Eagles Trade Deadline Needs
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - With the trade deadline looming later this month, available cap space after restructuring Fletcher Cox's contract, plenty of 2019 draft capital, and the window still open to be a significant Super Bowl contender, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman is surely burning up the phone lines to make sure the resigning champions at least get an invitation to the postseason dance come January.
In a click-bait world where plenty of big names like Le'Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, Patrick Peterson, Amari Cooper and Jordan Howard are reportedly "available," it would be disappointing to most Eagles fans if Roseman didn't do something but the sexy names don't necessarily mesh with the Eagles' biggest needs nor their plan for long-term roster building, which includes a big-money extension for the face of the franchise Carson Wentz.
So just what does Philadelphia really need?
Here's the order of importance:
SPEED RECEIVER: Things haven't gone to plan at the X receiver slot for the Eagles where Mike Wallace was supposed to be an upgrade over Torrey Smith and never even got an opportunity to play with Carson Wentz due to a fractured fibula suffered in Week 2 against Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the next player in line, Mack Hollins, was already on injured reserve with a groin problem.
That leaves a host of really good intermediate receivers -- Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor and even rookie Dallas Goedert -- with less room to work with because opposing defenses are not concerned with anyone popping the top on a consistent basis.
Shelton Gibson is the one in-house option who has the speed to do it but it's evident the coaching staff doesn't trust him.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE OPPOSITE FLETCHER COX: Tim Jernigan's offseason back surgery has affected the Eagles' depth on the defensive interior. The aging Haloti Nagata has missed consecutive games with a calf injury and Destiny Vaeao hasn't produced much in expanded snaps.
The fact that Philadelphia recently promoted Treyvon Hester from the practice squad and attempted to bring in T.Y. McGill off waivers before he failed a physical is evidence the organization understands they need an upgrade.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE: The Eagles avoided the worst-case scenario involving Jason Peters but the injuries keep piling up for the 36-year-old and backup Halapoulivaati Vaitai doesn't inspire much confidence although by definition proved good enough to win a Super Bowl.
The problem here is that there are probably not 32 competent left tackles in the NFL so anyone who has one isn't giving him up.
RUNNING BACK: This is the position that has received the most publicity after Jay Ajayi's ACL injury because everyone knows the names of those available starting with Bell, a true difference-maker still holding out in Pittsburgh.
The problem is that Bell would cost a significant price as a rental and if you want to re-sign him it could blow up your salary-cap plan. To a lesser degree that holds true with McCoy as well.
Howard is more of a Roseman-type move because he is on his rookie deal and still cost-effective but why would Chicago, which is turning into a surprise playoff contender, want to deal him? The assumption that the undersized Tarik Cohen could be an every-down back is flawed.
The last domino that pushes this position farther down the list is that Corey Clement is turning into a pretty good, well-rounded player and finally seems healthy again.
SECONDARY: Over the next two weeks or so the Eagles will have to cobble together some things on the back end due to injuries to Rodney McLeod, Sidney Jones, and Corey Graham. In McLeod's case, it's likely a season-ending MCL problem but you are talking about hamstrings with Jones and Graham, not season-ending injuried so each should be back and Philadelphia would again possess more options than most teams in this league.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen