The 2019 Eagles have drawn a number of comparisons to their baseball counterpart, the Phillies, this season. Both got off to slow starts, both suffered similar issues with faulty roster construction, and both dealt with a ton of injuries. So yeah, let’s throw one more log onto that still-burning fire!
Both fanbases experienced dissatisfaction with the general manager’s performance at their respective trade deadlines.
Eagles fans are not happy that the Eagles’ only move on Tuesday occurred about 12 hours before, when they dealt a 2021 fourth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for edge rusher Genard Avery. With needs at so many positions — wide receiver, defensive tackle and cornerback chief among them — it seems inconceivable that Roseman stood pat at the deadline, especially when the Birds had been linked to so many of the big names out there.
But perhaps there is something telling about this year’s trade deadline that should impact your thoughts about what the Eagles did or, more accurately, didn’t do.
No one else did anything either.
Despite lots of hype and lots of big names being bandied about in the hours leading up to 4 p.m. ET, only one of those big names went somewhere, New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams to the New York Giants, in exchange for a third and fifth round pick in 2021. That’s an awfully steep price for a guy on an expiring contract, and if the Giants to sign him to an extension, that fifth rounder becomes a fourth.
Paying through the nose seemed to be the mantra at the deadline this year. Let’s consider the rumor mill. Would you have felt comfortable if Roseman dealt a second round pick to the Jets for Robby Anderson, or a first rounder for Darius Slay? Would a second round pick for Broncos cornerback Chris Harris made you feel good? How about a first for Patrick Peterson?
You could argue they should have swapped a 6th or 7th rounder to the Patriots for Michael Bennett, but adding Avery for a fourth in 2021 is better for the team’s future, no? Jalen Ramsey sure would have been awesome, but at the cost of two first rounders and a fourth rounder? How about a second round pick for the 30-year-old Mohammad Sanu, or a third and fourth rounder for Emmanuel Sanders and a five?
These kinds of prices never seemed conducive to deals getting done. Selling GMs decided they’d rather get a compensatory draft pick and let a free agent walk than take what they felt was less-than market value for their players now. You can argue they acted stupidly and, in many cases, you’d be right, but it’s what they decided. It’s not as simple as saying, “Howie Roseman should have done something. He didn’t so he sucks.” If the sellers want you to rip your lungs out in order to get a deal consummated, maybe it’s better that the buyer doesn’t go ahead and do that.
So the Eagles will instead rely on injured players to return to the field. DeSean Jackson might play this week, although it’s fair to wonder how effective he’ll be playing with his abdomen injury the rest of the season. Timmy Jernigan, Cre’von LeBlanc, Avonte Maddox, and Nigel Bradham could all be back soon, as well. Andre Dillard is playing effectively in Jason Peters’ absence, but when Peters comes back, that will be a big add too, as will Darren Sproles in the return game.
If there is anything to criticize Roseman for it is for allowing the team to be in the position to need upgrades at some of these positions in the first place. Certainly injuries are hard to predict, and losing Malik and DeSean Jackson for most of the first half was hard to overcome. The secondary has been a MASH unit, too. But relying on DeSean as your only speed guy, and coming into the season with a seeming lack of playmakers at edge rusher were known items of concern. You could also argue Roseman should have beaten the Seahawks’ offer of two players and a third round pick to the Texans for Jadeveon Clowney earlier in the season as well.
Roseman probably assumed he’d be able to make a deadline deal like he did for Golden Tate last year. But it’s also important to remember that the Tate deal did not work out, and there’s no sense adding a player for the sake of adding a player. It had to be the right player at a price in which Roseman wasn’t getting his eyes gouged out.
So yeah, it stinks the Eagles didn’t make any moves. That wide receiver corps looks scary-bad without Jackson. The defensive tackle situation is ominous. The secondary remains a huge question mark.
You can blame the general manager for creating the conditions in which the Eagles found themselves yesterday, and sure, you can call them losers at the trade deadline. They certainly didn’t win.
But on a day in which virtually no one did anything, you could also call the entire league losers, too. It takes two parties to make a deal happen, and yesterday, Roseman had no dance partner.