The 2019 NFL Draft is almost here and there’s plenty of reason to be excited. The Philadelphia Eagles currently own seven selections in this year’s draft so the team will have ample opportunity to add some talented young players to their roster.
But Howie Roseman could look to add even more picks to his arsenal by trading some veteran Eagles players. We all know Roseman is one of the most active executives in the league when it comes to trades so you can never rule one out with him in charge.
Here’s a look at some players the Eagles might ship out over the course of the next several days.
Not that anyone cares, but I swear I was already writing this article BEFORE the latest Agholor rumor popped up on Wednesday. I have proof!
As it currently stands, no NFL team has more 2019 cap space tied up in their three starting wide receivers than the Eagles do with Agholor, Alshon Jeffery, and DeSean Jackson. Agholor’s $9.4 million salary is obviously a big factor in that equation.
For perspective, Agholor’s current contract makes him the 26th highest paid player at his position in terms of annual value. That’s a lot of money for a player who hasn’t produced at the level of a top 26 receiver and projects to be the fourth or fifth most targeted option in the Eagles’ offense this year.
“But BLG, the Eagles have over $21.6 million in cap space. They don’t need to move on from Agholor to free up money for this year!”
True, it’s not like the Eagles CAN’T afford to overpay Agholor. But one must consider that cap space roles over. The money the Eagles save in an Agholor trade this year could go towards helping the team in 2020, especially with Carson Wentz’s mega contract looming on the horizon.
My guess is that the Eagles previously tried to sign Agholor to a long-term extension but he didn’t like the value that the team was offering. The Eagles might’ve been offering a rate that accounts for just how bad Agholor was during his first two seasons in the league. Agholor might feel like he deserves to be paid for how good he was in 2017. He could easily feel like his best bet is to make $9.4 million in 2019 before then testing the free agent market in March 2020.
The Eagles could always just hold on to Agholor since he provides value in the short-term for a team that’s trying to win now. Philadelphia would still potentially be able to receive a compensatory pick in the 2021 NFL Draft if he signs with another team after this season.
But if the Eagles feel like Agholor isn’t going to be around in the long-term anyway, they could be motivated to get immediate value for him before he eventually leaves. Maybe that value comes in the form of trading for a linebacker (Darron Lee of the New York Jets? Telvin Smith of the Jaguars?). Maybe that value comes in the form of a 2019 draft pick.
It seems like there’s a pretty decent chance Agholor gets dealt within the next several days. The Eagles could view him expendable given the wide receiver talent available in this year’s draft. They’ve clearly been doing their homework at that spot, especially when it comes to guys who can play in the slot.
Remember, Agholor was not selected by Howie Roseman. He was drafted when Chip Kelly was in charge of player personnel back in 2015. Save for Agholor, the rest of that draft class is already gone. Agholor might be the next and final player from that group on his way out.
Should the Eagles trade Nelson Agholor?
This poll is closed
I’m going to guess the Eagles have already tried to sign Big V to a team-friendly deal but he’s rebuffed their offers in the hopes of testing free agency next offseason. Why settle for a long-term role as a swing tackle when you can potentially get starting money?
Teams could be willing to overlook Vaitai’s struggles since the Eagles won a Super Bowl with him starting at left tackle. He also has plenty of playing experience with 20 starts in 42 games played (including playoffs).
There’s certainly a case for keeping Big V around considering Jason Peters is 37 years old and has been plagued by numerous injury issues in recent years. Not to mention that Lane Johnson is one failed drug test away from being suspended for 32 games.
But maybe the Eagles don’t need Vaitai around if they 1) find a potential Peters successor early in the draft and/or 2) feel really good about the development of Jordan Mailata. 2018 draft pick Matt Pryor also has tackle experience.
The Eagles shouldn’t be in a rush to trade Vaitai for just anything. They can always just wait and potentially receive a 2021 compensatory pick for him if he leaves in free agency next March.
A Vaitai trade would have to be a situation where a team is desperate for tackle help after missing out on some draft targets they hoped to get. In addition to getting an asset for Vaitai, the Eagles would also save $2.03 million in cap space.
Should the Eagles trade Big V?
This poll is closed
The Eagles have six cornerbacks who are arguably locks to make the roster in 2019: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Cre’Von LeBlanc, and Rasul Douglas. That’s not a crazy amount of corners to keep around, especially with Darby and Mills coming off significant 2018 injuries.
But what if the Eagles add a corner in the draft? Are they really keeping seven corners at that point?
Douglas might be the odd man out due to his lack of versatility (doesn’t play the slot) and the fact the coaching staff has been reluctant to play him when players ahead of him on the depth chart have struggled.
Personally, I wouldn’t advocate trading Douglas. He has his flaws but I thought he played relatively well down the stretch last season. It’s also unclear when exactly Mills and Darby will be ready to play in 2019 and they’re both set to be free agents after 2019 anyway (and so is LeBlanc). Douglas could easily be counted on to play this season.
Should the Eagles trade Rasul Douglas?
This poll is closed
Long’s status remains uncertain as he contemplates retirement. The latest update didn’t inspire much confidence that he’ll be back with the Eagles in 2019: “I’m pretty undecided, but from the looks of things they’re going to make it hard for me in my favorite city.”
Long has stressed that his choice to return (or not) will be a football decision. He specifically said he’s going to be watching how deep the Eagles’ defensive end room gets. It seems like he only wants to return if there’s going to be enough playing time for him to justify the grind of another NFL season.
But what if Long really wants to keep playing despite the fact the Eagles don’t have room for him? If that’s the case, maybe the Philly can find a landing spot for Long where he can be happy with his role. Maybe some team strikes out on getting edge rusher help through the draft and comes calling the Eagles about Long.
To be clear, I don’t want the Eagles to trade Long. I’d love for him to be back with the team in 2019. But maybe there’s a route where a trade works best for both sides. The Eagles trade Long for an asset (as opposed to getting nothing for him if he just retires) and save $5.3 million in cap space. Long gets to join a team where he’s happy with his projected playing time.
The Eagles wouldn’t be getting an amazing haul for a 34-year-old veteran but Long has been productive despite his age. There should be some kind of value to be had for a player who can rush the passer.
Should the Eagles trade Chris Long?
This poll is closed
I considered listing Shelton Gibson here since he’s another player who has been in the proverbial dog house in the past. He barely saw any playing time on offense despite the Eagles having a ton of injuries at wide receiver early last season. I mean, the corpse of Kamar Aiken was getting playing time over Gibson. He doesn’t have any real value so maybe he’s included in some deal as a throw in.
Maybe the Eagles could trade Wendell Smallwood or Josh Adams for some team’s “Just A Guy” linebacker? The battle for the fourth running back spot could be crowded, especially if the Eagles draft a player at that position.
Some might suggest Mills should be the odd man out at corner but I don’t see it. The coaching staff loves him. Also, he’s recovering from injury. Who’s going to trade for a recovering player as he enters the last year of his deal?
I’ve seen some “trade Zach Ertz, start Dallas Goedert!” propositions over the course of the offseason. That’s obviously not happening. Trading Ertz creates over $10.5 million in dead money compared to just $1.5 million in cap savings. Not to mention Ertz is really good and the Eagles claim they’re planning to utilize more 12 personnel this year.
So, what do you think: who should the Eagles trade, if anyone?