The Philadelphia Eagles are looking for help at running back and wide receiver looking to fix an offense that is 25th in points per game and 20th in yards per game. The Eagles need an outside threat opposite Alshon Jeffery at wide receiver while also needing a starting running back as Jay Ajayi his lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman is setting himself up for a move, as he restructured Fletcher Cox’s contract to clear up cap space. The Eagles created $6.5 million more of cap space this season and $11.7 million more next season.
The Eagles have $4,028,263 in cap space prior to the Cox restructure, per the NFL Players Association. They would have an estimated $10.5 million in available cap space with the restructure for 2018 and are projected to be just over $7.8 million in cap space for the 2019 offseason thus far.
Here are the best options for the Eagles at running back and wide receiver via trade:
LARRY FITZGERALD (WR)
Fitzgerald has 1,251 catches (third all-time) for 15,721 yards (third all-time) and 110 touchdowns (eighth all-time) in 14 seasons. Fitzgerald wants to spend his entire career with the Arizona Cardinals, but the Eagles present him a chance at winning the Super Bowl (which he hasn’t accomplished). The Cardinals are also 1-4 with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. They may be the worst team in the NFL.
Fitzgerald has 17 catches for 176 yards through five games and is nursing a hamstring injury. The Eagles should at least make a call (maybe this time they can get him).
LE’VEON BELL (RB)
The Eagles have been “mulling over” a trade to get Bell to Philadelphia for a while, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has said the Eagles aren’t pursuing Bell.
Bell is at least considering the possibility of Philadelphia. The Eagles will need to give up a second-round draft pick to land a running back that is arguably the best running back in the National Football League and makes any team better, just look at the 1,946 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns Bell put up in 15 games last season (at the age of 25).
Over his five NFL seasons, Bell has 5,336 rushing yards and 2,660 receiving yards, averaging 5.2 yards per touch.
Given the state of the running back position on the Eagles and the team’s struggles to protect Carson Wentz, adding Bell to the Eagles backfield would not only be a perfect fit for the Eagles scheme but Doug Pederson would be acquiring one of the best pass blocking running backs in the NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly just wanted a third-round pick for Bell at first (which would be the 2020 draft compensation if Bell were to leave in free agency). With three weeks until the deadline, Pittsburgh asking for a higher draft pick and a player makes sense unless no team makes a move.
The Steelers want at least a second-round pick and a player for Bell, a high trade demand for a running back set to hit the free agent market and get the richest contract for his position in NFL history. That’s a price the Eagles should pay to get Bell.
Philadelphia has two second-round picks in the 2019 draft, which means they can afford to part ways with one of them to land Bell.
GOLDEN TATE (WR)
Since signing with the Detroit Lions away from the Seattle Seahawks after he won the Super Bowl, Tate has been one of the bigger values in football. He’s hauled in 20 touchdown passes with the team, while going for over 1,000 yards in every single season with Detroit but one. He’s making $6.2 million a season, but is generally accepted as the hardest wideout in the game to tackle who can make an offense go all by himself with speed, shiftiness and yards after contact.
With a new contract on the horizon, deciding whether or not to pay Tate around $10 million a year could be the biggest question mark.
Tate has 33 catches for 431 yards and three touchdowns this season as the No. 3 wide receiver behind Kenny Golliday and Marvin Jones Jr. He’ll get more targets in Philadelphia.
LESEAN MCCOY (RB)
NFL Insider John Clayton told SportsRadio 94 WIP the Eagles would likely have to give the Bills a fifth-round pick to land McCoy. If the Bills wanted more than a fifth, they would have to give the Eagles a draft pick back for McCoy (Clayton mentioned the Eagles would get a fifth-round pick back for McCoy and a fourth round pick).
Per Josh Reed of WIVB in Buffalo, the Eagles are talking to the Bills about a possible McCoy return, which can be accomplished with the draft compensation not being high. The Eagles have a fourth-round pick for 2019 and are projected to have two fifth-round picks for 2019 (their own and a compensatory).
McCoy showed signs he still can produce in the NFL with 24 carries for 85 yards in Sunday’s win over the Tennessee Titans, but his days could be numbered in Buffalo as the Bills appear to be rebuilding. With McCoy’s slow start and two more years owed on his contract, the Eagles could bring him back without giving up much draft compensation (a lower-round pick in next year’s draft).
McCoy is owed $4.28 million for the remainder of this season and $9.05 million in 2019, which is the final year of his contract. The Eagles could even release McCoy and save $2.625 million after the season or restructure his deal. If the Eagles can’t land Johnson or Bell (which the Eagles are reportedly out of trying to acquire), a reunion with McCoy is possible.
Essentially, McCoy would only cost the Eagles $4.28 million in cap space.
McCoy has not looked like the running back he was the first nine seasons of his career, having 45 carries for 170 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and 10 catches for 64 yards with the Buffalo Bills. Of course, the Bills have one of the worst quarterback situations in the NFL as teams are stacking the box to pressure Josh Allen and contain McCoy.
The Eagles offensive line has struggled in pass protection, but they are still one of the best in the league in run block. McCoy is also a very good back in pass protection and creates space as a receiver out of the backfield. With the Eagles current running back situation, McCoy would be an upgrade.
DEVANTE PARKER (WR)
Parker was inactive for four games for the Miami Dolphins and has seemed to fall out of favor with head coach Adam Gase. He has just two catches for 40 yards on the year. The Eagles could get him at minimal value and have a history of trading with the Dolphins (see Jay Ajayi).
