Are the Patriots ideal trade partners for the Eagles?

Rich Schultz

Training camp is just a few weeks away and sooner or later certain members of the Eagles 90-man roster will start to drop like flies or be replaced. The team's front office has to evaluate the talent, scheme fits and match-ups on the roster before moving forward to the preseason games, and it is likely that 4-5 players could be let go beforehand. Like with any assets, Howie Roseman needs to find out if he can get value out of the bottom of his offseason roster. Whether it is a veteran player who just doesn't fit or a youngster that fills a need for another team with injuries, the Eagles may be able to get some return on their investment (ROI).

The Patriots seem like one of the teams that would most likely benefit from making a deal with the Eagles. With questionable depth at defensive end, wide receiver, tight end and cornerback, New England could definitely welcome the losers of some of the Eagles depth battles. Chip Kelly and Bill Belichick have a relationship, so a deal likely could be made between the two with ease. Also, keep in mind that the Eagles and Patriot play in both of the team's first preseason game of the year and will scrimmage against each other prior to the contest. These two oppurtunities will help New England evaluate the Eagles talent and allow Philadelphia to sell the bottom of their roster.

Here is a look at possible options a Patriots and Eagles trade:

WR: Among the some-what log-jammed battles in Philadelphia is wide receiver. Veterans like Jason Avant, Arrelious Benn and Riley Cooper along with young talent like Russell Shepard, Greg Salas and B.J. Cunningham are competing for 2-3 spots. The wide receiver version of a "sausage fest" could use a bit of air, so at least 3 of the players will be exiled. Shepard, a special teams ace and wide receiver in the making, is likely to make the practice squad, but what if the team could get a future 7th round pick for him? Belichick puts a big emphasis on all aspects of the game, so a player like Shepard over even Cooper or Benn, could prompt New England to make a deal. Avant is a hard-working receiver with great hands and blocking ability. All of those attributes are admired by Belichick. With a roster featuring Michael Jenkins, Donald Jones and Danny Amendola, the Patriots could sure use a reliable veteran with great hands like Avant, who may be a casualty of the new coaching regime.

TE: Kelly has put a premium on tight end since becoming the team's head coach, but that there are roster limits and other holes to fill. With James Casey and Zach Ertz locked onto the roster and Brent Celek likely safe as the Eagles starter, guys like Clay Harbor, Derek Carrier and the versatile Emil Igwenagu could be ousted. The Patriots are going through injuries and other issues at the tight end position and may need to add some reinforcements. Harbor seems like the most Patriot-worthy tight end on the roster. He can block, he makes some pretty impressive catches and he can play the H-Back role departed by Aaron Hernandez. The Eagles could try to unload him to New England for a late-round pick.

DE: Bill Belichick loves his veteran defensive players. Trent Cole has a seemingly untradeable contract (tons of dead money), but with plenty of cap room, the Eagles could make the move without issue. The Eagles could also move forward from Brandon Graham or Vinny Curry, who the team may not see as a fit in the 4-3 Under. The Patriots run a hybrid defense as well but show plenty of 4-3 looks that would justify a move for either of the young players. Third-year player, Phillip Hunt, could be of interest to the Patriots as well. He seemingly doesn't fit with Billy Davis, so a move would make sense for all involved parties.

CB: While cornerback isn't necessarily a strength for the Eagles, they do have about 6 or 7 NFL-caliber players at the position. Curtis Marsh, Trevard Lindley and Brandon Hughes have shown flashes, but only one of the three is likely to make the final roster. Marsh, a former college running back, has played mostly special teams but with a 3rd round pedigree seems the most likely to stay. The Patriots may be interested in Hughes, who played well in primetime against the Giants last season and has been one of the Eagles better special teams players over the last few years. While Hughes may not be a deal-worthy player for a pick, the Eagles may be able to workout a player-for-player trade.

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