The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Eagles ultimately made no splashy moves.
With a number of key players close to returning from injury, the Eagles are now banking on that to try getting production where they’ve been missing it over the first half of the season.
While the Eagles weren’t completely silent ahead of the trade deadline — acquiring Browns DE Genard Avery for a 2021 fourth-round pick — they didn’t make the jump to trade for some of the more prominent names on the market. The Eagles were in contact with the Broncos regarding CB Chris Harris Jr and the Lions regarding CB Darius Slay, but the price was reportedly too high for their liking. Other players, such as Jets safety Jamal Adams and wide receiver Robby Anderson, were also available, but no deal came to fruition.
For a team sitting at 4-4, it was an interesting spot that the Eagles found themselves in. Following a triumphant 31-13 victory against the Buffalo Bills, the mood switched from what seemed to be an underachieving team to some optimism. However, the team’s shortcomings leading up to that win made it difficult to justify trading valuable assets to fill one of the many holes on the roster.
However, if you ask Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson, the team is right where it needs to be, and they have reinforcements on the way, even without a big trade being made.
The Eagles are hopeful CB Avonte Maddox will return this week to face the Chicago Bears, and CB Cre’Von LeBlanc is eligible to be activated off of IR following a foot injury suffered in the preseason, though he is still rehabbing. Meanwhile, WR DeSean Jackson is set to return to practice this week after being out since week two with an abdominal injury, and he too is hopeful that he can return to face the Bears, but as of now it’s looking more likely he isn’t back until after the bye week.
The Eagles were in the market for both a cornerback and a wide receiver, and though they struck out, both groups are set to improve. Maddox and LeBlanc emerged as two of the team’s best players in the secondary while Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills were out, and now, the two will soon be added to a group with Darby and Mills back as starters and coming off an impressive performance last week.
As for Jackson, the boost he will provide to the offense will be immense. In his lone game this season, Jackson had two 50+ yard touchdowns, which surely will help bring back the Eagles’ deep passing game, allowing QB Carson Wentz to be more aggressive in his decision making. It is worth noting, though, that Jackson will not be at full health when he does return, which has been believed to be the case for a few weeks now.
The Eagles also could have used pass rushing and linebacker help, and some reinforcements will come internally there, as well. Though they are both further away than Maddox, LeBlanc, and Jackson, DT Tim Jernigan and LB Nigel Bradham will return at some point. Retaining Jernigan was one of the team’s key offseason moves, and with Malik Jackson out for the season, getting Jernigan back will finally provide the Eagles with a formidable duo at DT with Fletcher Cox and Jernigan.
When Bradham returns, he too will join a linebacker group that could use the help. Kamu Grugier-Hill has played well, but the depth at the position hasn’t yet proved to be as productive as the team previously hoped. Bradham, one of the leaders on the defense, would at least help spell some of those woes.
All of this leads up to the thought in the front office that they didn’t need to overpay for trade when they believe they’ve had the pieces right there all along. The market proved to be far more robust than expected, as well.
The San Francisco 49ers dealt a third and fourth-round pick to the Broncos in exchange for WR Emmanuel Sanders and a fifth-round pick. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots dealt a second-round pick to the Falcons in exchange for WR Mohamed Sanu. Both traded proved to be far more expensive than the third-round pick the Eagles dealt last season to the Lions for WR Golden Tate. Due to that sudden rise in demand, teams like the Jets were suddenly requesting a second-round pick for WR Robby Anderson, who is set to be a free agent after this season, and the Bengals, who are in full tank-mode, wouldn’t even put WR AJ Green on the table.
Meanwhile, after the Los Angeles Rams dealt multiple top picks to the Jaguars for CB Jalen Ramsey, the market in the secondary escalated as well. The Lions were asking for more than a first-round pick in return for CB Darius Slay, and the Jets seemingly rose the price each time a team inquired about safety Jamal Adams. The Broncos were also asking for a second-round pick for CB Chris Harris Jr, who is set to be a free agent after this season.
A deal was there to be had for Howie Roseman and the front office, but they instead stuck to their script of not overpaying for a deal. Given the market, it isn’t too surprising the Eagles (and virtually every other team) came away empty-handed.
The Eagles could have used trade to provide a boost, but for better or for worse, they are confident that getting these players back will help bring the team to where they hope it can go: the playoffs, and ideally, another Super Bowl.