Should the Eagles Buy or Sell at the Trade Deadline

Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery
Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery could be on the move at the trade deadline. PHOTO CREDIT: Keith Allison//Flickr

The NFL trade deadline is upon us and some high-profile players are on the move to new teams. Avery Williamson, Desmond King and Pro Bowl LB Kwon Alexander are a few that have been traded so far and there should be more players joining them. After week 8, the Philadelphia Eagles lead the NFC East at 3-4-1 and are heading into their bye week right before the trade deadline on November 3. So that begs the question, will the Eagles be buyers or sellers this year? 

Howie Roseman has been aggressive in trying to acquire players since taking over as general manager for the Eagles in 2010. The Philadelphia Eagles have not been a very good football team this year, which would make you think they’re sellers. But, they currently lead their division thanks in part to the NFC East being a complete shit show. So, now Philly has a big decision looming. Do the Eagles trade future assets to build up their team to try and win now, or do they trade what players of value they do have for draft picks and rebuild?

If the Philadelphia Eagles are buyers at the trade deadline, some positions of need include OL, CB and most of all LB.

LB – Zach Cunningham – Houston Texans

The Eagles need a linebacker in the worst way and Zach Cunningham could be available. The Texans sit at 1-6 and are looking to obtain draft picks. 

Zach Cunningham is a tackling machine. Since coming into the league in 2017, Cunningham has 410 career tackles and 5.5 sacks. However, he just signed a 4-year deal with Houston. So, the Eagles may have to give up a lot for the Texans to part ways with the former Vanderbilt standout.

The highest pick the Texans have in next year’s draft is a 3rd rounder. Maybe the Eagles could pry Cunningham away from the Texans with another 3rd round pick.

  • Texans: Acquire PHI 2021 3rd round pick
  • Eagles: Acquire Zach Cunningham

Other LBs the Eagles can look to acquire include Haason Reddick, Deion Jones, Neville Hewitt and Myles Jack. 

OL – Nick Easton – New Orleans Saints

Two words: Cesar Ruiz. The Saints have made it pretty clear that Easton doesn’t fit into their long-term plans, making him the perfect trade candidate. Due to the emergence of Cesar Ruiz, Easton has fallen out of the Saints’ offensive line rotation.

The Eagles offensive line has been riddled with injuries since before the season even started. If Easton hops on a flight to Philly, he would have an instant impact. While players like Jordan Mailata have impressed for the Eagles, Nate Herbig, Matt Pyror and Sua Opeta have gotten absolutely steamrolled over the past few weeks. With Drew Brees’ career almost over, the Saints should be looking to acquire some draft capital for the impending rebuild. 

  • Saints: Acquire PHI 4th round pick
  • Eagles: Acquire Nick Easton, NO 6th round pick

Other OL the Eagles can also look to acquire: Joe Thuney and James Carpenter.

CB – Stephon Gilmore – New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are a complete disaster right now. They are in total rebuild mode and are looking to acquire future draft picks to speed their rebuild up. Some names that have been floated out there are Stephon Gilmore, Joe Thuney and J.C. Jackson. 

Gilmore is 30 years old with an expiring contract. But he is still one of the top cornerbacks in the league. Any team that trades for him would have to convince him to sign a long-term deal, otherwise he would be a rental. If the Patriots really want to move on from Gilmore, they should work with him in finding where he wants to go. This would guarantee the Patriots get the most value for him, while his new team can feel safe that he’s not a 1-year rental. 

Gilmore would fit in perfectly in Philly. The Pro-Bowl corner already has familiarity with Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz’s from their time in Buffalo. Gilmore and Darius Slay would form the best CB duo in the entire league. This would be the home run signing the Eagles secondary desperately needs.

  • Patriots: Acquire Alshon Jeffery, PHI 2021 2nd round pick, PHI 2022 3rd round pick
  • Eagles: Acquire Stephon Gilmore, 2022 5th round pick

Other CBs the Eagles can also look to acquire: William Jackson III, Pierre Desir and Cameron Sutton.

The Sell Side:

If the Philadelphia Eagles decide to sell at the deadline, they have a few players who have already drawn interest from other teams. Some of the players they could look to move include Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham, Alshon Jeffery, Will Parks, and Jason Peters. 

DE – Derek Barnett

Since the Eagles drafted him with the 14th pick in the 2017 draft, Barnett has not lived up to the hype. He currently has 3 sacks this season and 17.5 sacks in 4 injury-ridden years while playing for the Birds. The former Tennessee Volunteer has also fallen down the depth chart in favor of Josh Sweat. 

Over the offseason, the Eagles picked up Barnett’s 5th year option and Barnett carries a $10 million cap hit in 2021. With the Eagles needing to lower their cap room in 2021, Barnett can be the first piece to fall. Seattle has been reportedly looking to acquire more help along the defensive front, even after acquiring Carlos Dunlap. A third-round draft pick should be enough to get the deal done.  

  • Eagles: Acquire SEA 2021 3rd round pick
  • Seahawks: Acquire Derek Barnett

OL – Jason Peters

Before the 2020 NFL season, Jason Peters was not in the Philadelphia Eagles plans moving forward. After an onslaught of injuries decimated their offensive line, the Eagles resigned Peters. Fast forward 8 games into the season, and Peters has been outplayed by former rugby star Jordan Mailata. Mailata should be the Eagles LT for the rest of the season and for years to come. 

This leaves Peters as a replaceable piece and a valuable trade asset to a team that needs a LT. Tennessee can be a possible destination, as the Titans recently lost Taylor Lewan for the remainder of the season. A late round pick should be enough to get the deal done. 

  • Eagles: Acquire TEN 2021 6th round pick
  • Titans: Acquire Jason Peters

WR – Alshon Jeffery

The most obvious name on the list of trade pieces for the Eagles is Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery is 30 years old, coming off an injury last season and has yet to play a single game this year. Besides the fact Jeffery has been dealing with injuries, he currently carries a $12.5 million dollar cap hit and $13.6 million dead cap hit. 

For the Eagles to get this deal done, they need to either add a sweetener to the deal or add Jeffery in a deal for another player. As I stated earlier, the Eagles can add Jeffery to a trade for Stephon Gilmore. Philly can also try to trade Jeffery to a playoff team in need of a high-caliber wide receiver. The most likely destination being the Green Bay Packers. The Packers need a wide receiver to play opposite of Davante Adams and the Eagles need someone to unload his contract on. It is a perfect match.

  • Eagles: Acquire GB 2021 5th round draft pick
  • Packers: Acquire Alshon Jeffery, PHI 3rd round draft pick. 

The Philadelphia Eagles are getting healthier as the season progresses, and are in prime position to take control of the NFC East. If the Philly front office believes that the Eagles can compete for a title this year, they should be aggressive in acquiring players that improve the team while not sacrificing their future. I expect Howie will have a busy deadline. Fly Eagles Fly!

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