Von Miller

10 trade targets for Eagles as NFL trade deadline approaches

10 trade targets for Eagles as NFL trade deadline approaches

The NFL trade deadline is a week away. Things are heating up and prices aren’t cheap. 

The Texans traded a third-round pick to the Raiders for cornerback Gareon Conley and the Patriots traded a second-round pick to the Falcons for WR Mohamed Sanu. 

Later Tuesday, the Broncos dealt WR Emmanuel Sanders and a fifth-round pick to the 49ers for a third-round and fifth-round pick.

So if the Eagles are going to make a trade by the deadline of 4 p.m. on Oct. 29, it might be expensive. And with so many needs, it’s fair to ask whether or not it’s even worth bringing in one player. 

But Roseman has traditionally been an aggressive GM and he has brought in a player at the deadline in each of the last two seasons. The Eagles were 4-4 when they brought in Golden Tate last season and if they win on Sunday, they’d be 4-4 just before the deadline again. 

So if Roseman does want to pull off a trade, here are 10 players who would make some sense: 

Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson

We’re not going to have this story without Peterson, who is always in these conversations. Even after Jalen Mills came back and with Ronald Darby and Cre’Von LeBlanc nearing returns, Peterson would still be a great improvement. He’s an eight-time Pro Bowler who would immediately make a difference. It would likely take a first-round pick to get him from the Cardinals. 

Broncos CB Chris Harris

The 30-year-old from Denver likely wouldn’t be as expensive, but if Conley brought back a third-round pick, maybe Harris would be more expensive than we thought. Harris is at his best in the nickel corner role but could really play anywhere. 

Falcons CB Desmond Trufant

After trading Sanu, we know the Falcons are willing to sell. They got a second-rounder from New England, but we all kind of understand that’s probably going to be the last or second-to-last pick in the round. The Falcons will want a first-round pick for Trufant, which is steep, but maybe they’ll be eager to dump his salary for a second. 

Bengals DT Geno Atkins

It seems like the Bengals don’t want to sell, but they stink and Atkins is 31. After losing Malik Jackson and then Tim Jernigan, the Eagles have really been lacking interior pass rush next to Fletcher Cox. Atkins has a few more expensive years left on his deal but would make an immediate impact. 

Jets DT Leonard Williams

The Jets have said they don’t want to trade Williams, but he’s in the final year of his contract (a fifth-year option season) and he was a first-round pick of a previous GM. The Eagles also obviously have a pretty close relationship with the Jets' current GM, Joe Douglas. Williams wants big money, which might be a problem since the Eagles already have big money committed to Cox. Maybe he’d be too expensive as a rental, but it’s worth a call. 

Jets WR Robby Anderson

The 26-year-old is on that sinking ship in New York and has plenty of downfield speed. The Eagles have missed the deep threat DeSean Jackson was supposed to provide. 

Dolphins WR DeVante Parker

The Dolphins have seemingly traded everyone else, so why not Parker? He could definitely use a change of scenery and is still on a pretty team-friendly deal for two years. He isn’t having a great year but is averaging 15.8 yards per catch. 

Bengals WR A.J. Green

I don’t know what it would cost and Green is 31 and coming off an ankle injury, but it’s worth a call. He isn’t expected to return until after the trade deadline, which makes things tricky. 

Broncos EDGE Von Miller

Miller was at the Eagles-Cowboys game in Dallas on Sunday, so unfortunately he watched that butt-whooping. I’d put this in the “worth a call” category. 

Bengals EDGE Carlos Dunlap

The Bengals should really be selling and the Eagles need more pass rush. He’s 30 and signed through 2021.

Lane Johnson earns trophy for shutting down NFL's 'best' pass rusher

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Lane Johnson earns trophy for shutting down NFL's 'best' pass rusher

Inside Lane Johnson's locker sat a pristine No. 58 Von Miller jersey. It wasn't the one Miller wore during the game; that one went to Fletcher Cox.

