The Philadelphia Eagles' 2012 season is currently between a rock and a hard place. On paper, their team resembles a more than adequate Super Bowl contender, but their play and 3-4 record says otherwise.
This leaves the team in neither a buy or sell predicament. To get something, you need to give, and the Eagles do not have much wiggle room when it comes to dealing star power. Sure, they have talent, but when you are built to win now, you do not give it away.
The following acquisitions and departures are not only achievable, but also realistic in terms of what the Eagles can afford to part ways with.
Ronde Barber's career was on the cliff. He was too slow to keep up with the younger speed receivers of the league. His lack of quickness constantly left him out of position, and his tackling ability suffered because of it it.
However, Barber's move to free safety in May could have extended the 37-year-old's career by a couple more years.
Barber has been stuffing the stat sheet since, including three interceptions, one pick-six, one forced fumble and 39 tackles.
Now while these numbers aren't that different from Eagles' current free safety Kurt Coleman, Barber provides the skill and experience to contribute more than just numbers but an identity to the defense. Since the loss of Brian Dawkins, the Eagles have had holes in their secondary and their leadership.
Ronde does not have much time left in the league, and that's not a secret. Because of that, his price tag should be lower than the surprising amount of value the Eagles should be able to squeeze out him.
Richard Seymour's trade from the New England Patriots came at a somewhat surprise, especially to him. But after leaving an annual Super Bowl contender for quite the opposite, Seymour has embraced his role.
However, two years later and the Oakland Raiders are still the Raiders. The Pro Bowl defensive tackle is in the midst of a 13-tackle, two-sack season.
In other words, he's primed to be had for cheap.
To be honest, I'm not sure what Seymour's cost would be. I don't know if he could be had at all. But you have to figure that an aging, struggling player on a losing team has a cost.
The Eagles aren't exactly stretched at DT, but I don't see that as a problem. Just like Ronde Barber, Seymour could provide a veteran influence on a team so desperately in need of one.
He's a captain, he's a Super Bowl winner and he should be an Eagle.
The funny thing about Leonard Pope is that he may not even be available in a trade. That's because the Pittsburgh Steelers may cut him.
The other funny thing about Pope is that he's 6' 8".
The Steelers have a core TE group that have seen rookies step up with their veterans. With Weslye Saunders returning from suspension, a TE cut is on the horizon (via Neal Coolong of Behind the Steel Curtain). The Steelers have a player who, if they are considering cutting, has little to no value. What's the risk in taking a waiver with a seventh rounder?
I know what the potential gain is. One of the Eagles' Achilles heels is red-zone offense, and a 6' 8" target could be nothing but reward.
Update: Check the box score for this weeks' PIttsburgh vs, Washington game. Leonard Pope had one reception for one yard and one touchdown.
Please, don't close the page. Just hear me out.
Like the reasoning for Leonard Pope, the Eagles' short-yardage and goal-line offense is abysmal to watch. You may not like Tim Tebow and you may not think he can play quarterback, but in short-yardage situations, he just gets it.
I once watched Andy Reid in an interview say that while he wished Michael Vick the best, that wasn't the direction the team wanted to head. This is a business, and something tells me Tebow has a cost.
Would it be worth it to pick up the circus that is Tim Tebow just for short-yardage situations? You convince me otherwise. When I look at Tebow, I see a guy who is the hardest worker on the field and could add infinite amount of value to this team over Trent Edwards.
What is the state of Brian Waters? I have seen that he is a holdout. I have seen that he has family issues. I have seen that the Patriots gave his number away. I even have seen that he signed.
But I haven't seen him on the field.
The offensive guard was a five-time Pro Bowler for the Kansas City Chiefs and made the Pro Bowl in his one season with the Pats. Starting every game in front of Tom Brady, he would be a much-needed band-aid for the Eagles.
Whatever the reason he isn't playing, he's currently dead weight for the Pats. If the Eagles did some investigating, they might come out on the plus side with the offensive line help they so desperately need.
What are the Eagles doing with Darryl Tapp? More importantly, what are the Eagles doing with Vinny Curry? After spending a second-round pick on Curry, his name sometimes doesn't even show up in the box score.
I'm not sure if he's getting outplayed in practice or if there's another underlying reason, but why do the Eagles have a second-rounder sitting in a third-string position? The same could be said for Brandon Graham sitting behind Phillip Hunt on the other side of the line.
While Hunt is out with an injury, Graham had the opportunity to be the primary backup and has stepped up in the role. He led defensive ends in tackles against the Falcons with four.
We have young players who are ready to play. We have invested in these players, their costs are already sunk. Why are we letting them rot with split time?
In July, Dion Lewis was arrested for falsely reporting a fire. The Eagles should be charged for falsely reporting him as a backup.
After signing Lewis to a four-year, $2.2 million contract, the Eagles stashed Lewis where nobody can see him. Chris Polk and Bryce Brown have joined the team, and they seemingly have jumped Lewis on the depth chart.
Although he only had 23 carries in 2011, he did a fine job averaging 4.4 yards per carry. He looked like a diamond in the rough after the Eagles took him in the fifth round.
Now, that diamond may be more like a piece of asphalt.
Lewis has value. I'm not sure what that value is, but any return has to be better than a fourth-string running back at this point.
Like the rest of the moves listed, we wouldn't change the entire makeup of the team. But $2.2 million to a guy who can't see the field is something that needs to be changed.