Andre Dillard’s days wearing midnight green appear to be limited. The Philadelphia Eagles inked Jordan Mailata to a four-year contract extension last week in the biggest vote of confidence yet that they are committed to him being the franchise left tackle.
Dillard – the 22nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft – has been reduced to hotel fire alarm status: break glass in case of emergency. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder is serving as the backup blind-side blocker behind Mailata.
It’s important to have depth at arguably the most important position on the field. Especially after the Eagles placed veteran tackle Le’Raven Clark on injured reserve. Brett Toth is the only other healthy option on the 53-man roster, although the team protected guard/tackle Kayode Awosika on the practice squad.
Still, Dillard has been mentioned more than once in trade talks dating back to training camp. The former first-round pick could fetch something from a tackle-needy team. Remember, the Carolina Panthers unloaded Greg Little (37th pick in 2019) for seventh-rounder. Dillard went 15 picks ahead of Little.
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Chicago Bears Ideal Trade Partner
The Chicago Bears were so desperate for offensive line help that they signed Jason Peters back on Aug. 14. The 39-year-old played 32 offensive snaps in Week 1 before exiting with a quadriceps injury. He has been limited in practice all week, plus he looked shaky versus the Los Angeles Rams.
The Bears are in a bind because rookie left tackle Larry Borom has an ankle injury, leaving backup right tackle Elijah Wilkinson as the only real option. Wilkinson did see 22 snaps at left tackle this past Sunday, but their confidence level in him remains low after an underwhelming camp.
Enter Dillard. The 25-year-old could be available on a relatively cheap deal, and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman might want to get something for him before it’s too late. It’s not out of the question to ask for a future fifth-rounder – Chicago has two of them in 2022 – for Dillard. Maybe Roseman could get the Bears to throw in injured running back Tarik Cohen to sweeten the pot. He’s a dangerous return man.
Nick Sirianni Sticks Up for Dillard
The Eagles have reiterated all summer that they won’t hold onto Dillard – or any other player, for that matter – just because he was a high draft pick. If there’s a deal to be made, they will make it. However, the team’s lack of depth at the tackle spot definitely presents an additional hurdle.
Nick Sirianni blamed injuries for Dillard losing the starting job coming out of camp. The first-year head coach thought Dillard played well in limited snaps, adding that he was happy to have both Mailata and Dillard on the roster.
“I don’t want to short Andre here at all. He played – when he was in, he played really well,” Sirianni said, “and he played a phenomenal last preseason game, and I thought that was the case also in the Jets practices, as well. Again, we’re not – you don’t just say, ‘Hey, here’s one game, here’s a splash game and we’re just doing everything based off of that.’ The whole body of work is at play, and I’m just sure glad that we got both those guys on this roster.”