3 Players That Eagles Must Consider Trading at 2021 NFL Trade Deadline
Approaching the midseason mark, it's hard to remember when there was optimism surrounding the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles campaign.
With new head coach Nick Sirianni in place, Carson Wentz gone and DeVonta Smith added into the mix, fans had plenty of reasons to be hopeful. Now, the realities of a 2-5 start to the season have left that hope dimmed.
Unfortunately, that makes any potential role in the Nov. 2 trade deadline pretty clear in Philadelphia. The Eagles should be looking to unload any potential trade chips for future assets and the cap space that comes with clearing names from the books.
All hope is not lost. The future looks bright. The Eagles could have three first-round picks depending on how much more Wentz plays for the Colts this season and they could conceivably add some more picks based on the talent they have available to trade.
They've already got the ball rolling by dealing Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals. Here's a look at three trade assets they should be looking to ship off for young players or picks.
OT Andre Dillard
This time of year, there are plenty of teams who need help at tackle. There's a reason elite offensive tackles are compensated handsomely for their work. Put yourself in the shoes of a team that needs even average tackle play, and there aren't many options out there.
That puts the Eagles in a position that doesn't happen often: They have a young tackle who is expendable to them but good enough to be a desirable trade chip.
That's because of the rise of left tackle Jordan Mailata. While Dillard was a 2019 first-round pick who struggled to earn the starting job, Mailata emerged as a 2018 seventh-round pick good enough to warrant a four-year $64 million extension.
With All-Pro and franchise cornerstone Lane Johnson over on the right side, it leaves Dillard without a defined role. Dillard has played 264 snaps this season with Johnson out of the lineup and allowed one sack while earning a respectable 68.5 grade from Pro Football Focus.
Dillard is only 26 years old and could be an average to above-average option at left tackle if given the opportunity to compete for the job. That's no longer an option in Philadelphia, but there should be at least one team willing to part with a Day 2 pick to see if he can play that role for their team.
Edge Derek Barnett
Around this time of year, the pass-rusher market is about as scarce as the pass-protector market. With injuries putting a strain on some teams' pass-rushing rotations, there are plenty of franchises looking to beef up their defensive lines heading into the second half of the season.
That's been an area of strength for the Eagles. According to ESPN Analytics, the Eagles have the best pass-rush win rate in the league, a measure that accounts for how often a defensive lineman defeats their block within 2.5 seconds of the snap.
Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox are top 10 defensive tackles by the metric. Josh Sweat is a top 10 edge defender.
That means the Eagles could afford to part ways with Barnett and still have a top pass rushing unit. They are going to have to make a decision on their former first-round pick in the offseason anyway. The 25-year-old is set to hit free agency in 2022.
He has no sacks to this point in the season but is second on the team in total pressures with 12.
If the Eagles aren't willing to offer a big contract, they might be better off shipping him to a contender than waiting around for the compensatory draft pick they may receive in two years.
RB Miles Sanders
This one is just a matter of unused resources. There's little point in having a running back of Miles Sanders' caliber if he isn't going to be involved in the offense.
To this point, Sanders has been an afterthought in Sirianni's offense. He's averaging nine carries per game despite being a top 10 running back in broken tackles. His 4.8 yards per carry is good for 11th among all running backs.
Sanders has flashed the potential to be a dynamic back and is a good between-the-tackles runner. Yet, he's not getting the opportunity in the offense.
There are several teams that could use an upgrade at running back. The Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers all spring to mind. All would likely get more use out of Sanders and be willing to send something in return to add him to their offense.
As an added bonus, Sanders still has one more season on his rookie contract so the team would have him for cheap again in 2022.
That could be important as Sanders recently suffered an ankle injury that is expected to be "week-to-week." Knowing that he could be an important weapon for an offense for the next season-and-a-half makes him an intriguing trade prospect.
All stats and snap counts via Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.