This was one still clean, neatly folded inside a clear plastic bag. Miller summoned a Broncos equipment manager to get it for Johnson after Johnson handed him his No. 65 jersey. It's a pretty common NFL postgame ritual.

"Just another one to hang on the wall," he said after tapping the plastic-wrapped jersey.

Johnson can consider this one a trophy.

Because for most of Sunday afternoon, Johnson shut down the best pass rusher in the entire league. No sacks, no QB hits, no QB hurries as the Eagles' crushed the Broncos, 51-23 (see breakdown).

"He's a very disruptive player and can take over a game so I just wanted to neutralize him the best I could," Johnson said. "I had a good game against him. As far as confidence, it boosts my confidence a little bit but everything we want is in front of us the next seven games. Take this week off to rest and get back at it."

Since entering the league in 2011, Miller has 81.5 sacks. That's the most in the league and over five more than the next closest guy on the list. Miller did pick up a strip sack Sunday afternoon, but it came against Isaac Seumalo after Johnson was taken out of the game with a huge lead. Miller admitted he would have preferred to get the sack when the Eagles didn't "have the ‘B’ team in."

When Johnson was in the game, Miller simply couldn't get anything going.

"Lane did a heckuva job against Von Miller, who to me, that guy is the best guy I have ever seen on film," tight end Brent Celek said. "You gotta give Lane a lot of credit, man. He did a heckuva job." 

Johnson said the key to neutralizing Miller is getting off the ball to match Miller's quickness. He also said it's important to not get fooled by Miller's wiggle, which aims to raise a tackle up and then go through him with a bull rush. 

This matchup against Miller was one of the reasons the Eagles elected to keep Johnson at right tackle even after Jason Peters went down for the season. Miller, Demarcus Lawrence and Khalil Mack all line up on the left side of the defensive line more often than not. The Eagles preferred to have Johnson face those top pass-rushers instead of Halapoulivaati Vaitai. 

Johnson has been playing at a Pro Bowl level in 2017.

"Lane is one of those guys, man, that when he gets locked in in a zone, he's tough — he's a tough tackle," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. "Hats off to him the way he prepares, too, and the way he practices to get ready for guys like Von Miller."

Johnson is seeking some redemption this year after serving a 10-game PED suspension last season. It was his second offense and a third would probably end his career with a two-year ban. He also missed four games for his first PED violation in 2014. 

"With the things that have gone bad in my career, I just want to show people what I'm capable of as a tackle," Johnson said. "That's really it, man. I just want to reach my full potential. If I do that, man, I think I did pretty good."

Shutting down Miller is a pretty good start. 

Eagles-Broncos thoughts: Don't overlook this struggling Denver team

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Eagles-Broncos thoughts: Don't overlook this struggling Denver team

Eagles-Broncos
1 p.m. on CBS
Eagles favored by 7.5

An underrated foe stands between the 7-1 Eagles and their bye week, as the 3-4 Broncos bring the NFL’s No.1 ranked defense to Lincoln Financial Field Sunday.

The Broncos are in the midst of a three-game losing streak and have made a change under center, naming Brock Osweiler starting quarterback this week. Yet this a team that’s only a season-and-a-half removed from a Super Bowl championship, with much of the core talent still in place.

They’re also desperate. The Broncos are quickly losing ground in AFC playoff races, and need this game to remain in the conversation.

The Eagles are riding a six-game winning streak and would love to carry that momentum into the bye, but it may not come as easy as some of their recent victories. Denver has the horses to make this competitive — potentially even pull off the upset.

Putting the ‘O’ back in Offense
If the Broncos are to have any shot at turning their season around, they need to fix their offense. Denver ranks second in the NFL with 17 turnovers in 2017 and has managed to average 12.2 points over the last five contests. Abysmal.

With Pro Bowl talents like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders at wide receiver, as well as C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles at running back, there’s no reason for it. That’s why the Broncos finally benched Trevor Siemian and handed the offense over to Osweiler.

