It took all of one game, but the Eagles’ trade for Golden Tate was officially a bad idea.
That’s no fault of Tate, even though his Eagles debut was a dud. Two receptions on four targets for 19 yards in 18 snaps, and two punt returns for 11 yards was hardly the impact you would hope for the price. That said, it was his first game in a new scheme, with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson pointing to the offense’s use of tempo as a reason for the light workload.
The issue isn’t so much Tate as it is the Eagles foolishly believing they were still contenders in 2018 — when all it took was one putrid loss to the Cowboys to show that was never the case.
The Eagles’ season isn’t technically over, but their playoff hopes are certainly circling the drain. They’re already two games back of Washington for first place in the NFC East, and if they don’t beat an 8-1 Saints squad in New Orleans on Sunday, their record drops to 4-6.
If one game is all it took for the outlook to change so dramatically, what business did the Eagles have going out and getting Tate?
Does that sound like a team that should’ve traded a third-round draft pick for a 30-year-old wide receiver in the final year of his contract? When there were bigger needs at running back, defensive back, defensive tackle and along the offensive line? While the injuries continued to mount?
Tate isn’t the type of transcendent weapon that commands constant double teams or presents matchup problems for the defense, either. He’s a 5-foot-10 receiver who averaged 10.7 yards per catch over the last four seasons, with three red-zone touchdowns since 2016.
He doesn’t hold the answers the Eagles were searching for.
“I’ve been here for a week,” Tate said postgame. “I still have to get a feel for things. Just got to make a few more plays. We made some really good plays tonight, but just not enough.”
Again, the discussion about the Eagles getting a compensatory draft pick in 2020 if Tate departs this coming offseason is overblown. Whether they get a pick at all depends on how active the Eagles are in free agency themselves, and even then, the fourth-round-or-later selection in return will be a steep drop from a potential top-10 pick in the third — which could be a difference of 50 spots, minimum.
Was it worth it?
There’s something to be said for aggressiveness. Then there’s throwing caution to the wind.
The trade was made with a blind eye to the mini-rebuild approaching this offseason, with key free agents, aging players and potential cap casualties at running back, wideout, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and cornerback. Not to mention, it ignored the Eagles’ place in the standings and the realities that put the team there.
Now all of a sudden, the Eagles face long odds to reach the playoffs. But at least the Eagles have seven more weeks of Tate to look forward to.
“I’m sure he will get more and more involved as we go,” said Pederson.
Well, that’s a relief.
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