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October 25, 2019

Mailbag: Who could the Eagles trade if they became sellers instead of buyers at the deadline?

In our Eagles chat on Thursday there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow.

Question from Furious E: Are we at the point where the Eagles would be better served long term as sellers rather than buyers at the trade deadline? If so, is there even anyone on this team with legit trade value?

Even if they lose this weekend in Buffalo and fall to 3-5, the Eagles aren't going to be sellers. They're going to look at the standings, convince themselves that being a game and a half behind Dallas isn't insurmountable, and they're going to try to improve the roster, right or wrong. (Personally, I'd just keep my draft picks.)

Do they have "sell" pieces that would make sense for other teams? Of course they do! I mean, look at the teams that are selling. If teams like the Jets or the Bengals or the Dolphins have appealing players to other teams, obviously the Eagles do as well. 

Again, they aren't selling, but if they did, I think the leading candidates would be Malcolm Jenkins and Alshon Jeffery.

Jenkins wanted a new contract, didn't get it, and he's heading into the final year of his deal in 2020. He's smart, he plays multiple positions, and he can fit into any scheme. He would absolutely help a team looking to make a stretch run. I think the Eagles could actually get something pretty good in return for Jenkins, too, by the way, even at his age. If Mohamed Sanu can attract a second-round pick, so can Malcolm Jenkins.

Jeffery, meanwhile, is a playoff-tested player with a skill set that can a help a team that already has a speed element in their passing attack. It would be a sizable cap hit to trade him, but if indeed the Eagles believe that Jeffery has criticized the quarterback anonymously three times in the last calendar year, I'd be looking to get him off the roster immediately.

And then there are the Halapoulivaati Vaitais and Nelson Agholors of the world, but I would view them as trade candidates regardless of whether the team is buying or selling.

Question from Kuharich: I understand about waiting out teams etc., but if you are going to make a move anyway, why wait until you hardest games are past? Anybody useful they ultimately get would have helped over the last two weeks (and Sunday).

I think it's more the other way around. If you're a seller, what's the rush in dealing a player early when teams can still sustain injuries, thus bolstering the market for your tradable assets. I think that in the deals that have already happened, the selling teams got blown away by offers they couldn't turn down. For example, the Dolphins got a 1 from a team likely to be picking in the top 10 for Minkah Fitzpatrick, and the Falcons got a 2 for Mohamed Sanu.

I don't fault the Eagles for not over-paying early for those types of players.

Question from Hinkie: When is the last time we've walked away from a game and though "Wow! they really played well and looked like an elite team." It's got to be the Superbowl, right? There are serious underlying problems with this team that the run late last year helped to mask. They need to not get fooled again.

Yeah, I don't think we saw that team in 2018 at all. In 2017, they were thrashing their opponents every week during that nine-game winning streak, cooled off a bit when Nick Foles came in, and heated back up in the playoffs when the staff figured out how to win with him. The "nine-game winning streak" version of that team was the best version of that team, in my opinion, and the dropoff from that version to this current product is kind of remarkable.

And I agree. Let's call what 2018 was. Luck. They got into the playoffs with 9 wins, and only got there because a whole slew of NFC teams (Vikings, Panthers, etc.) absolutely choked down the stretch. This is not a Super Bowl-caliber team, as currently constructed, in my view. Adding a bunch of old guys to it next offseason, like they've done the last few years, isn't pushing them over the top.

There are pieces to build around, namely the quarterback, but the focus next offseason should be on adding young talent.

Question from Joeylitz: Hey Jimmy, long time reader, first time question-asker on your live chat. Remember the excitement after we beat Washington and saw DeSean Jackson explode? We “KNEW” this was a Super Bowl team. Clearly, that sentiment is gone. Assuming DeSean comes back soon, what’s the best we can hope for? I feel like he can help the team get a lead and take some pressure off the defense.

Thanks, and welcome. To begin, I'll respectfully disagree that the Washington game had me or a lot of other people thinking they were Super Bowl-bound, given that they fell behind 17-0 in that one. But certainly, they at least looked like they had an offense that could carry them. Now, not so much.

I don't view DeSean as some sort of elite player, by any stretch. But I do think that if can return healthy, his speed will have a major effect on the rest of the offense. That said, the reliance of an oft-injured, 32-year-old wide receiver to mean that much to the team is not awesome roster construction.

Question from French Bird: Just for draft day and only for that day, would you give the reins to Chip and lock Howie in the closet?

In the only draft in which Chip was definitively in charge (2015), Chip took Nelson Agholor in the first round, and none of the other players he took in that draft remain on the team. So, no, I would not be looking to bring Chip in to pick the groceries, ha.

That said, I get your point, and I agree that the draft has not been one of Howie's strengths.

Question from Malcom: Do you subscribe to the theory that a draft pick in this year’s draft is equal to a pick one round earlier in the subsequent draft?

God no.

Question from SPQR13: With refs throwing so many flags now and there being a penalty on nearly every play it seems, do you think the NFL needs to do away with the automatic first down rules?

I think that giving an automatic first down for pass interference or defensive holding is fine. If defensive holding weren't an automatic first down, guys would be holding like crazy on 3rd and long. That wouldn't be an improvement.

However, there are some penalties that don't really make much sense to be automatic first downs, like illegal hands to the face, especially when it's called on a defensive lineman. What is the logic of awarding an automatic first down on those?

Question from Buck: Your food spread grading seems to be inversely proportionate to the outcome of the games. C+ for the Linc, w/ roughly C- level play; A++ in Dallas, F level play, etc. (GB being the lone oddball). With that in mind, what is your recollection of previous spreads in Buffalo?

I've never covered a game in Buffalo, but the guy in charge there is Derek Boyko, who was with the Eagles for a couple decades. He'll put out a good spread. So I guess that means the Eagles won't play well again. I like their chances against Washington though!

Comments from A Friend: I hope your mom is okay and has a positive procedure.

I had to cut the chat 15 minutes short on Thursday, because I had to go pick up my mom from cataract surgery, so my apologies for that. She'll be wearing an eye shield for a few days, but she'll be good as new in a few days! Thanks.

See, Doug? Is it that hard to just communicate injuries honestly?

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