The Philadelphia Eagles remain steadfast in their desire to keep the band together and turn this fading season around. To be fair, they have put a competitive product on the field. Their average margin of defeat in four losses is 11 points. And now comes the easy part of the schedule.
But the decision to trade Zach Ertz sparked rumors that general manager Howie Roseman may be an active seller at the deadline (Tuesday, November 2). He denied a fire sale was on the horizon while pointing to the “next 11 games to show what kind of team we are.” That journey begins with the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 7.
“I don’t view us as being sellers,” Roseman told reporters. “I view us as still having an opportunity in the next 11 games to show what kind of team we are. And I think this was more about the opportunity to really put the pieces of the puzzle together for this team at that position and kind of moving forward. It’s not to give up on the season in any way, shape or form. I’m certainly not thinking about anything going south.”
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Six-Pack of Eagles to Sell at Trade Deadline
The Eagles entered the 2021 campaign devoid of expectations. They weren’t picked to be a playoff team and a 6-11 record seemed like a favorable outcome. This year was about seeing if first-year coach Nick Sirianni was the right hire, and if new quarterback Jalen Hurts was the franchise’s future. The jury is still out on both those things.
So, it’s only natural to ponder whether the Eagles would revert course and become sellers if the losses keep piling up. If they do, here’s a look at a few pieces to unload:
Steven Nelson: His one-year $3 million deal is insanely cheap. That makes him extremely attractive for a contender. Nelson has held his own on the outside: 70.8 defensive grade, 26th-best in the NFL (via Pro Football Focus). Parting ways with the 28-year-old cornerback would create opportunities for young players like Tay Gowan, Zech McPhearson, Josiah Scott, Mac McCain III. And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a plug in their banged-up secondary which ranks seventh-worst in the NFL.
Fletcher Cox: He’ll turn 31 on December 13 and there have been signs of slight regression, plus Cox isn’t the best fit for Jonathan Gannon’s scheme. The All-Pro defensive tackle is still regarded as one of the best players at his position so his trade value is high. He only has one sack and three QB hits through six games – skewed stats when you look at the amount of double teams he draws. Still, Cox may want to move on for his own good, like Zach Ertz, and chase a ring somewhere else. Kansas City makes a lot of sense since Andy Reid drafted him.
Dallas Goedert: How can the Eagles think about trading him after losing Ertz, right? Goedert is the new starter who ranks third on the Eagles in receiving yards. Sure, but the fourth-year player is angling for a huge extension – $70 million, per reports – while showing a penchant for staying off the field (injuries, bar fights, COVID-19). I’m told the organization isn’t as high on him as people think. They love Tyree Jackson’s potential. Unloading him now before he gets to the negotiation table could be a sneaky win. Trade him to the Buffalo Bills who just lost Dawson Knox to a hand injury.
Darius Slay: Finding someone to take on the salary of the fifth-highest paid cornerback in football (via Over The Cap) will be a challenge. However, a contending team with secondary issues and cap space (see: Baltimore Ravens) might bite the bullet. Slay has been the 12th-best cornerback this season, per Pro Football Focus. The Eagles would have to look themselves long and hard in the mirror before trading him. His leadership and personality are off the charts, but he could net a big return in a trade.
Miles Sanders: One of the most exciting young running backs in football can’t get out of Nick Sirianni’s doghouse. He’s been chained in the yard all year. No one knows why, but the organization hasn’t been high on him since the offseason when they drafted Kenny Gainwell and tried out Kerryon Johnson. Sanders has 1,955 rushing yards in 34 career games while averaging 4.9 yards-per-carry. The San Francisco 49ers immediately come to mind as an ideal trading partner with Raheem Mostert out for the year.
Lane Johnson: Anxiety and depression issues aside, Johnson just hasn’t been able to stay healthy since 2018. The All-Pro right tackle remains one of the best players at his position when he’s on the field. The latter has been a big if. So moving on from the talented 31-year-old could be a savvy move before the deadline. His replacement, Jack Driscoll, is already on the Eagles’ roster. The Cincinnati Bengals could be perfect suitors. Surprise contenders in desperate need of offensive line help. Johnson would be the best player on that unit.