PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles are about to hit the century mark on the trade front. Will they usher in triple digits with a bang?
Since Howie Roseman became general manager in 2010, Philadelphia has executed 98 trades, second only to the New England Patriots (111) over that time, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
All the wheeling and dealing go hand-in-hand with the Eagles’ philosophy the talent acquisition and roster shaping window extends well beyond NFL free agency and the NFL draft. The best example of that came in 2017, when Philadelphia added several players to its Super Bowl team late in the process, including trading for starting cornerback Ronald Darby in August and dealing for running back Jay Ajayi at the trade deadline in October.
The results aren’t always so rosy, as evidenced by the trade deadline acquisition of wide receiver Golden Tate in 2019, but the team continues to fire. The Eagles’ most recent swap was a couple of weeks back when they acquired cornerback Josiah Scott from the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for CB Jameson Houston and a 2023 sixth-round pick.
It’s a decent bet, given the unsettled situation with tight end Zach Ertz and the holes on the current roster, that trades No. 99 and 100 aren’t far off. Let’s take a closer look to see if there are any blockbusters in store for Roseman and the Eagles:
The Eagles are linked to almost every trade candidate who pops up because they always inquire when difference-makers become available, and often put in markers should the asking price fall within a range of what they would be willing to spend. Given the caliber of player Jones is, it would be malpractice if management didn’t place a phone call to Atlanta.
Dianna Russini breaks down what could happen in the next few weeks should the Falcons attempt to trade Julio Jones.
Philadelphia could use a veteran wide receiver. There is not a player over 25 years old in the room currently, and the four wideouts who might see the most action this season — Jalen Reagor, DeVonta Smith, Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham — have a combined 32 starts in the NFL. Jones would not only show the young guys the way but turn the Eagles’ attack into one of the most dangerous in the NFL.
There are a couple of issues, though.
The Eagles are tight against the salary cap with about $4 million in space. Jones is scheduled to make a base salary of $15.3 million and carry a cap number of $23 million. While there are ways to massage the numbers to make it work, it’s fair to wonder whether spending big money and draft capital for a 32-year-old Jones is the wisest move for a team in transition, especially given the resources it has poured into the position of late. The Eagles used first-round picks on Reagor and Smith over the past two years.
The right move is to hand them the keys and allow them to learn on the job, while adding a less expensive veteran who can provide guidance but won’t affect their targets as dramatically.
That said, it’s never smart to count Philly totally out of anything.
Searching for signs of movement on the Ertz front
This has become one long, drawn-out split.
The writing on the wall has been there since the last offseason after contract extension talks between the Eagles and Ertz broke off, yet free agency and the draft came and went without any movement. Ertz, 30, has had suitors, but Roseman continues to hold out for better offers.
“This isn’t a guy in the twilight of his career. He’s a guy still in his prime. A year ago at this time, everyone was talking about where he ranked with the top tight ends in the league,” Roseman said in early May. “So we feel really good about the kind of player he is and we have to do what’s best for our team as well, and again we have a lot of respect for him and continue to remain a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. If something changes, we’ll update you guys.”
Ertz has stayed away from the Eagles’ organized team activities in the interim.
June 1 has been viewed as a possible pivot point in this situation. If Ertz is traded or released after this date, the Eagles would receive an additional $3.5 million in cap relief this season. While that’s nothing to sneeze at, neither side views June 1 as a significant marker in this case from what we gather. Could it help nudge things along once the additional relief is secured? Perhaps, but it doesn’t feel as though the Eagles are sitting on a deal and waiting to make a move.
The expectation remains Ertz will be off the team eventually, but we might not be at the end of the road quite yet as Philadelphia looks for something better than a low Day 3 pick.
The Pro Bowl guard confirmed last week he has been the subject of trade discussions this offseason. Given Brooks, 31, is coming off an Achilles tear — his second in three seasons — he understood why the Eagles would entertain moving him, but wasn’t entirely pleased with the process.
Brandon Brooks, on being the subject of trade talks and the one thing he wished went differently. pic.twitter.com/1fBQ4mruBr
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) May 27, 2021
“The only thing I wish about that, actually, was instead of hearing about it from my mom — my mom being like, ‘Where are we going?’ — it would be nice to get a phone call [from the Eagles] like, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on,'” Brooks said Thursday. “Other than that, it’s a business, man. I never lose sight of that.”
It would be hard not to feel like your days are numbered once those trade discussions come to light, but Brooks agreed to a contract restructure in March and has been participating in the Eagles’ offseason program, all signs he is probably sticking around — for now.
What trades besides Ertz could get done?
The cornerback spot opposite Darius Slay remains unsettled. If the Eagles don’t end up with one of the top remaining free-agent corners, such as Steven Nelson, they might go the trade route to get their CB2 much like they did with Darby in 2017.
Linebacker could also use some bolstering — former Eagles LB Jordan Hicks was just granted permission from Arizona to seek a trade — and they could use a veteran wide receiver and perhaps another tight end to help make up for the inevitable loss of Ertz.
Lest we forget, there are five months between now and the trade deadline in late October, giving Roseman plenty of time to tweak his roster and get to trade No. 100.
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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