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January 25, 2022

Eagles offseason trade candidates, and hypothetical compensation

Andre Dillard, Gardner Minshew and Fletcher Cox (again) all make sense to be dealt this offseason.

Eagles NFL
Fletcher_Cox_happy_celebrate_Eagles_49ers_Frese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has seen his name pop up in trade rumors for some time now.

The Philadelphia Eagles have compiled 10 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, including three in the first round. As the team continues to build its roster, they could look to add to their draft capital even further by dealing players no longer in their long-term plans. Here are some Eagles players who could be dealt this offseason.

LT Andre Dillard

Dillard had a bad rookie season (and not just at RT), before being lost for the season in 2020 with a torn biceps. He entered 2021 training camp in a competition with Jordan Mailata for the starting LT job, but it was crystal clear after only a small handful of practices that Mailata was going to run away with the job. 

Dillard started five games at LT in 2021 and played reasonably well. He showed that he belongs in the NFL and could even start for many of the offensive line-starved teams across the league. 

With the Eagles, there isn't really a good fit for Dillard going forward. Mailata will be the starting LT for the foreseeable future, and Lane Johnson is coming off an All-Pro season at RT. Dillard can only play LT, so he doesn't even have value to the Eagles as a swing tackle. When Johnson was missing for several games with his "personal issue," Mailata started at RT and Dillard filled in at LT.

Dillard is also a bad candidate to move inside to guard, because his biggest flaw is that he struggles anchoring against power. Some of the nastier DTs in the league would eat him alive in there. So it's seemingly starting LT or bust. That has value elsewhere, but not in Philly.

What kind of compensation could the Eagles expect in return? Dillard only has one year left on his contract, so the Eagles would probably do well to salvage a fourth-round pick in return for him.

MORE: Eagles stay or go: Head coach Nick Sirianni | WTS: Eagles 'stuck in QB purgatory' with Hurts, but have options to improve

QB Gardner Minshew

Minshew is a perfectly good backup quarterback on an extremely low cost contract who the Eagles landed from the Jaguars for the low, low cost of a sixth-round pick just before the start of the 2021 season. 

He served as the Eagles' third-string quarterback while he learned the offense but was always going to leapfrog then No. 2 quarterback Joe Flacco for the backup spot. That eventually happened when the Eagles flipped Flacco to the Jets for a sixth-round pick of their own. It was almost as if they sort of traded Flacco for Minshew, which was an absolute steal for Howie Roseman.

Minshew would start one meaningful game for the Eagles in 2021, a 33-18 win over the Jets. After that win over the Jets, Roseman got Ian Rapoport to write an article about Minshew's offseason trade value:

But the ramifications of Minshew's game should linger into the offseason, where his performance last week versus the Jets -- 20 of 25 for 242 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions -- is sure to draw interest from teams around the NFL. He already has.

Sources say during the season, the Carolina Panthers spoke with Philly about Minshew, discussing what the compensation would be. They never dug deep on a possible trade, but they did discuss what it might take.

The Panthers called before they acquired Matt Barkley and before they signed Cam Newton. Given the way Minshew played, they won't be alone.

I don't know that anyone is trading for Minshew to be their starter in 2022 because they absolutely have to have him, but he could be an option for a team that loses a quarterback to injury during the offseason.

What kind of compensation could the Eagles expect in return? Acquiring Minshew for a sixth-round pick, subsequently getting a win out of him as a backup, and then flipping him for, say, a fourth-round pick would be a job well done by Roseman.

DT Fletcher Cox

Overall, Roseman had a good 2021, but the one major misstep that he made was restructuring Cox's contract instead of dealing him for a valuable asset prior to the 2021 season.

Because of the complexity of the restructure (it was actually more like two restructures — in 2021 and proactively in 2022), it took the great Jason Fitzgerald of 25 minutes to try to explain it below. Good luck digesting this:

The short-short version of that video is that whether the Eagles cut, trade, or keep Cox in 2022, they found creative ways of dumping Cox's cap charges into the 2023 season, when the cap is expected to rise substantially.

What kind of compensation could the Eagles expect in return? Early Day 3 pick.

MORE: Three free agents who make sense for the Eagles, version 1.0

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