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.