Eagles' Top Trade Candidates Ahead of 2021 Training Camp

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2021

Eagles' Top Trade Candidates Ahead of 2021 Training Camp

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    One trade defined the direction of the Philadelphia Eagles in the offseason. The official move from Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts signifies the end of an era in Philly and the dawning of a new one with Jalen Hurts and new head coach Nick Sirianni at the helm. 

    After a disappointing 2020 campaign, the Eagles are looking to rebuild and reload. Most of the excitement for the 2021 season should come in the development of some of the team's younger assets. 

    How Hurts develops chemistry with DeVonta Smith, how Jaelen Reagor bounces back from a rough rookie season and what the new coaching staff can do to get the defense on track are going to be fun aspects of the season to watch. 

    The Eagles' rebuilding state also makes them candidates to still make some moves before the season gets underway. With nearly three months until the start of the regular season, there's still a trade or two general manager Howie Roseman could put together to either free up some future cap flexibility, deal from a position of depth or just cut ties with someone who isn't going to fit this team's window.

    Here's a look at three candidates who would most likely fit that bill heading into camp. 

TE Zach Ertz

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    This one is fairly obvious. Zach Ertz is due to be the third-largest cap hit on the roster this year, hasn't shown up to Eagles summer workouts to this point and is on the final year of his contract

    Ertz will turn 31 years old this season, and while he's been an integral part of the offense for eight years, his 2020 campaign made it clear it might be best for both parties to part ways. 

    Both Ertz and fellow tight end Dallas Goedert played in 11 games, but the younger Goedert was much more productive, hauling in 46 passes for 524 yards and three touchdowns. 

    The only thing holding this trade back, for now, appears to be the market. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on June 9 that we should "expect this done in the summer" and that "Ertz badly wants out". He also noted that two teams who have shown interest made moves that would seem to take them out of the bidding. 

    The Los Angeles Chargers ended up signing Jared Cook, while the Colts signed tackle Eric Fisher which ate into the cap space needed to make a move. 

    Still, a team like the Buffalo Bills may be willing to part with the pick necessary to get Ertz out of Philly and at least give the Eagles a pick to be excited about. 

Edge Brandon Graham

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    It's a harsh reality that players spending their entire career with one team is a dying art. So while dealing Brandon Graham heading into his 12th season in Philadelphia wouldn't be very popular, it might be smart. 

    Graham is coming off an eight-sack campaign at 32 years old, bumping his two-year total to 16.5. But the natural laws of aging would tell us it's going to become increasingly difficult for him to hit those numbers again. 

    Then there's the matter of money. If Graham is retained into next season, his cap hit is scheduled to be $9.4 million next season. It isn't prohibitive, but it is costly when the team has younger options who could provide better production moving forward. 

    Derek Barnett is entering the final year of his rookie contract after the club picked up his fifth-year option and let it become guaranteed. If he performs well, he could be given a second contract. Josh Sweat is also in the final season of his four-year rookie pact. 

    Throw in the addition of Ryan Kerrigan and the Eagles' pass-rushing depth chart is starting to get a bit crowded. Graham is an asset, but at this point he might be worth flipping for a pick if a team is desperate to add pass-rushers. 

OT Andre Dillard

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    Brad Penner/Associated Press

    A team generally doesn't want to give up on a first-round pick just two years after their selection, but in the case of Andre Dillard, it would make some sense. 

    Philadelphia used the 22nd pick in the 2019 draft on Dillard. He played 337 snaps as a rookie, giving up four sacks and posting a below-average 59.7 grade from Pro Football Focus. He suffered a torn bicep in 2020 that cost him his sophomore campaign, and that's where things now get complicated. 

    Former rugby league player Jordan Mailata stepped in at left tackle and showcased the potential to supplant Dillard. He had a steep learning curve, surrendering seven sacks on 733 snaps. However, his 70.3 grade from PFF hints at a player who could become more reliable in pass protection. 

    Hypothetically, Dillard should still hold value for teams. He plays a premium position and has strong draft pedigree as a former first-rounder. 

    They would be hard-pressed to get their first-rounder back for Dillard, but if both players look strong in the preseason and another team loses their starting left tackle, he could quickly become a hot commodity on the trade market. 

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