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Philadelphia Eagles

Would the Dolphins trade the Eagles another RB?

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

It was just a year ago that an Eagles team dominating the NFL wanted to put the offense over the edge by dealing for a difference maker at the running back position. That difference maker turned into Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi who fell out of favor with Head Coach Adam Gase after tensions grew with Ajayi’s role shrinking as the year went on.

The Eagles swooped in giving the Dolphins a 4th round pick and Ajayi helped lead Philadelphia to their first ever Super Bowl championship, averaging 5.8 yards per carry with the Birds.

A year later the Eagles are searching for help in the backfield with the news that Ajayi is out for the season after tearing his ACL in Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Would the Dolphins consider making a second deal with the Eagles for a running back? Preferably another young, efficient runner in Kenyan Drake that hasn’t been used by Gase?

Drake was a big reason the Dolphins were OK letting Ajayi go to Philadelphia last year. The former Alabama running back averaged almost five yards a carry in the second half of the season.

However in 2018 Drake has not been used nearly as much as a year ago. Drake has just 14 carries in the last three weeks with just 53 yards on the ground.

Frank Gore meanwhile has 10+ carries in back to back weeks.

Drake is just 24 years old and doesn’t have a big cap hit like other potential trade targets for the Eagles in Le’Veon Bell or LeSean McCoy. He is a cheaper, younger option who also possesses the vision, speed, explosive play-making ability that Bell and McCoy have.

He also could help solve the offense’s issues against the blitz with strong pass protection.

 

The Eagles could also call about Frank Gore, a former legend in Philadelphia but the Eagles would more likely go for a younger, faster back that can make game changing plays that Corey Clement or Wendell Smallwood just can’t make on a consistent basis.

Clement will still be a big part of this backfield but the Eagles need to add someone like Drake to keep this offense dangerous in both the pass game and run game.

Carson Wentz has thrown a lot in his first three starts this year and while the passing game should be the focal point of the offense, the Eagles need to have a legitimate run game that was extremely important in the Super Bowl win last year (Blount, Ajayi, Clement combined for over 200 scrimmage yards in the Super Bowl).

If Miami was willing to deal, Drake could be a great option.

Louie, an Eagles, and NFL enthusiast all his life has finally found his home to share his thousands of takes on the Philadelphia Eagles with Locked on Eagles. Louie also works in Buffalo sports radio as a producer for WGR Sports Radio 550 the official home of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, in addition to working as the Sports Director for 91.3 FM WBNY Buffalo. He may be far from the nest, but Louie bleeds green just like the rest of Eagles Nation. Fly Eagles Fly.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Bell over Brown is an obvious choice for the Eagles

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost fishing season in the NFL as all 32 teams look to catch some nice pieces for their roster through free agency, the draft, and the trade market. While the biggest fish don’t always tend to swim in those waters, every year a few big names suddenly become available for a team looking to spend.

This year, it just so happens two of the best at their position are up for grabs, and they both are coming from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Star offensive weapons in RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown will both be in different jerseys next year for the first time in their careers. Bell is set to become a free agent, while Pittsburgh and Brown agreed a trade is in the best interest for both sides.

On paper, the Eagles could make sense for both. Adding weapons around Carson Wentz will always be a priority. However if Howie Roseman and the front office decide they want to go after one of these expensive play-makers, Bell makes much more sense for a number of reasons.

 

Bell doesn’t come with the baggage Brown does

Don’t let this fool you. Talent beats culture. It is why the Steelers were consistently atop the AFC despite a chaotic locker room. Coaches like Chip Kelly flamed out because they prioritized scheme and a robotic culture.

Despite that, Brown’s antics off the field are a real concern. He quit on his team with the season on the line. Pittsburgh needed a win and a Baltimore loss to make the postseason in Week 17 but Brown was MIA.

The temper tantrums on the sidelines, ghosting your team with the season on the line, that kind of behavior despite six straight seasons of 100+ receptions is eye opening.

Bell doesn’t have that stench to him. While Steelers fans will tell you Bell was selfish and uncommitted to football, it is unfair to say he has character concerns because he didn’t want to risk his long term health in a contract year. He wanted to be paid like the star he is and Pittsburgh wanted to pay the position not the player. Can’t blame either side.

 

Brown would require trade assets AND a big contract 

Some people love to scoff at the idea of paying any significant resource for a star RB like Bell. While it wouldn’t be smart to kill the salary cap for the do-it-all weapon, it is far more reasonable to pay Bell rather than pay Brown big money and give up the trade assets it would take to get him from Pittsburgh.

What sounds better to you? $14+ million a year for Bell or $14+ million a year for Brown and perhaps a 2nd round pick + Nelson Agholor?

Bell, Agholor, and the rookie taken with that 2nd round pick sounds a lot better than just Brown.

The report Bell wants $50 million in the first two years is scary. He turned down a 5 year $70 million deal with the Steelers but perhaps when the market develops Bell will have to temper his expectations.

 

Bell’s age and position is more attractive to the Eagles

Two other major elements in deciding between Bell and Brown would be age and position.

By the start of next season, Brown will be 31. Bell will be be 27. Bell has four years on Brown.

If Bell could maintain his productivity into his early 30’s, the Eagles could be set at RB for 5-6 years.

Being a running back also makes him a more attractive option. Doug Pederson’s offense is in desperate need of a talented RB.

Having a weapon like Bell in the backfield that can be your top runner, a top receiver, and efficient pass blocker puts this Eagles offense on a level only the Saints and Rams can match in the NFC.

It also makes the offense less predictable. Using a committee with featured grinders like Ryan Mathews, LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajay, and Josh Adams to go along with the clear pass catchers in Darren Sproles and Corey Clement can be a good way to keep your backs fresh, but it is clear what the offense plans to do on 3rd and 4 when Sproles is out there.

It is easier to predict what Pederson will do on 3rd and 2 when Blount was out there. Someone like Bell keeps the defense guessing in any situation.

While the Eagles could use more speed on offense, Brown would be a luxury. A luxury that could cost high draft picks, players, a high cap hit, and potential baggage.

Is that worth it for a team that already has at least four quality receiving options? Can’t imagine Brown would be happy not seeing 13+ targets a game.

 

Conclusion

History tells us the Eagles won’t go after either Bell or Brown. However with an aggressive front office that has shown a commitment in surrounding their franchise QB with weapons, it wouldn’t be suprising to see one of these two in midnight green. Especially with Roseman’s ability to perform magic on the salary cap.

If they decide to pursue one, it should be Le’Veon Bell.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Offseason Options: Wide Receiver

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles have plenty of weapons for Carson Wentz to throw to in 2019. The WR position, however, could use more speed to compliment the bigger weapons in Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Dallas Goedert.

If Golden Tate, Mike Wallace, and/or Jordan Matthews leave the Eagles this offseason, what options does Howie Roseman have in free agency and the draft when it comes to pass catchers?

Louie and Gino give some big name options in the draft and free agency, as well as some receivers that could fly under the radar in both offseason periods.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Offseason Options: Running Back

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It is time for the Eagles to add some serious talent in the backfield. What are their options if they want to add a big name free agent? What about a high draft pick?

If Howie Roseman sticks to his strategy of lower-priced free agents or draft picks, who could be a diamond in the rough?

Our “Offseason options’ series begins with RB on the Locked on Eagles podcast!

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