Howie Roseman 2.0 is known for having an aggressive mentality as head of player personnel. He single handily started the trade era in the NFL. Before Roseman began dealing away quarterbacks, leap frogging up draft boards, trading for young talent that have grown stale in other organizations for sometimes silly reasons, most teams were hesitant to move away any sort of draft picks in a trade.
Even when it gets quiet around the Nova Care Complex something could be brewing. Ever heard the saying “It’s quiet….too quiet”? The Eagles have the deepest roster in the NFL and according to NFL Insider Jason La Confora of CBS, Roseman could be looking to deal away some of that depth perhaps for future draft picks or depth at other areas of need (OL, DT, LB).
“I’d be shocked if the Eagles don’t make at least two more trades before they play a game that counts. This roster is shaping up to be deeper than a year ago and possibly better than a year ago and barring a rash of injuries at particular position groups, they could have more running backs, quarterbacks and defensive backs than they can carry. Howie Roseman will be working the phones, trust me. They may well have too many quality players to fully utilize and if Roseman can spin some of that quantity into truly elite quality for a particular player, he’ll explore every option to do so. And Foles is the biggest trade chip of all, who could yield a reward of future top drafts picks to replenish what they gave away to move up to get Wentz and keep the waters of young, cheap talent flowing here. There is a sense Sudfeld can play in the league and is developing quite well, which could provide ample cover in the event they did move Foles.”
Mentioning Roseman trying to acquire an elite player for quantity really wouldn’t make sense considering the Eagles are practically set at every position.
La Confora points to three positions (QB, RB, and DB) when discussing positions Roseman might be looking at using some talent to trade for picks.
Acquiring draft picks to keep cheap talent flowing through what is a cap-tight roster adds up.
Nick Foles is mentioned as the biggest asset in a trade for the Eagles but unless a Teddy Bridgewater-like incident occurs to a team’s starting quarterback, it doesn’t seem like any team is going to trade a 1st round pick or more for Foles.
Nate Sudfeld is used here as a reason Philadelphia should be comfortable dealing away Foles but perhaps a team wants Sudfeld as a developmental project that could eventually be their starter. If Sudfeld impresses throughout training camp and has a strong pre-season, maybe a team offers a 4th round pick.
The Eagles would be moving their potential backup of the future but as Roseman has done since becoming GM again, he will continue to invest in the QB position. Through free agency and/or the draft next year Roseman and Douglas could look to continue developing signal callers that can be high end backups or trade chips for the team.
Trading a running back would be interesting. Jay Ajayi is a free agent next year and if the Eagles aren’t set on offering an extension, they could move him to a team that would want to trade and extend the 25 year old running back. The Eagles would have to have a lot of confidence that Corey Clement could carry the workload as starting RB in year two, Darren Sproles staying healthy, and two of Matt Jones, Donnel Pumphrey, Josh Adams, or Wendell Smallwood contributing.
Ajayi may not be overly expensive next year however and the team needs him after losing LeGarrette Blount. The team I’m sure would like to give him a chance of having a season similar to his breakout 2016 season before moving on.
Trading any of the running backs competing for the fourth and likely final spot on the roster wouldn’t make sense considering a team could just wait for the Eagles to cut that player and bring them in as a free agent.
Moving a defensive back was also brought up. This is a position that has been pointed to all off-season as a potential spot for Roseman to move some depth.
The Eagles have a deep core of young corners that include Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, and Avonte Maddox. Darby is the most likely name of the five that would likely be part of a trade.
The former Florida State Seminole will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and it isn’t likely the Eagles pony up 10+ million dollars to keep him if the other young corners continue to impress.
Losing Darby without a trade would still get the Eagles a compensatory draft pick next year. However, if Roseman could get a higher pick, and/or create playing time for another corner(s) having a strong summer, he could be moved before the start of the season.
There isn’t an obvious trade that Howie Roseman is expected to make but La Confora is right. There are a number of possible trades that the Eagles could make before the season that would take advantage of their impressive depth, in order to collect more assets that help the Eagles stay contenders for years to come.
Who could the Eagles target from 49ers?
It appears the Eagles could be cooking up another trade. This time with the San Francisco 49ers.
49ers have talked to the Eagles about a trade. All I got on that.
— Vincent Frank (@VincentFrankNFL) March 16, 2019
What could Howie Roseman be looking for from San Francisco? The Eagles have already taken care of their DT, WR, and LB needs in free agency by trading for DeSean Jackson, signing Malik Jackson, and L.J. Fort.
They locked up their offensive line core keeping Jason Peters and extending both Jason Kelce and Issac Seumalo.
They even added to the log jam that is the CB position by bringing back Ronald Darby on a one-year deal.
Here are some players the 49ers could be willing to deal to the Eagles that makes sense for Philadelphia.
RB Matt Breida
With the signing of RB Tevin Coleman, the 49ers could be looking to shop one of their running backs.
Breida makes the most sense of anyone on the 49ers for the Eagles to have interest in. At just 24, Breida is young, and on an inexpensive contract which are two things Roseman loves to deal for.
After Jerick McKinnon went down last season, Breida carried the 49ers backfield finishing with 814 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.
He averaged 5.3 YPC and early on in the season, he was averaging over 7.0 YPC.
That fast start included a Week 2 showing against Detroit that resulted in 138 rushing yards on just 12 carries.
Breida is explosive in short areas, and has the receiving skills Doug Pederson’s offense loves to have in the backfield.
His receiving DVOA (@fboutsiders ) was 2nd in the league behind Kareem Hunt. 44.8% is outrageous.
