NFL trade rumors: Eagles eyeing Jets, Texans linebackers ahead of trade deadline

Adam Hermann
·3 min read

Eagles eyeing two LBs ahead of trade deadline: report originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

We're six days away from the NFL trade deadline, and the Eagles have been called buyers, sellers, buyers again, sellers again - you get the idea. 

At 2-4-1 but leading the abysmal NFC East, it's hard to get a grasp on where the Eagles' front office sees its team in the league-wide landscape.

The latest buzz? The Birds are going to be buying at the deadline and they're looking to upgrade the linebacker position, with a couple of players in mind.

That comes from CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, who appeared on the Pick Six Pod on Tuesday and had this to say about Howie Roseman's approach to the trade deadline:

"The Eagles are buying. The guys they want to trade, Alshon Jeffery - they've been trying to get rid of Alshon Jeffery's contract for a calendar year. They're stuck with him. Would they like to dump a couple salaries? Sure. Do they think anybody's going to give them anything for those guys? No. 

"But they want linebackers, man. If they got an Avery Williamson from the Jets, or they got a Zach Cunningham? Something like that? They feel like the offensive line will be healthy after the bye. They're okay with the receivers, they like some of the young, developmental guys, and they've got enough money sunk in with old guys. They expect Goedert back after the bye. They feel good there. I think their concerns are on the other side of the ball, and yeah, linebackers for sure."

Very interesting, if not at all surprising. The Eagles' linebacker corps is the weakest position group on the team, a direct result of the organization not valuing the position and refusing to invest significant resources in the position - or, when it invested resources, doing so questionably.

Nate Gerry has had an ugly year. Duke Riley is an up-and-down, replacement-level player. T.J. Edwards is coming back from injury. 

Adding a guy like Williamson, a tackle machine stuck wallowing in New York, or Cunningham, who ranks first in tackle assists this year according to Pro Football Focus, would certainly feel like an upgrade.

But would either be a smart move? It obviously depends on what Roseman would send back in a trade. 

I don't see a Cunningham trade as a wise investment. He carries a cap hit of at least $11 million over each of the next four seasons, and while he can be cut after 2021 with just $7.2 million in dead cap, that's a lot of money to spend on a linebacker - on top of surrendering capital in the trade.

Williamson is more palatable, money-wise - his cap hit this season is just $4.75 million in the final year of his deal - but if you don't bring him back, trading anything of value for what could be a rental player in a year where the Eagles clearly aren't real contenders would be a worrisome move.

Adding linebacker help would be great, but the Eagles need to fix so many holes that adding duct tape to one position doesn't make this team some sort of threat for a deep playoff run. Roseman should sit both of these guys out. 

Will he? That's another conversation.