3 Players Eagles Should Target to Get Back in the Playoff Race
With a bunch of young players on their roster and a first-year head coach on the sideline, the Philadelphia Eagles' slow start isn't a huge surprise. It's going to take time for things to develop before Nick Sirianni potentially leads the franchise back to championship contention.
However, the 2021 NFL season is still only four weeks old. And considering the Eagles play in the NFC East, it's not an impossible task for them to start rolling and get back into the race for the division title. They are tied with the New York Giants at 1-3, behind the Dallas Cowboys (3-1) and Washington Football Team (2-2).
Philadelphia is on a three-game losing streak, and the schedule doesn't get easier the next few weeks, as its upcoming three opponents are all 3-1: the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Las Vegas Raiders. But there are more winnable matchups down the stretch, and the Eagles will close the season with five of their final six games coming against NFC East opponents.
In order to stay in the division race, Philadelphia may want to consider bringing in a player or two to bolster its roster, if the cost is right for either a free-agent signing or trade.
Here are three players the Eagles may want to target in the near future.
Jaylon Smith, LB
On Tuesday night, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that linebacker Jaylon Smith was being released by the Dallas Cowboys.
Although it seemed a possibility that the 26-year-old might get traded, it came as a surprise that he was just let go, especially considering the team still owes him $7.2 million this season, according to Schefter.
There will surely be numerous teams interested in Smith, who is a former Pro Bowler and has fared well during his five-year NFL career, even if he only has 18 tackles in four games this season. It would be wise for the Eagles to be among the suitors and do what it takes to acquire him in the near future.
Philadelphia needs a defensive boost after its past two opponents (Dallas and Kansas City) combined for 83 points and 851 total yards. The linebackers have particularly struggled in those matchups, as that group isn't helping to put much pressure on opposing quarterbacks and has also missed too many tackles.
Smith could help correct those issues, especially if he returns to the level he played at before this season. Maybe a fresh start with another NFC East team will lead to that.
Allen Robinson II, WR
DeVonta Smith is impressing in his rookie season, but the Eagles' receiver corps behind him hasn't been quite as strong.
Jalen Reagor (116 yards) has flashed potential but still hasn't broken out, while most of Quez Watkins' production (219 yards) has come from a 91-yard catch in Week 2.
If Philadelphia wants to take the offense to another level, it should add a legitimate top receiver to play alongside Smith and not put as much pressure on others, such as Reagor and Watkins, to produce.
Allen Robinson II could be the perfect fit, depending on what the Chicago Bears would be looking to get back in a trade.
When at the top of his game, the 28-year-old can be among the best receivers in the league. But this year, the Bears haven't gone his way nearly as much, and he has 13 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown in four games. He's had three or fewer receptions each of the past three weeks.
But Robinson had 2,397 receiving yards over the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and he could get back to that level of production if Jalen Hurts was throwing him the ball. The Eagles should consider making this trade with the Bears, as long as they don't want too much draft capital in return.
Clelin Ferrell, DE
Through four games, Philadelphia's defense has eight total sacks. And five of those have come from defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. No other player on the team has more than one.
The rest of the Eagles' pass rush has greatly underperformed, though, so they may want to add another low-risk, high-reward player to the mix to give the unit a boost.
Clelin Ferrell could be a great edge-rusher to take a chance on, especially because it's possible the Las Vegas Raiders may not seek much in return.
The 24-year-old, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, continues to look out of sorts in his third NFL season. He had only 6.5 sacks over his first two seasons, and this year, he has two tackles and no sacks in three games.
However, it's possible a fresh start could get the former Clemson standout going. If the Eagles could send a mid- or late-round draft pick to the Raiders in return, he could be the missing piece the pass rush is missing.