The Eagles have fallen to 3-4 on the season after consecutive blowout losses. With the trade deadline under a week away, there is suddenly some uncertainty as to whether the Eagles should make a deal or not amid the mounting struggles.

Against both the Vikings and Cowboys, we saw an Eagles team show up that not many would have predicted prior to the season. Inconsistency on offense, an inability to make an impact on defense, and all-around uninspired performances have hampered what was supposed to be a season that put the Eagles among the NFL’s best teams.

Similar to last season, the Eagles have seen some of their most key players go down due to injury, such as DeSean Jackson and Tim Jernigan, who have both been out since week two, and Malik Jackson, who suffered a season-ending foot injury in week one. Along with that, some of the building blocks in the past have seen a dip in production during the 2019 season, including Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Malcolm Jenkins.

With those problems, a trade is typically the best solution, but this scenario is a bit unique for the Eagles. In terms of what exactly they should do at the trade deadline, there’s a lot to consider.

Could the Eagles be buyers at the deadline?

Following the hiring of head coach Doug Pederson, the Eagles have stayed consistent in having a win-first mentality. This season hasn’t gone as planned to this point, but as Pederson has said on multiple occasions, the Eagles are still just one game out of first place in the NFC East with more than half of the season remaining.

As was the case last season when the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper from Oakland, making trade could very well spark the Eagles and turn the tides on the season. For a team that seemed fairly unmotivated in the two biggest games of the season to this point, the jolt of a notable trade may just be what the doctor ordered.

With holes at wide receiver, the defensive line and in the secondary, Howie Roseman and the front office have been proactive to this point in trying to make a deal, but to no avail.

The Eagles were in discussions with Jacksonville regarding Jalen Ramsey and had interest in Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders, but were eventually priced out of any potential deal. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other players on the market that could be had. Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr and DE Derek Wolfe, along with Jets WR Robby Anderson are among the names drawing the most buzz on the market to this point.

The Eagles currently have a slew of picks for the 2020 draft at their disposal, along with a few players on the team, including Sidney Jones and Nelson Agholor, that could be dangled in trade talks.

During his Wednesday press conference, Pederson noted he and Roseman have talked about potential trades and says they both are willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team. The one position that Pederson hinted at most regarding trade is the defensive line, especially with Malik Jackson out for the season Jernigan presumably still at least a week out from a return, and Hassan Ridgeway now placed on IR with a significant ankle injury. The Eagles did sign two defensive tackles to their roster, Anthony Rush from Oakland’s practice squad and Albert Huggins from Houston’s practice squad, but that likely isn’t enough to solve the team’s pass-rushing woes.

Staying on the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles desperately need cornerback help. Ronald Darby didn’t play a single snap against the Cowboys in his return from a hamstring injury, though he was being used in an emergency role; Avonte Maddox is expected to miss this Sunday’s game against the Bills due to a concussion and neck injury; Sidney Jones was benched against the Cowboys, and Cre’Von LeBlanc can’t return until week 9 against the Bears, at the earliest.

For the second-straight year, the Eagles secondary is a mess due to inconsistent play and injuries, and adding a body to the mix could ease the situation a bit. Amid all of this is the lack of a shutdown corner, and that’s where a trade would make the most impact. With Ramsey now off the board, Harris Jr, who notably held Davante Adams to 4 catches for 52 yards earlier this season, would be the team’s best and most cost-efficient option at solving that problem. However, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported that the Broncos are unlikely to deal with Harris Jr if their asking price isn’t matched.

Lastly is arguably the hottest talking point, which is the wide receiver position. Underlying the drama and accusations regarding an anonymous source who criticized Carson Wentz is the lack of production on the field. Agholor has been non-existent on the field, Mack Hollins has served little to no role on the offense, and second-round draft pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside is struggling to even get playing time. With DeSean Jackson still out, the Eagles lack a true deep threat, and with still no timetable for Jackson’s return, a trade may be the only way to solve this problem.

The Eagles have problems, it’s as simple as that, and arguably the only way to solve that is to bring in a player from the outside in hopes to spark confidence within the team. However, it does take more than confidence for the team to produce on the field.

Could the Eagles sell at the deadline?

Selling is quite the polar opposite of what was just discussed, but that’s what happens when a team is 3-4 and hasn’t shown the ability to solve any of their problems internally.

The Eagles have a number of players on expiring deals who could provide use to a team in a better position to make a run at the Super Bowl. It’s understandable to consider selling given how the team has looked these first seven weeks, but it simply isn’t in the nature of Roseman and the Eagles to give up, especially with so much time for things to change.

While the Eagles due have some injury troubles, they will get some help back soon. As noted before, Jackson and Jernigan aren’t out for the season — they are expected to return, and per Pederson, they both are on schedule in terms of their recovery. Darby is on track to play this week, and Maddox and LeBlanc seem to be at the most a few weeks away from a return.

The Eagles also need to retain their core for the long run — they can’t, and won’t, sell players who could aid the team in a future run at a title, especially following Wentz’s contract extension of over $100 million.

The current state of the Eagles is troublesome, and they don’t seem ready yet to be contenders, but selling is likely out of the question for this year’s trade deadline.

Could the Eagles do nothing at the trade deadline?

This would be an anti-climactic result, but it is realistic. It’s been a rollercoaster of a season, and while a big trade may not save the troubles the team has, selling also doesn’t seem to fit the bill either.

The Eagles have yet to show the willingness to pay the high price that has seemed to be set on the market with the first few trades of the season, and for a team that hasn’t shown the readiness to be contenders, it wouldn’t make sense to dish out valuable assets.

While the Eagles do have needs, Pederson has mentioned the fact that getting guys back from injury will help, in their minds, fit some of them, so a trade may not be as warranted as something. Assuming he can stay healthy, the deep ball struggles should be solves once Jackson returns; the defensive line will get some help when Jernigan returns; and Darby, LeBlanc, and Maddox will at some point return and will be at 100%.

Another aspect that has to be considered is who exactly is available on the market. If the Eagles were to pursue a deal for Chris Harris Jr or Robby Anderson, who are both in the last year of their contracts, they would be forced to trade picks for a player who would potentially just be a rental, furthering the team’s age problem.

So, what is the likeliest outcome for the Eagles at the trade deadline?

This answer may be dependent on what happens in this Sunday’s game against the Bills. Last season, the Eagles were 4-4 heading into the trade deadline before dealing a third-round pick for Golden Tate, a move that was expected to help the offensive troubles.

With a win in Buffalo, the Eagles would be in the exact same spot — a 4-4 record, just .5 games out of first place, and at least a sliver of hope in terms of making the playoffs. In this scenario, a deal may make sense for the Eagles, but it likely won’t be for the high-caliber player that some expect.

What may make the most sense is a trade where they flip an expiring contract and a pick for a better player on an expiring contract — a trade that would both freshen the air some, and also give the Eagles an upgrade.

However, with a loss in Buffalo, the Eagles will be just 3-5 with three straight games against Chicago, New England and Seattle all awaiting them. In this scenario, it’s hard to justify the Eagles making any trade at all.

While the Eagles would still need help at spots, the results of the last two weeks show that they’re far more than just one player away. Whether the Eagles trade for Chris Harris Jr, AJ Green or even Patrick Peterson, that would only be a bandaid to what’s a bigger problem.

The Eagles still have time to make up their mind in terms of how they want to approach the trade deadline, but Sunday’s game against the Bills, if they decide to wait that long, maybe the ultimate decider.

Photo: Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports
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