The NFL trade deadline is a little over a week away (November 2) and the rumor mill is heating up accordingly. The latest buzz on the Philadelphia Eagles is that they’re receiving calls about Andre Dillard. This much from NFL insider Ian Rapoport:
Eagles offensive tackle Andre Dillard: He was drafted to be the left tackle of the future, but it hasn’t quite worked out like that. Instead, that title has gone to seventh-round find Jordan Mailata. Dillard hasn’t been in the starting lineup, and recently, he has been taking reps at guard in practice. So, teams have been calling with trade interest. He did impress while playing left tackle against the Panthers, and that improved his stock. The Eagles won’t give him away, and there are scenarios where he’s a part of their future, anyway. But teams believe a quality second-day pick would be enough to pry Dillard away.
Reports indicated the Eagles previously received calls about Dillard back in August. But his stock has seemingly improved since then. After having a pretty bad camp training camp, Dillard fared much better than expected while making fill-in starts at left tackle. So much so that the Eagles moved Jordan Mailata to right tackle when Lane Johnson missed time due to a personal matter in order to keep Dillard on the field.
The idea that Dillard is a total lost cause (as I admittedly suggested) is wrong. But one would be remiss not to mention he saw some unusually favorable matchups when forced into action. His best game graded by Pro Football Focus came in Week 3 when he was matched up against a 240-pound linebacker playing defensive end in Micah Parsons. Dillard avoided taking on Frank Clark in Week 4 and instead faced a moribund KC pass rush. As Rapoport noted, Dillard did have a legitimately good outing against the Panthers in Week 5. But then he struggled against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6, allowing five pressures on 38 pass block snaps.
And so it might be premature to suggest Dillard can still be a quality long-term starter for the Eagles. Especially when Mailata recently signed a contract extension to be the team’s franchise left tackle. And it’s not like Lane Johnson appears to be going anywhere considering he’s signed through 2025. Philly can’t realistically move on from Johnson until 2023 at the very earliest (2024 is more likely) and they might not want to at that point anyway.
Dillard, meanwhile, is currently set to become a free agent after 2022. The Eagles have the ability to exercise his fifth-year option for 2023 but they likely wouldn’t fully guarantee a high salary for a backup.
The nature of Rapoport’s report seems intended to entice teams to make their best bids for Dillard. The Eagles themselves don’t seem to be totally sold on him being a future piece for them. The best course of action very well could be to sell high on their 2019 first-round pick. It’s really not the end of the world if he succeeds elsewhere. For all their personnel faults, the organization has mostly done a good job of identifying offensive talent and Jeff Stoutland typically makes the most of what he has to work with. Howie Roseman should avoid letting pride get in the way and jump at a Day 2 pick for Dillard ahead of the trade deadline.
Should the Eagles trade Andre Dillard?
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