At 4-4 with the NFL trade deadline at 4 p.m. today, there are all kinds of ways to improve their chances of making it to the postseason.
Sunday’s 31-13 demolition of the Buffalo Bills likely solidified the Philadelphia Eagles’ thinking that this 2019 season, still very much on the brink, is salvageable.
At 4-4 with the NFL trade deadline at 4 p.m. today, there are all kinds of ways to improve their chances of making it to the postseason in addition to the odd move they made on Monday to acquire a seventh defensive end, Genard Avery, from the Cleveland Browns for an undisclosed 2021 draft pick.
Coach Doug Pederson even hinted that they could still use some help at defensive tackle after multiple injuries led them to add three players — Bruce Hector, Anthony Rush and Albert Huggins — to the rotation before the Bills game that weren’t on the active roster the week before.
“You can point to D-tackle because of the amount injuries that we’ve had there,” Pederson said. “You can look at that. But honestly, it’s a little tricky, because if there’s a move to be made, the person’s got to be the right fit, it’s got to be the right timing. Got to be able to come in here and help us win and just add to our culture and add to the roster.”
Pederson also made it clear that he’s not necessarily pounding the table for upgrades at defensive tackle or any of the other positions in which their depth has been challenged this year, like wide receiver, cornerback and linebacker.
“Where we are as a team right now, the way our guys have kind of hung together and battled through a lot of adversity the first eight weeks of the season — we’ve battled injury,,” Pederson said. “We’ve battled a lot of talk and things off the field ... this team is starting to jell and come together.
“And so if we can add a piece, I think it’s great. If we don’t add a piece, I think it’s great because of the guys in the locker room. And I think that’s a credit to those men.”
That said, the coach can’t be pleased with the production of his wide receivers since DeSean Jackson went out of the picture indefinitely with an abdominal injury in Week 2 and never was placed on the injured reserve list.
Jackson, according to Pederson, is expected back at practice this week on a limited basis, but the chances of seeing him actually contributing in a game before they play the New England Patriots Nov. 17 are not very good.
Alshon Jeffery (30 catches, 317 yards, three TDs) has been OK. Nelson Agholor (29 catches, 261 yards) has struggled, particularly with the deep ball, and Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside have been non-factors.
This spot is where the Eagles are most in need of an upgrade.
Here are the top players regarded to be trade candidates:
Robby Anderson, New York Jets: Though he’s thought to be a one-trick pony by some, that trick is something the Eagles desperately need: a deep threat. The former Temple star is also young (26) and has no major injuries in his history. He averages 14.7 yards per reception for his career. That’s more than Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery, the only two receivers Carson Wentz will even look at outside of Jackson.
Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers: Another speedy receiver who’s fallen out of favor with the team that drafted him, Pettis averaged 17.3 yards per catch as a rookie last year. He’s an afterthought in this year’s 49ers’ offense, however. So maybe something can be worked out.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Bucs: This could be a tricky proposition because the Bucs just turned the whole thing over to first-year coach Bruce Arians, who turned his offense over to quarterback Jameis Winston, who is turning the ball over at a record rate with a league-high 12 interceptions through seven games. Do they stay committed to this madness, or do they do the sensible thing and blow it up while coming away with some extra draft picks?
Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins: He’s young and more talented than anyone the Eagles have. He also had a league-high seven interceptions last season. But a knee injury has limited him to four games this year, and the last thing this team needs is another injured cornerback.
Chris Harris, Denver Broncos: Although he’s a proven, durable performer, he’s getting a little long in the tooth at age 30. Still, he would be a welcomed upgrade if the Broncos decide they want to blow things up under first-year coach Vic Fangio, who has won just two of his first eight games.
Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals: In his nine seasons, Peterson has never missed a game due to injury. He did, however, have to sit out the first six games of X for a positive performance-enhancing substance test. But hey, tackle Lane Johnson has missed 14 games for the same thing and he’s one of the Eagles’ most valued performers.
Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals: He’s had an outstanding career, with 74 career sacks and seven Pro-Bowl selections. He’s also 31 years old. But he still seems to be a force, and he’s the kind of athlete who could really flourish in their Wide 9. The Bengals are winless X, so there’s incentive there. His contract is enormous, so there’s also a caveat.
Tyeler Davison, Atlanta Falcons: A run-stuffer, he’s having his best season after spending his first four years in New Orleans. But the Falcons may be motivated sellers at 1-7. Davison also is just 27. He’s playing out the final year of his rookie contract. A contract extension likely would have to be worked out for the Eagles to get him.
Javon Hargrave, Pittsburgh Steelers: How motivated will the Steelers be to get rid of a young and productive defensive tackle? That’s the big question here. Like Davison, he’s playing out the final year of his rookie contract.