Eagles overreactions: Birds should trade Miles Sanders, more before deadline

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Eagles overreactions: It's time to trade these 3 players originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles didn't get absolutely wrecked by the Buccaneers on Thursday night, but the game never felt close. 

Tom Brady picked Jonathan Gannon's defense apart, Jalen Hurts didn't look like an NFL quarterback, and Nick Sirianni's team generally disappointed in most places.

The Birds are 2-4 heading into a mini-bye week before they travel to Las Vegas. Are you feeling any particularly hot takes after the fourth loss of the season? We are.

Let's overreact to the L:

1. It's time to trade Miles Sanders - and more

If this is how Nick Sirianni is going to use Miles Sanders, there's no use waiting until the end of his rookie contract to move on from the Penn State product.

Trade him now, while his last few weeks can look like an aberration instead of waiting for the rest of the season to play out as one large stain on ledger.

Sanders is a fine running back with a solid reputation around the league, and there are teams like the 49ers and maybe the Ravens in the market for running backs while they try to make playoff runs.

Sanders ran nine times for 56 yards on Thursday night, saved by two big runs in the fourth, and has just 57 carries for 270 yards through six games this season.

I'm already of the opinion that Sanders should not be brought back after his rookie contract is up, so if you can move on now, with Kenny Gainwell looking like a solid contributor and this season clearly not postseason-bound, you should. Keep stacking draft capital. This team has so many holes that need to be plugged, ideally with young talent, and one middling running back isn't going to fix everything.

While Howie Roseman is working the phones, he should also be fielding calls for Zach Ertz - who is reportedly drawing interest from multiple teams with the deadline approaching - after Ertz put up a serviceable four-catch, 29-yard, one-touchdown performance on Thursday night. He's not his prime self, but he's still a very useful tight end who can produce. Turn that into draft picks.

And I'd also listen to calls for Derek Barnett, whose contract expires after this season and has not been what the Eagles had hoped when they selected him with a first-round pick. Josh Sweat is an exciting young edge rusher, and the 2022 NFL Draft is flush with defensive talent at the top. Go get the next great pass rusher instead of waiting for Barnett to figure it out.

The trade deadline is 19 days away. If the Eagles' front office is serious about getting better soon, it's fire sale time.

2. Jalen Hurts keeps showing us he doesn't belong here

I don't want to keep crushing Jalen Hurts, but he's just making it way too easy to criticize him and his play.

The guy doesn't look like an NFL quarterback.

Across six weeks, Hurts isn't cleaning up any of the mistakes that have plagued him this season. He's still missing open chances in the intermediate throws. He's still underthrowing guys downfield. He's taking too long to get the ball out of his hand, waiting for plays to reveal themselves instead of seeing what's coming ahead of time. And he's making bad real-time game decisions, like sliding and losing a yard to avoid a hit instead of throwing the ball away.

I know it's still early in his career, but he's just not showing the kind of progression, or even flashing the kind of talent, you want to see from a guy you think could be the franchise QB.

Far be it from me to laud Troy Aikman, but here's the Hall of Fame assessing Hurts' play in the fourth quarter:

That is bad!

Hurts finished Thursday night's game 12-for-26 for 115 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. It was rough.

I don't trust him to make the right play, and I suspect Nick Sirianni feels the same way considering the screen pass volume through these first six weeks and the overall simplified offense the Birds are running.

(Sirianni's playcalling isn't helping Hurts, but two things can be true at the same time.)

Hurts seems ready-made for a career backup role, and if it's in Philadelphia I won't be too upset, but he's not a starter. I hope the front office is busy watching college tape.

3. Quez Watkins is much better than Jalen Reagor

Jalen Reagor was taken in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Two days later, Quez Watkins was taken in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

As of Thursday night, after Reagor caught zero passes for zero yards on three targets, Watkins seems to be a clearly better and more valuable player, which is simultaneously exciting and disappointing. 

It's exciting because Watkins' emergence as a legitimate Top 3 NFL wideout is a fantastic result for a sixth-round pick. He's a speed demon with good hands, a useful player at multiple levels of the offense. That's awesome.

It's disappointing because of what Reagor has given the Eagles through 22 career games, particularly considering where he was selected and the wide receivers who were still available when he was drafted. What a letdown.

Watkins regularly gets more separation than Reagor, is overall more consistent in what he brings to every play, has shown better hands on catchable balls this year - basically everything you want from your wide receivers, Watkins has done better than Reagor.

In the first half of Thursday night's loss, Jalen Hurts threw a pass that was deflected by a defender on its way to Watkins, and the second-year wideout had to adjust to make a spectacular leaping grab:

Just a brilliant play.

On the very next drive, Reagor let this catchable ball get away from him:

Here's a look at the production from the two wideouts through six games:

Reagor: 17 catches, 140 yards, 1 TD

Watkins: 16 catches, 311 yards, 0 TDs

It's such a strange situation, and one you wish the Eagles could've capitalized on by taking a better wide receiver with the first-round pick than Reagor. Maybe he can keep developing and find more consistency, but right now when I think about the exciting offensive weapons the Eagles have for the future I don't think about Reagor.

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