We’re just under a month away from the NFL trade deadline. Typically, Howie Roseman and his Eagles are buyers at the deadline. But given the current state of the franchise, it would make more sense to sell off aging, high priced veterans at the deadline this year.
There are a handful of vets that should be on the trade block for the Eagles. Whether it’s because of their diminishing production or their high price tags, selling them while they still hold some value is important. If Roseman waits too long to unload some of these contracts, he may be forced to take on an exorbitant amount of dead cap.
Here are four veterans the Eagles should look to trade by the deadline this year.
Trade rumors surrounding tight end Zach Ertz dominated headlines over the offseason. But surprisingly, he attended training camp and is now four games into the 2021 season as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
He seems happier than he was last year and his production has been steady, but the $8.5 million salary is too much for an aging tight end who’s clearly not the Pro Bowl talent he once was. He’s currently the seventh-highest paid tight end in football, and the Eagles are going to lose him at the end of the year with his contract entering void years. Not to mention the fact that they’ll need to resign Dallas Goedert following this year so there just won’t be enough money to give Ertz.
While it would have been ideal to have gotten a deal done before the year began, you could argue that his trade value is a bit higher now after four games. Ertz has caught 13 balls for 153 yards (11.8 YPC average) and he’s found the end zone once. He certainly looks better than last year, and if he got a larger snap percentage as a team’s primary tight end, his numbers would likely be better.
With Tyree Jackson set to be back in the lineup at some point this season, trading Ertz to a contender and saving some much needed cash would be best for both sides.
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This may be an unpopular opinion, but Fletcher Cox has been a declining player for a few years now. Ever since his remarkable 10.5 sack season in 2018, he’s totaled just 10 sacks in the two and half years since. His Pro Football Focus season grades have dropped steadily as well, from his high mark of 92.5 in 2018, all the way down to 54.6 through four games this year.
He’s the highest paid player on the roster, with a 2021 cap hit of $12.9 million (6.5% of the team’s cap). Simply put, Cox’s production isn’t meeting the standards of his contract right now. And to be honest, I’m not sure if he’ll ever reach a point where he’s unanimously considered an elite interior lineman again.
Of course, he has been double teamed a lot this year, which is part of the reason why his stat sheet is so empty. But nevertheless, in a game where the opposing offense runs for over 200 yards and you fail to record a single tackle, something has to give.
Trading Cox would incur a $10 million dead cap hit, but it may be worth it to shed his contract in the long-term. The team has a lot invested in Javon Hargrave, who’s having a Pro Bowl season so far, and they just drafted Milton Williams in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft.
It would be surprising if Roseman actually pulled the trigger on this during the season, but there’s a good possibility he could get dealt once the offseason hits. If there’s a contender out there that feels like Cox could shore up their defensive line, acquiring some draft capital for the former All-Pro could be in the cards.
Brandon Brooks went down with a pectoral strain in Week 2 and was placed on IR following the game, but he could be taken off of it as soon as Week 6 against Tampa Bay. If/when Brooks is removed from IR, he could be a trade target for any team looking to upgrade their offensive line.
It’s no secret that Roseman already attempted to trade Brooks during the offseason. A source from SI.com’s Eagle Maven stated that Brooks actually expected a trade at one point. It’s fair to speculate on Brooks’ future with the team, regardless of the hefty contract he’s currently under. The team has young guards that can fill in for Brooks for the remainder of the season, like Landon Dickerson or Nate Herbig.
Since Brooks signed his new contract in 2019, he’s played just nine of a possible 26 games. For a guy making upwards of $76 million, it’s impossible to justify missing so much time. We know injuries are uncontrollable, but there’s no reason to be paying Brooks this much money with so much uncertainty surrounding his health.
Guard isn’t the most sought after position in this league, but there are surely a handful of teams that could use a proven guard to shore up their lines en route to a playoff run.
Once Brooks is fully healthy, don’t be shocked if he gets traded. Not only because of the contract he’s playing under, but the Eagles have a handful of young lineman who they can develop this year. With a long-term view on things moving forward, that may be the best route to take with this team.
This one is a bit of a stretch, considering Wilson will be gone after the season because he’s only on a one-year deal. But regardless, if Howie can flip him for any kind of draft compensation, it would be worth it.
He’s been one of the worst starting linebackers in the NFL this year. PFF ranks him as the worst qualifying backer out of 79, as he’s posted an overall grade of 30.1 through four games this year.
The team has a few options they could turn to, like Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley, or T.J. Edwards. Wilson has been so bad that it would be hard for any of those options to do much worse. At this point, the organization should be more interested in finding out what they have with their young backers. Getting rid of Wilson — or just benching him — would allow them to see some of the young cats in action.
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