The Jets are reportedly shopping wide receiver Robby Anderson ahead of next Tuesday’s trade deadline. With the Eagles desperately needing a deep threat at receiver, Anderson could be a potential solution to the problems.
The Eagles were interested in acquiring Anderson in 2018, but the Jets were ultimately decided to hang on to the speedy receiver. However, it now seems the Jets are more open to moving Anderson for potential draft picks in the 2020 draft, and once again, the Eagles could eye a trade.
The wide receiver position is one that has given the Eagles plenty of trouble in the 2019 season — the Eagles have been without DeSean Jackson since week 2 due to an abdomen injury, Alshon Jeffery’s production has been inconsistent, both Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins have yet to make much of an impact despite seeing significant playing time, and 2019 second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside has disappeared from the offensive gameplay.
With the October 29th’s 4 PM trade deadline under a week away, making a trade may be the only means for the Eagles to get a boost at wide receiver, and Anderson is among the targets that make the most sense.
What Robby Anderson brings to the table
Robby Anderson was an undrafted free agent out of Temple, just 7.7 miles down the road from Lincoln Financial Field. At the NFL combine, Anderson had some explosive measurable, running a 4.36-second 40-yard dash, a 2.56-second 20-yard split, and a 36.5″ vertical jump.
In 2019, Anderson has 17 catches on the season for 266 yards and one touchdown. While those starts aren’t too flashy, a majority of that was without starting quarterback Sam Darnold, who missed multiple games due to mono. In Darnold’s first game back against the Dallas Cowboys, Anderson hauled in five receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Anderson saw his best season come in 2017, where he caught 63 passes for 941 yards and 7 touchdowns, solidifying himself as one of the NFL’s most explosive receivers. While his quarterback play hasn’t been something to write home about, Anderson has become a receiver that consistently draws the most attention from opposing defenses.
On the business side of things, Anderson is currently making $3.1 million this season on a restricted free agent tender and is set to be an unrestricted free agent following this season. For a Jets team sitting at 1-5 and is expected to be sellers, moving a wide receiver that would provide no compensation if walking in free agency is something they surely would prefer.
Would the Eagles have interest in Anderson again?
The simple answer to this: yes, they would, and they absolutely should, as well. There is a glaring hole on the offense with the absence of DeSean Jackson, and it’s one that doesn’t look like it’ll be resolved soon.
Jackson suffered an abdominal injury in warmups prior to the team’s Week 2 game against the Falcons and has yet to return. On both Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of the Bills game, Jackson has yet to practice in any fashion, a sign that he’s set to miss his sixth-straight game.
Head coach Doug Pederson has said on multiple occasions that even when Jackson returns, he won’t be at 100% health. The offense looked explosive with Jackson in week one, with Jackson hauling in 8 receptions for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns, but ever since that game, not a single wide receiver has hauled in a pass for more than 30 yards.
The Eagles signed quarterback Carson Wentz to a monstrous extension this offseason, and as of right now, he doesn’t seem to have the supporting cast to allow him to play his best football. If the Eagles are able to acquire Anderson, they would be supplying Wentz with the deep threat that he and the offense desperate need.
Plus, if and when Jackson does return, the Eagles could suddenly see themselves with a two-headed monster in Jackson and Anderson, a duo that could be a nightmare for opposing defenses.
What would potential compensation look like in an Anderson trade?
This is where things get difficult, and Howie Roseman and the front office will have to think long and hard about. Given Anderson is set to be a free agent, the price should be lower, but the market hasn’t pointed to that at this point.
The 49ers acquired a third and fourth-round pick for Emmanuel Sanders, who is set to be a free agent after this season and was coming off of a torn Achilles. The Patriots also acquired a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu, who is under contract through 2020 but has yet to put up the production Anderson has over his eight-year career.
Due to both trades above, the price to acquire Anderson may be higher than some expect. Last season, the Eagles were forced to trade a third-round pick for Golden Tate, and that may end up being the case this year. Plus, Anderson will likely have multiple suitors, and the Jets will hold out on trade until they get as much compensation as possible.
The Eagles could find themselves in a bidding war for Anderson, which may drive the price higher than they would like.
So, should the Eagles pursue a trade for Anderson?
Yes, they absolutely should, but there are some factors to consider. Sitting at 3-4 (and potentially either 3-5 or 4-4 after this week), the Eagles aren’t quite in the position to trade one of their higher mid-round picks for a player who could leave after just a few games.
If the price ends up being a fourth or fifth-round pick, it makes sense for the Eagles to make the trade, but if it ends up being a third-round pick, the Eagles may be hard-pressed to trade a valuable pick for another rental.
As previously mentioned, Anderson would provide a big boost at wide receiver, but that position isn’t the only spot of need. The secondary has had disastrous struggles all season, the teams once-solidified depth at defensive tackle has suddenly vanished with Malik Jackson out for the season, Tim Jernigan still out with a foot injury, and Hassan Ridgeway on IR.
With problems that need to be fixed on an aging team, the Eagles aren’t in a position to trade valuable picks for players that could leave with a legitimate risk of the team not accomplishing what they hoped for in that time.
However, if they are able to retain Anderson long-term, they would be getting a 26-year-old speedy deep threat for years to come. In that situation, it would make more sense to be willing to trade a potential third-round pick.
Given the stance of the front office, the Eagles likely wouldn’t back down from any trade if they felt it could help their team, but they have shown an unwillingness to go beyond the threshold of what they think is too much in a trade (ex) Jalen Ramsey and Emmanuel Sanders).
At the end of the day, there is more to consider for Anderson than simply him just helping the team, but if all in the situation fits what the Eagles need, then acquiring Anderson would be beneficial.