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October 26, 2023

Are Howie Roseman and the Eagles done acquiring talent at the trade deadline?

Probably not.

Eagles NFL
102623HowieRoseman Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Howie Roseman ponders who he can steal from the Titans or Saints next.

On Monday Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles acquired safety Kevin Byard, bolstering their lone glaring need before the trade deadline. Are the Eagles done adding talent? The Athletic's Dianna Russini, who appeared on Ryen Russillo's podcast, said that they are not done.

"I’ve talked to tons of NFL teams around the league and it’s like ‘Yeah, Howie's calling, of course Howie is calling.’ And Howie is not done, by the way."
(h/t @DovKleiman on the transcription)

So who could the Eagles trade for? The players they could target could fall into three buckets, which we'll detail below.

🪣 Positions where the Eagles don't have "plus starters": The Eagles have above-average starters at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, their offensive line, edge rusher, interior defensive line, outside cornerback, and maybe now also safety. That leaves linebacker and slot corner.

At linebacker, Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham have played above modest expectations, while Nakobe Dean has only played in three games due to injury. Could the Eagles upgrade at linebacker? Sure. Do they like spending valuable draft resources on linebackers, whether that's through the draft itself or via trade? They do not. So if they did add a linebacker, it would likely have to be a player who is (a) clearly an upgrade on what they already have, and (b) not expensive. They did just (theoretically) achieve that at safety, so it's certainly possible.

At slot corner, the Eagles haven't really gotten a chance to see what Bradley Roby can do yet, and they may not get to see him play this Sunday against the Commanders, the Eagles' last opponent before the trade deadline. Maybe they could add another player there? The Eagles do have a multitude of options in the slot:

  1. They signed Roby. He'll play more eventually.
  2. Eli Ricks has gotten some chances in the slot, and he played well against the Dolphins Week 7.
  3. They signed Josiah Scott off of the Steelers' practice squad.
  4. The arrival of Byard could lead to Sydney Brown playing more in the slot.
  5. James Bradberry has filled in at the slot in a pinch, though that has not been ideal, since it is a significant downgrade from Bradberry to Jobe on the outside.

If the Eagles were to add another slot corner via trade, it would probably have to be a player who is definitively better than the options option, like, saaayyyy, the Colts' Kenny Moore for example. That kind of player would actually improve two depth spots, as Roby could be a backup both in the slot (upgrade over Scott/Ricks) and on the outside (upgrade over Jobe).

🪣 Depth and/or positions where the Eagles have players they might expect to eventually miss time: Here I'd be looking at running back, offensive tackle, edge rusher, and outside corner.

At running back, D'Andre Swift has stayed healthy so far, but he has had durability concerns in the past. The Eagles are a Swift injury away from Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott getting the workload. Gainwell and Scott are fine as role players, but no defensive coordinator is going to be fearful of their skill sets.

At offensive tackle, we all saw what it looked like when Jack Driscoll filled in at RT, right? The problem with looking for offensive linemen is that most teams don't have five good starters, much less good depth. As such, you don't often see offensive linemen dealt at the deadline.

At edge rusher, Derek Barnett is going to cost the Eagles in a big moment this season, right? Like, we can all see that on the horizon, and the Eagles should maybe replace his snaps with someone who isn't such a risk having on the field? More on that in a moment.

At cornerback, Josh Jobe is a player worth continued development, but he has not played well enough in his opportunities that the Eagles should feel good about him as the first guy off the bench should Darius Slay or James Bradberry go down. But again, as noted above if you add a starting slot corner, that also solves your cornerback depth on the outside (Roby) as well.

🪣 A bigtime player is available and "Eff it let's just go get him": Aaron Donald, Danielle Hunter, Saquon Barkley, Chase Young, Mike Evans, etc. etc.

These are all examples players with trade deadline rumors attached to their names who don't really make a lot of sense for the Eagles on the surface — and in some cases their teams would never trade them to Philly — but I would never completely rule out a surprise huge splash, even if highly unlikely.

My official positional target power ranking after the Byard acquisition

  1. Slot corner
  2. Running back
  3. Edge rusher depth
  4. Linebacker

How about outgoing players?

Well, the Eagles are buyers, obviously, but if there were two players I could see them dealing it would be Derek Barnett and Rashaad Penny.

In the Eagles' loss to the Jets, Barnett was involved in an untelevised incident in which he got into a scrap with a player after a Jets field goal. Big surprise there. As he was heading to the sideline, an official tracked him down and grabbed his waist to get his attention. Barnett then spun around and was ready for a fight. He stopped when he saw it wasn't a Jets player, but he still had heated words for the official. The official then had a conference with Nick Sirianni and other staffers, after which Sirianni chewed Barnett out on the sideline for quite a while.

Barnett has had some other moments this season in which he was sort of living on the edge of a personal foul, but has so far avoided drawing any flags. On 52 pass rush opportunities this season, Barnett has 0 QB hurries and 0 QB hits, per PFF. If another team is willing to give up anything for Barnett, the Eagles should jump at that opportunity.

As for Penny, the Eagles have only had him active for two games, and he has only played in one. He has 3 carries for 9 yards. Penny does not seem to be in the Eagles' plans this season, so again, I could see them taking a meager return if someone offered one.

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