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November 01, 2021

NFL trade rumors: Will Eagles' win change Howie Roseman's approach to the deadline?

A week ago this time, everyone was ready to blow up the Eagles following their loss to the Raiders. Now, the feeling in Philly has changed slightly after they torched the Lions on Sunday afternoon in Detroit. 

Yes, it was the winless Lions. And, no, Eagles fans don't suddenly believe their team is going to make a deep playoff run — or even make the playoffs in the first place — but there is a more positive overall feeling based on some of the things that happened in the game, like a more aggressive approach from the defense and a more run-heavy attack from the offense. That at least gives hope that the Eagles can win a few games down the stretch against lesser opponents, including five games against Washington and the two New York teams, who are a combined 6-16 as of Monday morning. 

But how much should Howie Roseman be swayed by a 44-6 drubbing of a dreadful Detroit team? Will he continue with the strategy he's employed so far this season, dealing veteran players on expiring contracts (like Zach Ertz and Joe Flacco) with an eye toward the future? Or did he see enough on Sunday to convince him it might be smarter to use some of the draft capital he's built up to acquire a piece or two in case the Eagles are able to make a run at the wild card thanks to a soft second-half schedule? 

Perhaps the answer is somewhere in between, with reports suggesting this won't be a fire sale for Philly, but can't rule out idea of Roseman adding a player. For those who don't understand why the Eagles would possibly buy at the deadline, don't worry, you're not alone. But it at least appears if that's the approach it will be with a more longterm vision in place.

Just last week on 97.5 The Fanatic, Adam Schefter offered up the following appraisal of the Eagles GM's thinking — and this was before their win on Sunday:  

"They would not go out and get a player on a short-term, expiring contract the way that a contender could right now, but if there were a young player with two, three years left on his deal, and there was a deal to be had, I think they could trade for a player, too," he said. "I'm not telling you they will, but over the next week, they'll look into that. They will."

That's not entirely surprising and wouldn't be out of character for Roseman. But with his team at just 3-5 and needing as many draft picks as possible — in part in case they decide to trade for an established quarterback this offseason or simply want to move up in the first round — perhaps Roseman would be smarter seeing what the Eagles have on their own roster already before looking elsewhere. 

That's where we'll start today's look at some NFL trade deadline rumors surrounding the Eagles... 

Staying the course?

Martin Frank | Delaware News Journal

In this column from Martin Frank, the Delaware News Journal scribe points out that the Eagles' strategy ahead of the trade deadline might have already been decided before their game against the Lions. 

Any questions as to the Eagles' direction at the trade deadline were answered before, during and after their 44-6 pummeling of the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

No, it wasn't that the Eagles' dominating win is necessarily a sign that they're going to load up for a playoff run by trading for an impact player by the deadline on Tuesday.


If anything, the Eagles' actions against the Lions made it clear that they would keep trading their own players if any team would take them – even after they traded tight end Zach Ertz and backup quarterback Joe Flacco over the past 10 days.

The Eagles showed that by benching linebacker Eric Wilson, one of their ineffective free agent signings, before the game even started. In his place, the Eagles let Davion Taylor, their third-round pick in 2020, play most of the game.

They gave rookie defensive tackle Milton Williams more playing time than in the past, even before garbage time. He was on the field when the Lions faced a 4th-and-1 from the Eagles' 22 with 13 seconds left in the first half.  []

That's absolutely the right move from the Eagles, especially if it means we don't have to watch Eric Wilson any more. 

I don't hate the idea of Roseman adding a guy with a couple of years left on his deal if it's both inexpensive and a good value, but otherwise I think the Eagles would be wise to give as many opportunities to their young players as possible. And the way to do that is by trading away any veterans who don't fit into your longterm plans. Currently, the Eagles appear to have more than a few of them. The problem, as we've pointed out in this space in the past, is that many of them — including Fletcher Cox and Derek Barnett due to their contract structures — are basically untradeable.

Vets for sale! We've got vets for sale!

Tim McManus | ESPN

Over at ESPN, Tim McManus noted that it's clear the Eagles defense doesn't have all the players it needs, especially at defensive tackle — which is perhaps why we saw more Milton Williams on Sunday — but he also doesn't expect the Eagles to add much ahead of the deadline. 

More likely, writes McManus, is that the Eagles continue to trade away veterans who have easily identifiable replacements on the roster already. And there are a few... 