— Gino Cammilleri (@Gino_LOE) March 16, 2019
The third year running back surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage and would be an all-around weapon the Eagles desperately need at RB.
RB Jerick McKinnon
If the 49ers decide to keep Breida as Coleman’s counter-part in the backfield, that could spell the end of Jerick McKinnon in San Francisco before it even got started.
The former Viking signed with the 49ers last offseason and was expected to be Kyle Shanahan’s new version of Coleman but he tore his ACL before the season started.
McKinnon still has three years left on his contract with a $5.7 million cap hit in 2019.
He is only 26 and like Breida, McKinnon can make defenses pay on the ground and through the air.
In 2017 after Dalvin Cook suffered a season-ending injury, McKinnon became an important piece to Minnesota’s offense finishing with 570 rushing yards and 421 receiving yards.
Between 2016 and 2017, McKinnon had 94 receptions. Much like in Shanahan’s offense, Pederson’s offense is better with that kind of RB.
DE Solomon Thomas
The former third overall pick in the 2017 draft hasn’t met that potential in his first two years with the 49ers.
Thomas has just four sacks in two seasons but he could be another young (24 years old), buy-low trade target Howie Roseman takes a chance on.
The 49ers would likely be more willing to deal Thomas after trading and extending DE Dee Ford. San Francisco also holds the second overall pick in a draft class that even Roseman labeled “historic” when it comes to pass rushers.
With Chris Long’s future up in the air, Thomas could be someone the Eagles bring in to compete with Josh Sweat and a rookie if Long doesn’t think more playing time is coming his way for the 2019 season.
If the Eagles do make a trade with the 49ers, San Francisco’s loaded backfield is likely where Philadelphia would like to grab a play-maker from. Expect a deal to involve a draft pick but don’t be surprised if someone like Jalen Mills is also involved.
The CB group is now six-deep after re-signing Darby. With four other young, promising corners to develop and Mills hitting free agency in 2020, it seems likely Philadelphia could look to get some value for him now.
The 49ers already have Richard Sherman and signed former Chargers CB Jason Verrett this offseason but Mills has the versatility to play outside, in the slot, or even at safety.
Mills or a late pick for McKinnon/Breida could make sense for both sides.
T.J. Yeldon fits in Philadelphia
It doesn’t appear the Eagles were in on big names at running back in free agency. Le’Veon Bell signed with the Jets. Tevin Coleman signed with the 49ers. Mark Ingram signed with the Ravens.
Seeing Ingram and Coleman’s deal both in the $5 million a year range has many scratching their heads about why the Eagles potentially didn’t pursue those two on inexpensive contracts.
While Philadelphia could have been in the hunt for both, a lack of interest would certainly concern fans that want to see the organization invest legitimate resources into the position. It is certainly something to keep a closer eye on.
Howie Roseman can be lackadaisical when it comes to RB including last year, failing to replace Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement. However, there is no need to panic just yet. The NFL Draft has talent across all seven rounds.
There are also some intriguing options still out there through trades and free agency that fit what the Eagles want to spend, and how they want to use their backs. Former Jacksonville Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon is perhaps the most interesting option. And he would be a great fit in Doug Pederson’s offense.
An even cheaper option than Coleman and Ingram
It was a bit surprising seeing Coleman and Ingram get less than expected. If the Eagles weren’t players for either, it could be as a result of their serious interest in the draft class, or their plans to spend even less at the position.
Yeldon could be a cheaper option.
If Coleman and Ingram both got $5 million, it seems evident that Yeldon, a less proven player than the other two, would get less.
The Eagles have not spent significant dollars for a running back since Chip Kelly signed DeMarco Murray in 2015. They have targeted younger, cheaper players.
At 25 years old, Yeldon fits that mold.
The perfect complementary RB
If Yeldon and Corey Clement were the compliments to a rookie the front office invests in, it would be hard to do much better.
The former Alabama prospect has the receiving skills this Eagles offense has valued since the days of Brian Westbrook.
Yeldon has 135 catches in the last three seasons, with a career-high 55 receptions for 487 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in 2018.
He can make some impressive plays with his hands.
The production is there but he isn’t built like other receiving-backs. At 6’2 218 pounds, Yeldon is a few inches taller, and only two pounds lighter than Jay Ajayi. The majority would agree that Ajayi’s label is that of a power runner.
That allows him to be an option in goal-line and short-yardage situations.
Chunk plays are abundant
Yeldon has the ability to turn a four-yard hole, or a three-yard check down into a 15-30 yard play. He is extremely explosive for his size and he isn’t easy to bring down when he is caught. At Alabama, Yeldon forced 54 tackles in his final collegiate season.
Having that kind of weapon with the five dangerous pass-catchers the Eagles already have could be deadly. Wendell Smallwood isn’t that weapon.
In 2018, Yeldon finished with eight receptions of 15+ yards. Four of which were above 20 yards. Tevin Coleman only had five receptions of 15+ yards.
Compared to Alvin Kamara, an elite pass-catching running back, Yeldon only had seven fewer receptions that went past 15 yards.
Moves the chains on third down
In short and long situations on third down, Yeldon was a focal point for the Jaguars.
Whether it was a passing play or a running play, he was effective in moving the chains.
Being capable of converting through the air and ground with just one running back helps make an offense less predictable.
The Eagles still have quality options if they want to add an RB before the draft. The Browns and Bears are actively shopping Duke Johnson and Jordan Howard. If the front office wants to keep their draft capital however, T.J. Yeldon could be their guy.
On today’s Locked on Eagles:
Analyzing the Eagles signing LB L.J. Fort
DeSean Jackson’s press conference was encouraging
The Giants continue their blueprint of not having a blueprint signing Golden Tate