Parker has 141 catches for 1,928 yards and eight touchdown in three NFL seasons (average 13.7 yards per catch). He was a big play threat with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, averaging 19.0 yards per catch his rookie year and 13.3 yards per catch in year two.
Parker could become that player again with Carson Wentz.
DAVID JOHNSON (RB)
Unlike Bell, who will be a free agent in 2019, Johnson already has signed a contract extension with the Cardinals…which makes a potential deal even more interesting. The terms of the deal call for Johnson to be paid $38.1 million over the three years with the possibility of reaching $45 million in total.
Johnson is guaranteed $30 million, and the contract makes him one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL. He has two competitors in that arena.
When Johnson was healthy in 2016, he measured up to Gurley, Bell and just about any other running back in football. He led the NFL in touches (373), all-purpose yards (2,118) and combined receiving and rushing touchdowns (20) in that season, just his second in the NFL. He suffered a broken wrist on opening day last season that kept him out for the entire season, but the Cardinals saw enough in his explosive sophomore campaign to lock him up early.
Johnson is struggling this season behind an anemic Cardinals offensive line, having 74 carries for 242 yards (3.3 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. he also has 15 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. The 27-year old Johnson is averaging 4.1 yards per touch this season.
Because Johnson is signed, the Eagles may have to give the Cardinals more for his services (his extension hasn’t kicked in yet), but the franchise could buy low because he is getting paid $38.1 million over the next three years and hasn’t performed like an elite running back in 2018.
JORDAN HOWARD (RB)
NFL Insider John Clayton was on SportsRadio 94 WIP Tuesday afternoon, listing Howard as a “sleeper” in the Eagles pursuit of a running back. Clayton also mentioned Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise as a cheap option as well.
Howard is in his third year in the NFL, rushing 592 times for 2,638 yards and 16 touchdowns in 35 games (4.5 yards per carry). He has rushed for 1,000 yards in 2016 and 2017, his first two seasons in the NFL. This season, Howard has 64 carries for 203 yards and a touchdown…but is averaging 3.2 yards per carry.
Howard has 12 100-yard games in his career and has had 20-plus carries 11 times (including once this season). The Bears have used the 6-0, 224-pound Howard has a bell cow in their offense as a No. 1 running back, but have diminished his carries for Cohen (who they drafted in the fifth round in 2017).
Just 24-years old, Howard is still on his rookie deal…making just $395,755 for the rest of 2018 and $782,006 in 2019. Howard will be eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, but the Eagles would likely look to sign him to an extension after the team frees up significant cap space in 2020 (Eagles are projected to be $53.8 million under the cap in 2020).
TORREY SMITH (WR)
Smith isn’t shining with the Panthers, having seven catches for 467 yards and a touchdown and is falling on the depth chart to D.J. Moore. The Eagles are familiar with Smith and vice versa, as he started as the “Z” receiver on the Super Bowl team.
Smith signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Eagles on the first day of free agency in 2017, as Philadelphia wanted to add veteran receivers to help Carson Wentz. Smith still possessed the speed that made him one of the top deep threat receivers in the NFL, but finished with 36 catches for 430 yards and two touchdowns, with a career-low 11.9 yards per catch. He had 13 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs.
Wouldn’t hurt for the Eagles to call the Panthers and see what they want for Smith.
TEVIN COLEMAN (RB)
The Falcons made Devonta Freeman the richest running back in the NFL last offseason when they signed him to a five-year pact worth $41.25 million. Coleman, meanwhile, is going into the final year of his rookie deal, an arrangement that will pay him $791,268 this season.
Atlanta’s third-round pick in 2015, Coleman likely sees himself as starter material and, as such, could wonder if he should pursue a bigger contract and a potential No. 1 position with another organization.
In the 2017 season, the Falcons used Coleman on 424 of their offensive snaps, or 41 percent of the total. His involvement increased when starter Devonta Freeman was lost for two games following a concussion in a Nov. 12 win over the Dallas Cowboys. That use marks an increase from the 2016 campaign, when the eventual NFC champions employed Coleman on 353 of their offensive plays, or 34 percent of the total.
Freeman and Coleman both scored eight total touchdowns in 2017, with Freeman rushing for 865 yards and receiving for 317 more, and Coleman adding 628 yards on the ground and 299 more as a pass catcher. Sarkisian called on Coleman more often that he was by Kyle Shanahan, last season rushing 38 more times, resulting in 108 more yards.
Coleman has 422 carries for 1,765 yards and 15 touchdowns in four NFL seasons, along with 72 catches for 833 yards and seven touchdowns, mostly as the Falcons No. 2 running back. He has 61 carries for 225 yards and a touchdown (3,7 yards per carry) this year along with 12 carries for 99 yards.
With the Falcons at 1-4 and unable to re-sign Coleman, they could look to part ways with him.
AMEER ABDULLAH (RB)
Abdullah was a second round pick of the Lions in 2015 and was brought in to be Detroit’s unquestioned starter at running back. Instead, it’s been a frustrating career for the former Nebraska Cornhusker, as he as struggled with injuries during the early part of his career in addition to fumbles.
That led Abdullah to be replaced this offseason by Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount in Detroit, and Johnson in particular looks like Detroit’s future at running back.
So far, Abdullah has been inactive for every Lions game thus far, so he is probably expendable for them. In his career, Abdullah has put up 1,250 rushing yards, six touchdowns and 402 yards through the air with three scores.
The Eagles have depth at running back but lack in pass protection, which is where Abdullah comes in. Abdullah can fill in as an extra pass protector and provide extra depth behind Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, and Josh Adams.
The Eagles wouldn’t have to give up much to get Abdullah.