Dear Eagles: Do *not* trade backup offensive lineman Andre Dillard to the Dallas Cowboys. No matter the return in draft capital.
Don’t do it.
The Cowboys lost left tackle Tyron Smith for multiple months, ESPN reported, because of a torn left hamstring, he suffered at practice Wednesday. The NFL Network reported the injury is far more serious — an avulsion fracture of the knee that will keep Smith out for the entire season.
Smith is an eight-time Pro Bowler. He is the protector of quarterback Dak Prescott’s blindside.
Bless their heart, the Cowboys are in trouble on the offensive line. Dallas already has a new right tackle in Terence Steele, who is replacing La’el Collins, who was cut in the offseason. A DallasCowboys.com writer suggested bringing in retired Jason Peters, who started 15 games for the Bears last season after playing 11 seasons for the Eagles.
EAGLES: LOOKING GOOD ON THE LINE
Sitting pretty on the offensive line are your Eagles —with the best group of starters in the league plus excellent depth.
Part of the 2022 Eagles roster depth includes Dillard.
The 2019 first-round pick has started only nine games and has been the subject of trade talk.
But this offseason produced a startling transformation in Dillard — physically and mentally. He rebuilt his body. He worked out with a drive he had never shown. His teammates talk about his newly found dedication to his craft.
But Dillard has a dilemma. He’s no longer at the top of the Eagles depth chart. He’s a backup. He lost out on the starting left tackle job to Jordan Mailata, who doesn’t look like he will give up that position.
Dillard can be a valuable backup for the Eagles, ready and capable of filling in along the line for an inevitable injury.
NEW AND IMPROVED DILLARD
In training camp, Dillard missed practice time with a concussion. He returned feisty and got into dust-ups with teammates Derek Barnett and Patrick Johnson.
Dillard played 40 percent of the snaps in the first preseason game against the Jets and 62 percent of the snaps against the Browns.
Dillard played well in those games, looking starter-worthy. He looked better than anybody Dallas can run out there.
- Dillard’s impact on the 2022 Eagle salary cap
Is Dillard worth a first-round pick? A first and fourth — or some such combination?
Easy answer: Yes he is, as long as the trade isn’t to a division rival. And especially not to *this* division rival — the Cowboys.
DON’T HELP YOUR RIVAL
You don’t trade to help your biggest obstacle to the NFC East title. Dallas is the defending division champion and is the favorite to repeat. The Eagles are expected to seriously challenge the Cowboys.
So, why help Dallas? What if getting a quality left tackle — a remarkably important position — turns out to be the difference between winning the division and a wild card berth for the Cowboys?
The Eagles think they’re good enough to win the East. If you want a deep playoff run, winning the division is a necessary first step. Win the East, get that home playoff game and go from there.
Don’t help your biggest rival at one of their weak spots. No matter the draft-pick cost. The Eagles will survive with one fewer draft pick. Let the Cowboys flounder.
Here’s an easy way to evaluate this potential trade: Would the Cowboys help the Eagles with an important trade?
Of course not.
Sit this one out, Eagles.
ALLEN STILL ON THE RUN
Eagles wide receiver Devon Allen has survived the first two roster cuts. The biggest cut comes Tuesday when NFL teams go from 80 players to 53.
The Olympian’s job might be in jeopardy, even after his electrifying, 55-yard touchdown pass against the Browns. The way Allen exploded past a startled Cleveland cornerback, you thought all that was missing was the starter’s gun.
“I think it’s hard to do what Devon’s done,” coach Nick Sirianni said. “He hasn’t played football in a while and he’s getting into it.
“He’s getting into the groove. There’s no denying, OK, he hasn’t played football in five years, but the whole time we thought he was really fast, and he is.”
GANNON, SIRIANNI CONNECTION
Sirianni worked with defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon in Indianapolis and brought him to Philadelphia.
Sirianni was the offensive coordinator in Indy from 2018-20, the same years Gannon was the defensive backs coach with the Colts. Gannon was the Vikings’ assistant defensive backs coach from 2014-17.
After one year with the Eagles as defensive coordinator, Gannon was taking interviews for head-coaching jobs in the offseason.
Sirianni said he saw in Gannon a potential defensive coordinator when they were with the Colts.
“Right when I got to Indy [I saw that],” Sirianni said. “Again, I’ve always been big on connecting with the players, I’ve been big on connecting with the coaches.
“Coach Gannon and I hit it off when we were in Indy together. Again, it didn’t take long. My passion with a wide receiver and then him being a DB coach, I’ve always had that connection with the DB coach.
“And just talking through things, talking through technique things, fundamentals things, and that leads into scheme things.”