While Howie Roseman insisted the Eagles wouldn’t be sellers after shipping off Zach Ertz to Arizona, we all know that’s as far from the case as could be. Philadelphia should be looking to the future, especially since they could have three very high first-round picks come April.
But who could be on the trade block? There are a number of veterans who could interest contenders, and while there contracts may be a bit of a roadblock to potential deals, the Eagles should be working their hardest to get around them and continue their draft stockpiling.
Derek Barnett is the obvious trade candidate – and it’s a little surprising he’s still here this year. Rumors were swirling all spring that the defensive lineman would be moving to a new team, but the Eagles held on. From a depth viewpoint, it was a good one as Brandon Graham went down for the year in Week Two.
From an performance standpoint… Yuck. Barnett still can’t learn to discipline himself, and his stats are insanely mediocre: in five games, Barnett has zero sacks and seven tackles. He’s only had two QB hits in a game once. And of course, his injury proneness continues to rear its ugly head.
Add all that up, and you’re looking at a very mediocre return. Still, Barnett isn’t going to be back next year (he remained very vague when asked about his future) so perhaps it’s just best to recoup value while you can.
What teams would be interested? Well, the Eagles could be smart to look to the west. Two contenders in the Chiefs and Chargers could end up competition for additional help on the defensive line:
Hearing the Kansas City Chiefs are currently exploring options to add along the defensive line@JFowlerESPN mentioned recently the Chargers were as well, perhaps an arms race for two AFC West teams
Chiefs team run defense & pass rush grades both currently dead last per PFF
— Brad Spielberger (@PFF_Brad) October 18, 2021
Fletcher Cox is frustrating. He has just one sack in six games. However, some will argue that his advanced defensive stats show that Cox is playing up to his Pro-Bowl standards. Whatever the case, the Eagles should be looking to trade him.
Yes, that may be hard for fans to hear, but Cox, 31 in December, probably won’t have the late-career stretch as, say, Aaron Donald will. The smart move would be to move on now before the decline hits. The problem is his contract: Cox is owed $16.1 million in 2022.
If teams are looking for an established presence to dominate up front, then Cox would be appeasing. Of course, the money could prevent the Eagles from getting anything of significance unless they ate the some of the remaining contract.
Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox
NFL.com’s Kevin Patra went over potential buyers and sellers, and speculated that the Eagles could move one of their cornerbacks:
“With the desperate corner need around the league, would Roseman sit on Avonte Maddox, who is playing very well — and for peanuts — if another team comes calling? What if someone inquired about Darius Slay and offered a bundle of picks if Philly ate some of the contract to make a trade work?”
Preferably, the Eagles would work out an extension with Maddox, who’s set to be a free agent at the end of the season. The team has struggled to draft long-term cornerbacks for so long, so it would be ironic to let one of the very few they did hit on leave. Of course, Maddox would draw a decent return.
A Slay trade makes much more sense. He’s been pretty terrific this season, registering a 75.3 PFF grade. He’s also allowed an 80.2 passer rating — which is way down from his rating of 111.9 last season — and a 8.6 yards/completion, the lowest mark of his career.
The contract would be the big stick-up in any potential deal, but make no mistake – Slay is far from an overpaid veteran, and the Eagles might be wise to trade him now since it doesn’t seem like this rebuild is ending anytime soon.
Kelce has talked about retirement often during the past offseasons, and he’s set to be a free agent in 2022. He’s also in the midst of one of his best seasons to date. If the Eagles wanted to, they could easily get a second for just a half-season of Kelce.
However, I don’t think they’d entertain offers, even if it seems like the logical thing to do. Keeping Kelce as an Eagle for life seems fitting. If they weren’t able to do it for Ertz, then they should do it for another one of their all-time greats.