Eagles acquire Jay Ajayi in trade with Dolphins

Eagles acquire Jay Ajayi in trade with Dolphins

Howie Roseman has come out swinging on trade deadline day. 

The Eagles have acquired running back Jay Ajayi from the Dolphins for a fourth-round pick in 2018.  

So far, 2017 has been disappointing for Ajayi. In seven games this season, he has rushed for 465 yards on 138 carries (3.4 average) and no touchdowns. 

But in 2016, he showed what he can do. Ajayi finished last season with 1,272 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on his way to his first Pro Bowl. Ajayi rushed for over 200 yards in three different games. Ajayi has more 200-yard individual performances than the Eagles have in their history. Duce Staley did it once and Shady McCoy did it once; that's it. 

Ajayi is also fifth in the NFL in rushing yards since the start of last season. Of the seven players who have rushed for 1,600-plus yards since the start of 2016, the Eagles have two (Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount). 

He also has some ability as a receiver out of the backfield, which is important to the Eagles. Ajayi has 48 career catches for 308 yards. 

Ajayi has dealt with a knee injury this year, so that will be something to monitor. ESPN's Jeff Darlington said the Dolphins don't believe Ajayi "has much left in his knees." But he'll need to pass a physical upon arrival to complete the trade. If everything checks out, the Eagles just bolstered their offense with a Pro Bowler. 

After losing Darren Sproles, the Eagles have been trying to get by with what they had. Blount, Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement took over and the team even brought back Kenjon Barner. At times, the run game has looked good, but there's been inconsistency too. This move leaves them with five running backs for now. 

Ajayi, 24, was a fifth-round pick in 2015, which means he's still cheap. He has a base salary of $615,000 in 2017 and is under contract for a little bit more than that in 2018. The money part of the equation was big because the Eagles had just under $5 million in cap room to work with this year. 

Another area that is important to the Eagles is pass protection. They lost a lot in that area when Sproles went down this season. Ajayi isn't very good either, but he's at least a little better than some of their other backs in that department. According to PFF, Ajayi is the 22nd-best blocking running back in the league, while the next closest Eagle is Blount at 42. Ajayi has had 19 pass block snaps this year and has given up one sack, one hit and three hurries. 

It'll be interesting to see how Ajayi not only fits in the offense but also how he fits in the locker room. Head coach Doug Pederson expressed concern Monday about how a new player would affect the chemistry of the team, and apparently that's one reason the Dolphins dealt him

"That's why you have to be careful, I think," Pederson said. "It's gotta be the right fit. It can't just be anybody. From my standpoint, you don't want to disrupt the chemistry that is going on in the dressing room right now. Those guys are playing with a lot of confidence and they're rallying around each other so it would have to be a pretty special fit to make it work."

Soon enough, we'll see how Ajayi fits. 

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that the Eagles are buyers at the trade deadline. They're 7-1 but have lost some key pieces to injury and have a real chance at making a Super Bowl run this season. 

Recently, Dolphins coach Adam Gase has been highly critical of his team, Ajayi included. Gase said his running backs need to block the right guys and accept short gains instead of trying to break off big ones.  

The Eagles gave up a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft for Ajayi but they'll still have two picks in that round. One was their own, one comes from the Eric Rowe trade and one comes from the Sam Bradford trade. The Eagles don't have a second- or third-round pick in 2018. 

The trade deadline is at 4 p.m. today. 

To make room for Ajayi on the roster, the Eagles placed Jordan Hicks (Achilles) on injured reserve.

Carson Wentz leading all NFL players in Pro Bowl fan voting

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Carson Wentz leading all NFL players in Pro Bowl fan voting

Carson Wentz doesn't care about accolades. 

He just better get used to them. 

The NFL announced Wednesday afternoon the Eagles' quarterback is leading all players in Pro Bowl fan voting. 

"I honestly didn't even know that," Wentz said to NBC Sports Philadelphia while sitting at his locker after Wednesday's practice. "I guess that's cool and all but you know how I am about that stuff. At the end of the day, we're 9-1 and that's what we like. You know me, I don't get caught up in that stuff."

Wentz has 273,367 votes, well ahead of the second-place player, Tom Brady (239,989). He has over 30,000 more votes than perhaps the best quarterback of all time. 

Fan voting is open until Dec. 14 and the Pro Bowl teams will be announced on Dec. 19.  

This season, Wentz has thrown for 2,430 yards and leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 25. He has just five interceptions. Wentz, in his second pro season, is a big reason why the Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 9-1. 

If Wentz makes the Pro Bowl this season, it would be the first of his career. He admitted it would mean something to be named to the team. 

"I mean, obviously, that's recognition and that's something cool," he said. "But that's for down the road. We still have six games here to take care of business. We'll see what happens." 

In addition to Wentz, his favorite target Zach Ertz is closing in on his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ertz leads all NFC tight ends with 156,183 votes. In nine games this season, Ertz has 536 yards receiving and a career-high six touchdown catches. 

The Eagles are hoping neither of these two will be able to play in this year's Pro Bowl even if they make it. They're hoping both will be preparing for the Super Bowl that week. 

Carson Wentz's numbers have dipped, but Eagles keep winning

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Carson Wentz's numbers have dipped, but Eagles keep winning

Carson Wentz's declining production probably isn't a sign of trouble on the horizon for the Eagles. Quite the contrary, the quarterback's down numbers may be at least in part a reflection of the scheme and how well the team is playing.

With 2,430 yards passing and 25 touchdowns, Wentz might be the front-runner to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player at season's end. He's among the top two or three candidates, anyway. But the second-year player's once eye-popping statistics have notably dropped off in recent weeks, begging some question as to whether the magic is wearing off.

Over the Eagles' last three games, Wentz has completed 47 of 86 pass attempts (54.7 percent) for 192.7 yards per game (6.7 average) with eight touchdowns — far from MVP-caliber.

Perhaps the most concerning of those numbers is Wentz's completion percentage. At 59.7 percent for the season, he's fallen well below his mark of 62.4 as a rookie.

Wentz concedes he could be more accurate. The 24-year-old signal caller also believes some of the dropoff in his completion percentage is due to the offense pushing the ball vertically with more frequency in 2017.

That, and stats are meaningless as long as the Eagles are winning.

"That's definitely a number that I'd like to get higher again," Wentz said before Wednesday's practice. "I'm not crazy about stats. What really matters is wins and losses, but I'd like that to get higher.

“I do think it's a product of taking more chances down the field, taking more shots, being aggressive. I'm not going to get too hung up on that.”

There is certainly something to what Wentz is saying. While his completion rate is sub-optimal, his yards per attempt are over a yard higher compared to last season — 7.6 to 6.2. That's good for ninth in the NFL among qualifying quarterbacks.

More incompletions or not, Wentz has still managed to play more efficient.

The Eagles are also 3-0 during Wentz's ongoing funk, so to speak, and he's only turned the football over once. He's obviously doing something right.

In fact, Wentz and the Eagles have been so successful in the last three games, that's actually had a negative impact on his individual numbers as well. The team jumped out to big second-half leads in contests against the 49ers, Broncos and Cowboys, reducing the need to put the ball in the air. Wentz even sat out portions of the fourth quarter twice.

Those types of game scripts will obviously put a damper on volume totals such as yards and touchdowns, and possibly Wentz's MVP chances along with them. From the team's vantage point, they're overwhelmingly positive.

With the Eagles chugging right along at 9-1, there doesn't seem much need to perform an autopsy on Wentz's season at this point. But if critics are searching for holes in the ship, the quarterback doesn't appear to be the place where this squad is going to spring a leak.