Whether that helps anything remains to be seen. Osweiler is a career 59.8.-percent passer averaging 6.2 yards per attempt with 26 touchdowns to 22 interceptions in six pro seasons. He was traded by the Texans in March and cut by the Browns in September before finding his way back to Denver.

It’s worth reiterating the Broncos are desperate. This move is proof, but they have to try something to jump start this offense. Denver hasn’t scored more than 19 points since Week 2, while the Eagles haven’t scored fewer than 20 this season.

Force Osweiler to stay in his lane, and the rest should take care of itself.

Keeping the ‘D’ in Defense     
Then again, the Eagles haven’t been up against many defenses as strong this. Denver enters Week 9 ranked first in total yards allowed, second against the run, and fourth against the pass. The Broncos are No. 1 on third downs as well — an area the Eagles' offense has really excelled this season.

This unit has few if any weakness, yet the Broncos are surrendering 21 points per game, which is only 13th in the NFL. Some of that is a result of the offense’s inability to mount scoring drives or take care of the football, but opponents are avoiding the big mistakes as well.

Denver’s six takeaways are tied for 28th and just two more than the last place team. Ball security is always paramount, and against this defense is no different. Given the state of the Broncos' offense, stay patient, and they’re likely to give possession back sooner rather than later.

Not exactly a secret formula for success in the NFL. Easier said than done, too.

The Eagles must have a game plan for outside linebacker Von Miller and cornerback Aqib Talib in particular, either of whom can alter the course of a game in an instant. Miller has 21 forced fumbles in seven seasons, including playoffs, while Talib is fourth in NFL history with 10 interception returns for touchdowns.

How much work for Jay Ajayi?
One way to keep Denver’s D at bay is by running the football, even in the likely event it’s not working. It keeps the clock ticking, shortening the game while reducing the chances for turnovers in the process.

Naturally, that begs the question how much Ajayi will play — if he suits up at all — after the Eagles swung a trade for the Pro Bowl running back Tuesday. Early indications were Ajayi would be active against the Broncos, although as of Friday, coach Doug Pederson claimed to had not made a final decision.

Assuming Ajayi is in uniform, Pederson sounds intend on working his new weapon into the offense slowly.

“It's very limited — 10 to 15 plays,” Pederson said of Ajayi’s knowledge of the playbook. “I just want him to feel comfortable there, but it's a taste of a little bit of every aspect of the offense.”

It’s difficult to believe the Eagles wouldn’t have Ajayi active despite the reality his role could be relatively small. Against this defense, in particular, it makes sense to have another big body in the backfield to wear down a stout Broncos front.

A handful of carries — maybe in the four-to-eight range — should be enough to let Ajayi get his feet wet, not to mention help the Eagles execute their offensive game plan.

Wentz’s go-to receiver
If there is one vulnerability in this Broncos' defense, it’s been their ability to defend against tight ends. Last week, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had seven receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. Cowboys tight ends had 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown in their meeting, while Giants rookie Evan Engram racked up five catches for 82 yards and a score.

That bodes well quarterback Carson Wentz, who doesn’t mind throwing to his tight end at all.

With 43 receptions, 528 yards receiving and six touchdowns this season, Zach Ertz is among the NFL’s top three players — not just tight ends — in all three categories. He’s been the biggest weapon in the Eagles passing attack all season, and Sunday could've been his biggest game yet against this defense. Update: But Ertz is a surprise inactive with a hamstring injury. So much for that.

There won’t be a lot of room to run. The receivers will struggle to get open. Wentz won’t have a ton of time to stand in the pocket and survey the field. But Ertz was the offense’s one constant all season, and he would've been able to get open against this defense.

Now the Eagles are suddenly without Ertz, and what was a tough matchup to begin with now looks a little scarier.

Prediction
Eagles 25, Broncos 16