On Saturday, the Eagles released defensive end Antwan Barnes (whom they traded for before the season) in order to sign wide receiver Chad Hall from the practice squad.
Barnes hadn't been active for the past two games, but it's believed the move was made so late in the week because Andy Reid would like to re-sign Barnes and put Hall back on the practice squad.
It sounds great in theory, but Reid and the Eagles are playing with fire.
There's still a possibility that a team could snag Barnes off the waiver wire (to which he's subject because he has less than four seasons accrued), and that would obviously end their plan in absolute failure. It would also mean they gave up a seventh-round pick for absolutely nothing.
If no one puts in a claim on Barnes, the Birds will have to cut Hall in order to sign him again. Hall would then be subject to the waiver wire and, if he shows anything against the 49ers, might not make it through waivers.
Again, that would mean failure for Reid's ultimate plan.
But let's say everything works and Barnes is back on the active roster and Hall is signed and stowed away on the practice squad. Now the problem is that all the other teams have gameday film on Hall. It only takes one team seeing one thing they like to sign him off the practice squad and the Eagles' little project receiver is gone for good.
So, either way, it's looking like one of these guys has a real chance of getting snagged out from underneath the Birds' collective nose.
If I'm the Washington Redskins, for instance, I would snag Barnes off the wire in a heartbeat. He played outside linebacker in the Baltimore Ravens' 3-4 scheme, so he could immediately help them there, and it could be their way of stiffing the Eagles.
Mike Shanahan is a veteran coach who knows all the tricks, and I'm betting he's at least mulling the idea around.
What the Eagles should have done is found a veteran on the roster who would be willing to sit this game out and sign on Monday morning. That way, they don't have to worry about a team snagging him off the waiver wire and only have to worry about said player going back on his word, Trevor Pryce style.
The unavoidable flaw in all of this is that Hall could get snagged up either way, but it would seem to make more sense to put themselves in a position to lose only Hall, rather than run the risk of losing Barnes as well.
I'm not sure what is going on in Reid's head this season, but he needs to get it straightened out before he digs this team into a hole from which it cannot escape.