The NFL trade deadline is tomorrow at 4 p.m. and Howie Roseman isn’t a guy who normally sits on his hands.
He has until that deadline to figure out a way to bolster the 4-4 Eagles as they try to make a playoff push.
“It’s gotta be right,” head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday. “We’ve gotta do what’s right for the Philadelphia Eagles and our team.”
The Eagles have made deadline deals in each of the last two seasons. In 2017, they shipped a fourth-round pick to Miami for Jay Ajayi. And last season, they sent a third-rounder to Detroit for Golden Tate.
Pederson has mentioned several times that in any potential trade, the fit has to be right on and off the field. On Monday morning, he was proud of his current team for the way it has battled through adversity this year.
“This team is starting to gel and come together,” he said. “If we can add a piece, I think it’s great. If we don’t add a piece, I think it’s great. Because of the guys in the locker room. That’s a credit to those men.”
If the Eagles do make a move, here’s how I’d rank their needs, which is not necessarily the order of what’s most likely:
1. Speed receiver
DeSean Jackson has now missed the last six games and without him, the Eagles have been desperate to find someone to catch the ball downfield. In Jackson’s absence, the Eagles have gotten next to nothing from Mack Hollins (who is playing a lot) and JJ Arcega-Whiteside can’t even get on the field. Sure, Jackson is expected to practice some this week, but even Pederson has admitted Jackson won’t be 100 percent this year. And can you really trust that when Jackson returns, he won’t get hurt again? I can’t, not with this injury that has taken this long to heal.
Without that vertical threat, this offense looks like the same offense that sputtered last season. The ability to run the ball is great and the Eagles ran the ball really well in Buffalo, but even if this offense becomes a ground-and-pound unit, they’re still going to be limited by their inability to open up the field.
A couple receivers were already traded last week and prices seem high. The obvious fit from a need perspective would be Robby Anderson from the Jets. He’s in the final year of his contract, so we might just be talking about a rental, but he’s a pretty good deep threat and would help give that speed dimension to the at-times stagnant offense.
2. Defensive tackle
This is the position Pederson mentioned last week because of injuries. Tim Jernigan is expected to return at some point, but he’s really struggled to stay healthy. Coming into this year, DT was a position of great depth but Malik Jackson, Jernigan and Hassan Ridgeway all got hurt. On Sunday in Buffalo, Fletcher Cox lined up next to Bruce Hector, Anthony Rush and Albert Huggins. If the Eagles don’t add anyone, and if Jernigan can’t return in a timely fashion, expect Cox to get doubled all the time in the second half of the season.
The Eagles’ entire defense is predicated on getting pressure with the front four. The good news is that the edge rushers appear to be getting on track and Cox looks like himself again, but another good interior rusher would go a long way. It would also help Jim Schwartz avoid blitzing, which puts stress on a secondary that has been exposed at times this year and in previous years.
One of the most intriguing names on the trade block got moved on Monday:
Trade: Jets traded Leonard Williams to Giants for a 3 this year and a 5 in 2021, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2019
Would you have done that for a guy on an expiring contract?
If you would have asked me a couple weeks ago, cornerback would have been at the top of the list. But Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby are back and both played well against the Bills. Even more help should be coming soon with Avonte Maddox and then Cre’Von LeBlanc. No, it’s not like the Eagles have shutdown corners, but they are in a better position than they were earlier this month, to the point where it’s not the most desperate need. That doesn’t mean this won’t be the position the Eagles go after, but it means if they don’t get a corner, they might just be OK. Also remember, the Eagles reportedly tried to make a deal for Jalen Ramsey earlier this month but were outbid.
If you’re looking for a name here, there are some big ones: Patrick Peterson, Chris Harris, Darius Slay. Because there are seemingly more names available at this position, the Eagles might have a better chance of pulling something off.
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