Eagles expected to be ‘aggressive’ buyers at trade deadline | Why that’s wrong move

Howie Roseman’s affinity for wheeling-and-dealing could cost the Eagles valuable draft assets at the NFL trade deadline.

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Eagles are “aggressively” approaching the trade deadline as buyers and not sellers.

“Howie is on the prowl already,” one rival general manager said per La Canfora. “He’s looking for action. If there is a trade to be made he’ll do it. Bringing in a free agent from the outside is tougher now and more risky with COVID, and he loves to make trades anyway. I’ll bet you anything he gets something done before the deadline.”

Sign up for Eagles Extra: Get exclusive news, behind-the-scenes observations and the ability to text directly with reporters

The Eagles have taken that approach in each of the last three seasons, acquiring running back Jay Ajayi (2017), wide receiver Golden Tate (2018) and defensive end Genard Avery (2019) ahead of the deal deadline. Of those three deals, only the 2017 trade for Ajayi significantly paid off.

That said, Ajayi’s immediate impact was made more apparent because of the team and the environment around him. In 2017, the Eagles were running away with the NFC East, quarterback Carson Wentz was an MVP candidate and the defense was producing pressure and turnovers at a high rate. Ajayi eventually served as a key ingredient in the Eagles’ first Super Bowl run.

However, the Tate and Avery deals proved to be nowhere near as helpful over the past two years. Yes, Tate made the game-winning touchdown catch the infamous “double doink” wild-card round playoff win over the Chicago Bears, but he lasted just half a season in Philadelphia and signed with the Giants in the free agency. The Eagles received a fourth-round compensatory pick for Tate’s departure, but they did trade a third-round pick for him.

The Eagles traded a 2021 fourth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for Avery last season. While he has become a rotational pass rusher this season, his first 13 games in Philadelphia have produced just 10 tackles and two sacks.

The Eagles wanting to repeat history with a lowly squad makes little sense. Sure, they are in the thick of an embarrassing NFC East division race. And yes, they clearly haven’t given up, as they’ve brought back DeSean Jackson, Vinny Curry and Alshon Jeffery into the fold in practice over the past few weeks.

But, Wentz leads the league in interceptions, four of the five offensive line starters are out with injury and the defense has been giving up tons of yards and points. The Eagles are 1-3-1 entering their Week 6 matchup against the Ravens on Sunday.

The Eagles could easily win the NFC East with Dak Prescott sidelined for Dallas, and Washington not having a definitive answer at quarterback. But, what happens if Philadelphia makes the playoffs? They’ll probably be one and done based on what they’ve shown thus far this season.

The Eagles have shown a rapid decline in talent over the past three years. Next offseason, it’s only going to get worse, as the Eagles are expected to be between $50-70 million over the salary cap. If anything, the Eagles should be sellers at the deadline, so they can get a head start on dropping that cap debt for next year.

Trading away assets like tight end Zach Ertz or defensive end Derek Barnett could save the team chunks of cash and bring in significant assets for the future. However, instead of adding developmental pieces for the future, it appears the Eagles will continue to plug holes with band-aids as the ship continues to take on the water of a needed rebuild.

The Eagles aren’t a great team. Right now, they aren’t even a good one. Spending future assets to salvage a season with a bunch of old veterans who won’t be here next season is a ridiculous use of assets. Unless the Eagles plan to trade for a young up-and-comer on a rookie contract (Writer’s note: Why is said player on the market? Yikes!), trading draft picks to bring in upgrades makes little sense at this point in the season.

Get Eagles text messages: Cut through the clutter of social media and text directly with beat writers Mike Kaye and Chris Franklin. Plus, exclusive news and analysis. Sign up now for a free trial.

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.

Mike Kaye may be reached at mkaye@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.