Were the Eagles right to hold fire at the NFL Trade Deadline?

Howie Roseman
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 24: Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is pictured during the National Football League game between the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles on November 24, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The NFL Trade Deadline has come and gone and for better or worse, the Philadelphia Eagles will come off of this week’s bye with exactly the same team they went into it with. Was it the right decision to stand pat as opposed to buy or sell?

The bigger picture

Let’s zoom out just a tad. The Eagles are currently (somehow) sat on top of the NFC’s most iconic division. One that is feared by all this season due to its incredible combined record of *checks notes* 8-22. Ah.

Despite this, with a one-game lead going into the bye and that Bengals tie looking crucial, did the Eagles really need to spend on assets? It’s likely that they’ll at least be in a two-horse race for the NFC East Crown, which I presume will be a light-up baseball cap this year, and is there really any investment the team could make that would push them to the next round of the playoffs? Probably not.

The injuries

Realistically, the Eagles (should) be in better shape by the time week 11-13 arrives. The last few weeks of the season are always the most crucial and the good news is that the slew of injuries already impacting the team should begin to clear by then,

Here’s a look at the progress of some of the more significant injuries the team has been dealing with:

WR Alshon Jeffery – Yet to play a snap but was expected to be back by October. If he doesn’t play a snap by week 12 then something is seriously wrong and fare more pressing questions will have to be asked.

OT Lane Johnson – Full participant in practice last week but was held out of the game against New York. Expected to return for week 9.

RB Miles Sanders – Went down with a knee injury in week 6 but is expected to be back in the lineup for week 10.

OT Jack Driscoll – Carted off against Baltimore with an ankle injury and hasn’t seen the field since, but also hasn’t been placed on IR. With a Bye-week inbound, we could see Driscoll again soon if depth remains light.

There is every chance that key players returning at positions struggling for depth played a role in helping Howie Roseman back away from the edge when it came to deadline day.

Why they didn’t buy

The Eagles were never really in a position to bring on another star player. They tried and failed with Golden Tate, and it’s not like Genard Avery has lived up to the value of the 4th-round pick given up for his services last year.

With an estimated -$63M in cap space next year, the Eagles will need to carry as much of their $22M over from 2020 as possible in order to take a huge chunk out of that debt. With big contracts such as that of Derek Barnett to move, and even bigger decisions involving players like Zach Ertz, adding further headaches would only complicate matters.

Last year, the Eagles guaranteed Alshon Jeffery’s 2020 salary. The idea was to free up cap space if they needed to swallow a contract at the deadline to bring in the missing piece. It’s all about recovery from here on out.

Sure, they could’ve tried to poach Desmond King and fixed the hole at CB, or even Avery Williamson from the New York Jets, but while a 2022 compensatory pick is probably appealing for a variety of reasons, the Eagles know just how valuable those smaller contracts are going to be and how little wiggle room they already have. The 2021 draft class which will be an absolute roulette wheel given the COVID situation, could be a hugely important transition window for the Eagles and one they need every piece of ammunition they can get their hands on.

Why they didn’t sell

Zach Ertz was shopped prior to the deadline and was eventually placed on IR despite interest from a pair of AFC outfits. Maybe the offers weren’t good enough, or maybe the Eagles just wanted to sit and mull things over. Who could blame them? He is a record-breaking tight end contracted for another year after all.

DeSean Jackson would’ve been a viable candidate but also landed on IR, and trying to find a suitor for Alshon Jeffery’s ridiculous contract would be like trying to find a Vegan who would buy a beef burger.

Any player the Eagles could’ve dealt, outside of Will Parks whom it would’ve been borderline insane to part ways with, was suddenly either ineligible or not worth the price.

Howie Roseman was essentially trapped at the deadline into having to part ways with Draft Capital, or shop for bargain bin players who realistically wouldn’t make a huge impact in a season that is already a write-off outside of the divisional race. It’s boring, it’s stale, it’s annoying, but it’s the smart thing to do.

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire