them to be active. With that in mind, here are five trades that make sense ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
Eagles discover life after Ertz
Eagles get: TE David Njoku
Browns get: WR Alshon Jeffery, 5th round pick
The Eagles may have left the writing on the wall for Zach Ertz. After contract negotiations broke down and Ertz told reporters he wanted to stay in Philadelphia but didn’t know if it was mutual, he proceeded to have a very uncharacteristic start to the year. Ertz looked disinterested and dissociated while failing to register any kind of offensive output of note.
Prior to placing him on IR, the Eagles entertained offers from a pair of AFC outfits. Was this a sign of things to come? Were the offers that bad that they placed him on short-term IR instead? Either way, the team has an offseason to rekindle this relationship…if that’s what they want to do.
If they don’t, there’s a great young pass-catching TE in Cleveland who has fallen out of favor and is seeking a long-term contract that would easily be a lot cheaper than the one Ertz desires. The former first-round pick had a great 2018 campaign but has been hampered by injuries ever since. His fifth-year option was picked up, but then the team signed Austin Hooper and drafted Harrison Bryant. Njoku looks expendable and has just 83 receiving yards on 7 catches this season after battling a knee injury.
Prying Njoku away from a WR needy Browns shouldn’t take much. They have the most cap space in the NFL ($31M) and have a total lack of depth without Odell in the picture. If Higgins or Peoples-Jones pick up an injury, Cleveland’s playoff hopes could stand on the edge of a Knife.
The Eagles offload the headache that is Alshon Jeffery and his monumental cap-hit, while the Browns get someone with WR1 upside and a late-round pick as Howie’s way of saying thanks for taking Ser Alshonymous off of our hands.
He’s coming home
Eagles get: RB Jordan Howard
Dolphins get: 6th round pick and a Venti Pumpkin Spiced Latte
This would’ve been SO much easier if Genard Avery wasn’t placed on short-term IR today as he would’ve been the perfect low-cost addition to a pass-rush that lacks depth behind Emmanuel Ogbah, who is carrying the entire front four on his back.
Instead, the Eagles part ways with a late draft pick in order to bring home a running back who was averaging a career-high in YPC before his injury in the heart of last season. Howard was the perfect complement to Miles Sanders last year and the Eagles are missing that component of a decisive runner in their offense now that holes are narrower and rarer due to O-line injuries.
Howard has been a healthy scratch in his last two games and clearly left in the dark after Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida stepped up (both averaging over 3.5 YPC and tallying 445 yards between them) making him an afterthought despite signing a 2-year deal worth close to $10M.
A 6th-round pick for a running back who has 18 yards this season. Who says no?
Two birds, one stone
Eagles get: LB Foyesade Oluokun, OG James Carpenter
Falcons get: DE Vinny Curry 6th round pick
I had some fun with this one. The Eagles need linebacker depth, especially after Nate Gerry hit IR today. Foesayde Oluokun has two years left on his rookie deal and already has 15 games of starting experience. He has 55 tackles on the year and is a nifty coverage linebacker, which is what this defense is crying out for. He has four turnovers to his name already this year which would be a welcome addition to the Eagles.
As for 31-year-old James Carpenter, he’s allowed 1 sack in 507 snaps this year, but parting ways with him would free up nearly $4M in cap space, which is a lot for a team who currently has under $3M in funds available. It also gives the team half a year to see what they have in rookie Matt Hennessy if they fancy moving the center to guard and can work on his versatility.
The Falcons are trying to shop Takk McKinley and if they do so successfully, will need some edge depth desperately. It’s hard to find more bang for your buck than Vinny Curry in this instance, who has just returned to health and can take up to 40% of snaps off the table.
Eagles get: LB Avery Williamson, 6th round pick
Jets get: WR J.J Arcega-Whiteside
Howie gives his old pal Joe Douglas a visit knowing fully well the Jets could be starting a firesale and already have the 4th most cap space in the NFL.
Williamson is still only 28-years-old, fitting Roseman’s dream acquisition prototype. Coming off of a torn ACL, Williamson has 50 tackles this season and a PFF grade of 59.4 and has been one of the very few bright spots on the team. He would be a half-year rental meaning there’s no commitment beyond this season. Again, this is perfect for the Eagles.
If JJAW was indeed a Joe Douglas draft pick, then a straight player-for-player swap makes sense here. Douglas will see the upside in a player who could benefit from a change of scenery now that his cheaper and much better clone has broken out (Travis Fulgham). A rare opportunity to bring in a second-round talent with years remaining on his deal, JJAW would provide Sam Darnold with another big body with who he can grow with for the foreseeable future.
Plan B for the Eagles
Eagles get: CB Pierre Desir, 4th round pick
Jets get: WR J.J Arcega-Whiteside
If Joe Douglas wants to keep Williamson, it’s time to knock on the door of Pierre Desir. The former Colts CB once thrived in Indianapolis but found his way to New York as a CB1 on a prove-it deal. So far: He has not proved it.
Matched up against a team’s best receivers, Desir has been burned on double moves consistently, but has remained prominent in high-pointing the ball, picking off 3 passes this year.
Why would the Eagles have interest?
Avonte Maddox is 5’9 and no other corner aside from Darius Slay would be able to put ‘6’0′ in their Tinder bio. Maddox has struggled outside this season and is making his return from injury this Sunday. If he continues to be beaten on the outside and it’s clear he needs a move inside, the Eagles will have exactly 0 corners who can contend with taller receivers after parting ways with Jones and Douglas this offseason, and have 3 nickel corners.
The Eagles wouldn’t need Desir to be a world-beater, they’d just need him to hold up opposing WR2’s while Slay does his thing.
Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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