4 Last-Minute Moves or Trades to Significantly Jolt Eagles Roster

Zach Cunningham

Getty Texans LB Zach Cunningham is a borderline Pro Bowler who led the AFC in tackles with 142 last season.

The Eagles are set to finally line up together for a full-squad walk-through. It should highlight weaknesses and areas for improvement.

Head coach Doug Pederson has repeated time and time again that he is confident in the guys on the roster. Don’t anticipate the team making any drastic or desperate moves at the last minute. However, injuries could force his hand, or maybe there is an explosive player who they just can’t live without (see: Genard Avery in 2019).

The rookies and first-year players only have so much time to get acclimated in this abbreviated training camp. It could open the door for additional roster moves.

“I have to do what I feel is best for the football team from a standpoint of putting the guys in position to succeed on the field,” Pederson said about evaluating talent and building his roster. “We haven’t seen these rookies live and in person. So it’s my job as the head coach to — from a scheduling standpoint as we go throughout this training camp, to put our guys in competitive situations to see what they can do and then do the best we can at the end of training camp to come up with the 53.”

Still, it’s not unfathomable to think they add a player or two before Week 1. The abrupt retirement of Jatavis Brown makes linebacker a top priority. Let’s explore a few intriguing moves in free agency or via trade.

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Improving the Roster: 4 Potential Eagles Moves

Jarrad Davis, LB (via trade): While head coach Matt Patricia refuted any truth to the report the Lions were trying to trade him, it certainly sounds like a smokescreen. Especially after the team declined the fifth-year option on Davis in May. The former first-round pick (21st overall in 2017) started 11 games last season at middle linebacker before an ankle injury ended his year. Davis has been called a “cornerstone” player in Detroit where he has racked up 259 combined tackles (18 for loss), 10 sacks and five forced fumbles in three seasons. He would slot right in for the Eagles at MIKE linebacker and challenge T.J. Edwards for the starting spot.

Devonta Freeman, RB (free agent): The two-time Pro Bowl running back is still out there after a three-month flirtation with the Eagles. He reportedly already turned down one offer from Philly — too low and GM Howie Roseman wouldn’t budge — but maybe his price tag has come down from his original $6 million per year. He has 3,972 rushing yards on 951 touches in six seasons, including another 2,015 receiving yards. He’s not coming to Philly to start, only to back up franchise back Miles Sanders. Is Freeman willing to take a back seat?

Josh McCown, QB (free agent): The Eagles don’t need another quarterback, right? Not with Nate Sudfeld and Jalen Hurts in an intense battle for the No. 2 job. Maybe they do, considering the odd circumstances surrounding this COVID-19 world. The option of “quarantining a quarterback” keeps getting thrown out there and bringing in a proven veteran leader like McCown might be the perfect solution. Put the 41-year-old in an isolation chamber — heck, let him stay in North Carolina if he wants — and only break the glass in case of emergency (read: infection to Carson Wentz).

Zach Cunningham, LB (via trade): Cunningham was a borderline Pro Bowl pick in 2019 after recording a career-high 142 tackles, tied for sixth-most in the NFL. The 25-year-old is in a contract year and reports out of Houston are that the Texans can’t afford him. He’ll probably demand something in the neighborhood of $10 million per year, depending on how the market shakes out — and that number may be far too high for a cap-strapped Eagles team. Then again, Roseman has gotten creative in the past or maybe he would consider bringing Cunningham in as a one-year rental. He’s a plug-and-play inside linebacker, one of the best in coverage in the NFL. If the Texans are going to lose him anyway in 2021, it’s worth a phone call.

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