Buyers AND Sellers? The 2020 Trade Deadline
As the deadline gets closer and the clock keeps ticking, there’s a lot of debate internally whether the Eagles should be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Truthfully, we don’t really know Howie Roseman to be a seller at the deadline. He has always been the general manager that is willing to give up future assets to bring somebody in, rather than trading away immediate impact. There are a lot of holes to fill on this team, ones that can’t all necessarily be filled by the names that are being rumored to be available by other teams. Can the Eagles win the NFC East with the roster they’re currently fielding? Probably so. The Cowboys’ defense is a complete train wreck and just lost backup quarterback Andy Dalton on a scary hit by Jon Bostic on Sunday, so they’re currently starting Nick DiNucci as they wait on Dalton to clear the NFL concussion protocol. The Washington Football Team are an okay team but lack the veteran presence to really make a push for the division and the New York Giants continue to be the doormat for the NFC East. However, is it really an accomplishment to win a division title at 6-9-1? Is that really what we want to be? Either way, I’d like to put my general manager cap on and look at three options the Eagles could trade, or trade for, at the NFL trade deadline.
Malik Jackson – Defensive Tackle
Signed by the Eagles in the 2019 offseason, Jackson has been impactful when on the field for the Eagles. The issue lies within the prefaced statement. Jackson has had a hard time staying on the field for the Eagles and is going to carry a cap hit of $13.6 million (6.9% of the cap) in the 2021 season, going into his age 31 season. If traded, Jackson would only leave around $3.6 million in dead money and would likely fetch an okay return, whether it be draft capital or a young player with potential. None of our players have astronomical value so this would be a reoccurring theme if any of our players are moved. In an offseason that will require intricate cap knowledge and a plethora of player/contract movement, it’s probably best to get your value now rather than the offseason.
Derek Barnett – Defensive End
Is now the perfect time to move on from the former 14th overall pick, when a lot of our defensive line is bruised or banged up? Probably not. However, Barnett’s value will never be higher than it is right now. Another member of the defensive line with an injury history and trouble staying healthy, Barnett is having the best year of his career statistically. Through six games this season, Barnett is already over halfway to his tackle total from 2019 and only 3 sacks away from having a career best season. So why would you trade a 25 year old defensive end, on the cusp of his best season to date? It’s all about the cap and value with this. Derek Barnett’s, non-guaranteed, 5th year option was picked up by Howie Roseman and company prior to the season and would be paying Barnett $10.05 million to have these mediocre numbers. Even members in our fan base have noticed that fourth rounder Josh Sweat is much more explosive and much more effective in pass rush situations that Barnett and the presence of DB is eating into the potential and growth of Sweat. With a cap saving of $2.2 million this season and $0 in dead money in 2021, saving all $10.05 million, this is a no brainer in any circumstance.
Cre’Von LeBlanc – Cornerback
This one hurts to write, as I’m a part of the STRAPO fan club. He is a very solid nickel corner and has played well when thrust in to duty due to injuries or complacent play. After being claimed by Philadelphia off of waivers, Strap has been a key contributor in each of Philadelphia’s last two playoff runs. In a season where the defensive backfield is again riddled with injuries, LeBlanc is just the odd man out. Nickell Robey-Coleman seems to have completely absorbed his role as a slot corner, terribly might I add, and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has even transitioned Jalen Mills back to the cornerback position to fill in the needed gaps. With an expiring contract at the end of the season, Strap makes perfect sense for a low risk, high reward trade to a legitimate contender to help thrust them into Super Bowl potential.
Nick Easton – Offensive Guard – New Orleans Saints
As admirably as Easton has done in replacing Larry Warford, the Saints made it clear that the writing is on the wall for him. With the selection of Cesar Ruiz in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Easton is expendable for a Saints team that, much like the Eagles, could look to retool at the deadline rather than rebuild. In an offense that has trotted out six different starting offensive line combinations in seven weeks, the most in the NFL, the Eagles could use Easton as a contributing factor at left guard until Isaac Seumalo’s return, also allowing Nate Herbig to slide back to his preferred position at right guard, at which point Easton could then fill in for injured Brandon Brooks at right guard in an effort to not rush Brooks back. In his age 28 season, Easton would leave behind a dead cap hit of just $500K for the saints and is signed through his age 30 season in 2022, providing continuity and availability to an Eagles’ offensive line that desperately needs it. I forgot to mention that naturally, Easton was drafted as a center and could fill a hole for Kelce upon retirement as well.
Jordan Howard – Running Back – Miami Dolphins
Here’s a familiar name to be added to the list of possible trade targets for the Eagles. After the steady play of Myles Gaskin to this point in the season, Miami added former Philadelphia running back Jordan Howard to the trade block. After trading a conditional sixth round pick for the then Bears’ running back, the Eagles allowed Jordan Howard to take his talents to South Beach to the tune of a 2 year, $10 million contract. To this point, Howard has found little role in Miami other than goal line work that has translated to just five total carries on the season. Even if the Eagles did want to part ways with Howard after the season, Howard will have $0 of guaranteed salary entering the 2021 season and could provide a 1-2 punch for an Eagles backfield that is desperate for a power option at the position.
Patrick Peterson – Cornerback – Arizona Cardinals
If the Eagles really want to go all in, this is the move to make. On an expiring contract, on a team that is going younger, with other options in the building, Peterson seems likely to be a retooling item for the Cardinals who find themselves as contenders sooner than anticipated. With a cap figure of $12 million for the season, the Eagles are able to fit his hit into the salary for the season and would form a formidable combo of Slay and P2 on the outside, which would allow for Schwartz to run more man blitz concepts with the knowledge of the outside being shut down. Additionally, this would allow the defense to take pressure off the safeties and disguise coverage better than what we’re seeing every Sunday.
Ultimately, I feel like the Eagles should be bigger sellers at the deadline than buyers but I understand the want to retool, rather than rebuild. Linebacker needs to be held in a higher regard to the front office as Jim Schwatz’s defense runs through the linebackers. Schwartz had a 100 tackle linebacker in every defense he called before he got to Philadelphia. I still blame him for boneheaded mistakes, putting our incompetent linebackers in terrible situations, but he’s not at fault for the talent that’s in the room. Again, this is just a guess at the trade deadline and how the Eagles can approach it rather than just sitting on their hands and letting the deadline pass. As always, follow me on Twitter at @SokoFFB for all your fantasy football and Eagles content.