The two players the Eagles have traded so far, Ertz and Flacco, had a few things in common: their contracts were set to expire at the end of the year, they weren't in the team's long-term plans, and there were players on the roster (Gardner Minshew, Dallas Goedert, etc.) who could help fill the void in their absence.

Two players who seem to fit that criteria are defensive end Ryan Kerrigan and linebacker Eric Wilson. Kerrigan does not appear to be a natural fit for Jonathan Gannon's scheme and has been largely unproductive (0 sacks, 1 tackle in 7 games). Perhaps he can make more of an impact in a different system. Wilson began the season as the team's top linebacker but struggled against the run and has played a more limited role the last three weeks. The Eagles were open to trading one of their linebackers this offseason. It makes sense that they still would be, whether it's Wilson, T.J. Edwards or otherwise.

Cornerback Steven Nelson is another vet playing on a one-year deal, but as the starter opposite Darius Slay, he'd be harder to replace. The only reason a Nelson trade makes sense is if the Eagles have essentially given up on the season and want young players like rookie Zech McPhearson and Gowan to get some experience.  []

Roseman wants 'high pick' for Cox

Ian Rapoport |

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported over the weekend that Fletcher Cox was drawing some interest on the trade market, with teams hoping to get him on the cheap as he appears unhappy playing in Jonathan Gannon's defense — and even said as much after the Raiders loss. According to Rapoport, however, Roseman doesn't plan on trading the veteran defensive tackle for anything less than a high pick.

Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox: Teams have been contacting the Eagles about Cox, figuring they could take a run at him to see if they could get him for a mid- to late-round pick. On the heels of Cox airing grievances about the defense, teams have reacted. Cox is one of the core veterans GM Howie Roseman wants around, so he's unlikely to part with him for anything less than a high pick.  []

To me, this reeks of a Howie leak, trying to drive up the price on Cox ahead of the deadline and doing some negotiating through the media. As Jimmy Kempski recently wrote, Roseman already made it almost impossible for them to trade Cox based on his new contract, so it would be interesting if there was a bidding war for a highly-paid, aging interior defensive lineman who is having one of his worst seasons. 

Still, Rapoport is hardly the only one reporting on the interest in Cox...

Howie 'not done making trades'

Jason La Canfora | CBS Sports

According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, "the kind of inquiries that have come in thus far aren't close to facilitating a trade for" Fletcher Cox and "he is not a player the Eagles are marketing or hopeful of moving." That's interesting for a couple of reasons, because it's almost the same kind of language that Rapoport used in discussing the Eagles not really wanting to move him, which is exactly the kind of thing his current GM would say just in case of the likely even that they can't trade him.

Beyond that, another name that "continues to draw outside interest" is Andre Dillard, according to La Canfora. He's played better this season and maybe Roseman is hoping that has increased his value enough to the point where he'd be ready to give up on the former first-round pick. Or, perhaps it works the other way, and Roseman now believes that Dillard could have a future with the team, especially if they can sign him for a relatively inexpensive second contract. 

Here's more from La Canfora, who says Roseman likely isn't done making moves, but that this won't be  "a fire sale." That being said, he does name a few veteran players who could be on the move... 

The rebuilding Eagles are drawing heavy attention around the NFL as the trade deadline nears, league sources said, with other teams making repeated inquiries for star defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and emerging offensive tackle Andre Dillard. And though Philadelphia's aggressive general manager Howie Roseman is likely not done making trades, the odds of a blockbuster are not high.

The Eagles have recently traded tight end Zach Ertz and veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, and remain very open to moving other veterans in the final year of their contracts, league sources said. But this is not a fire sale, sources said, the likes of which is going on in Houston with most of the roster available for trade, and the Eagles will be judicious about not just dumping salary of players who could still help them in 2022 and beyond. [...]

The Eagles do have a core of other players with expiring contracts that includes defensive linemen Derek Barnett and Ryan Kerrigan, center Jason Kelce and safety Rodney McLeod. At this point is more likely they would deal a pending free agent over someone with term remaining on their deal, with Roseman's reputation as a dealmaker adding to the inquiries the team is receiving.  []

How many of these guys will be suiting up elsewhere next week? We'll find out in the next day or so, with the NFL trade deadline set to pass at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Stay tuned... 

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