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November 05, 2020

John McMullen: Howie Roseman, Eagles really had no choice but to sit out trade deadline

Opinion Eagles

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Howie-Roseman-phone_102120_usat Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman

Turns out my self-imposed Ameritrade cutoff was more compelling than the NFL's trade deadline, which ended with a whimper on Tuesday after two nondescript moves involving the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins sent receiver Isaiah Ford in-division to the struggling New England Patriots and also acquired running back DeAndre Washington from Kansas City, a player who was no longer needed any longer by the Super Bowl champions because Le'Veon Bell is about to be added into Andy Reid's mix there.

Reading that back and whimper might be too strong a descriptor for a league that typically hamstrings itself to begin with when it comes to trades, something only magnified by stricter COVID-19 protocols that make ramping up a player from outside an organization more difficult and the impending rollback of the salary cap in 2021, again due to the virus.

Locally, Howie Roseman did what he never does (play the role of "Stand Pat" Gillick) for a host of reasons with COVID at the top of the list, something foreshadowed by coach Doug Pederson on Monday.

"You're always going to take a look and see if there's an opportunity to help your football team," Pederson explained before pivoting. "But honestly with the way COVID is and getting that player in here, they are not going to be caught up to speed right away and it's going to be a week or so before you can really get them into the building.

"... Obviously, we take a look at it and see if there's an opportunity there. But again, it just kind of goes back to what I've been saying. This is a great opportunity for us as a team to get better this week, get healthy this week and to really focus on us."

That was ignored by many when the Eagles waived tight end Jason Croom, news that was greeted with excitement. Surely, the open roster spot was for a splashy trade.

In reality, that move was far more mundane, more than likely to open space for the returning Zach Ertz, who is ready to go from his ankle injury after the bye week, according to sources.

More so, those in the know understood the Eagles didn't need to open a spot for a potential trade pickup because those same virus protocols also come with an exemption for new players until they get through all the testing procedures.

Roseman stayed quiet because his only option was a Genard Avery-type pickup, a young player on his rookie deal who fell out of favor elsewhere, and really what's the point of that in this season other than to get a headstart in the program for 2021?

A rental like Golden Tate in 2018 was out of the question because Roseman has already budgeted the money he does have to roll over into 2021 to help with the issues that are looming.

Selling in a buyer's market was obviously not feasible because others who were more motivated couldn't do it as well. The Eagles certainly would have liked to ship Alshon Jeffery out of town and injuries disrupted talks about moving the disgruntled Ertz or even trying to convince someone DeSean Jackson is still relevant.

So for the first time, Howie 2.0 was forced to sit on his hands after consecutive years of Jay Ajayi, Tate, and Avery. This time the returns of Ertz, Miles Sanders, and Lane Johnson from injury are the midseason trade pickups for a team that has a better projection rate to win the NFC East than Joe Biden has toward the presidency. After all, lawyers aren’t getting involved here although perhaps you can never rule that out when Daniel Snyder is involved.

Yes, the Eagles could have used help at linebacker and running back particularly but Alex Singleton has proved competent and T.J. Edwards came through with his best game as a pro vs. the Cowboys at the second level on defense. Boston Scott also seems to step up his play with more touches and just needs to find a way to sustain that efficacy when he's the complement to Sanders in the backfield.

Other teams did get some things done leading up to the deadline. Most notably Tennessee sent a late-round pick to the LA Chargers for corner Desmond King, the 49ers shipped LB Kwon Alexander to the New Orleans Saints for old friend Kiko Alonso and a conditional fifth-round pick while Carlos Dunlap used social media to force his way out of Cincinnati and get to a contender in Seattle.

In a vacuum players like that could have helped the Eagles but the context of things like salary, scheme, and the ability to plug-and-play point 180 degrees from that sentiment.

None of that was exactly sexy either and the one reported splashy deal that never got done was Philly native Will Fuller potentially heading from Houston to Green Bay. Even that's not exactly Matilda De Angelis in "The Undoing" to anyone other than Aaron Rodgers, however.

Change for the sake of change is rarely meaningful and Roseman was right to sit this one out.


John McMullen is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media, the host of “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey and also contributes Eagles and NFL coverage for SI.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com, or follow John on Twitter.

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