FIERRO: Philadelphia Eagles face many hard decisions as NFL trade deadline looms

(Allentown) Morning Call (TNS)
  • The NFL trade deadline looms at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles face many hard decisions about numerous possible deals.
  • Howie Roseman, the Eagles' executive vice president of football operations, is the man on the spot.

Just when you think the Philadelphia Eagles need help in so many areas, a game like Sunday’s in London unfolds in which it appears to the naked eye that they already have everything they need to get back into contention for the NFC East title.

Howie Roseman, the executive vice president of football operations for the Philadelphia Eagles, faces many difficult decisions as the NFL trade deadline looms at 4 p.m. Tuesday. AP FILE PHOTO

With the NFL trade deadline of Tuesday at 4 p.m. fast approaching, they have a lot to consider.

Reportedly interested in dynamic running backs such as Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell and Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy coming in, do they really need them now in the wake of what Wendell Smallwood continued to prove as an every down back, rookie Josh Adams’ 61 yards on just nine carries and the possibility of getting Darren Sproles back soon?

Reportedly also interested in Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson, how important is it now, after all three of their outside corners were solid against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that features three of the fastest players in the league?

Amazing how good Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Rasul Douglas can look with a pass rush in front of them.

But what about wide receiver? Certainly they need to add another legitimate weapon like Tampa Bay’s DeSean Jackson or Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, right?

Well, not necessarily, considering the chunk plays they were able to get from Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor and the possibility of Mike Wallace and/or Mack Hollins coming off the injured reserve list soon.

Safety (Green Bay’s Ha Ha Clinton Dix?) and defensive tackle are areas of concern following the loss of Rodney McLeod and Destiny Vaeao to season-ending injuries.

And yet … converted rookie cornerback Avonte Maddox continues to play like a natural-born safety, Haloti Ngata was able to start at defensive tackle after a prolonged injury absence on Sunday and Tim Jernigan could be on the verge of coming off the NFI list soon.

Roseman has hard decisions: Finally, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman must weigh whether expending valuable resources to add a player who also will further tighten their already limited salary cap flexibility is worth it in the first place for this year’s team. As argued here, even in Sunday’s 24-18 win, there were too many mistakes and too much vulnerability on display in too many areas for a team that already has four losses and road games with the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams among the eight remaining.

Roseman, owner Jeffrey Lurie and coach Doug Pederson have to determine whether it’s realistic to expect six more wins, which almost certainly is what it’s going to take for this team to make the playoffs, over their final eight games, no matter what moves Roseman is able to pull off.

If they believe the playoffs are not realistic, then adding cap flexibility and draft picks may be the way to go. However, that could entail more risk than attempting an upgrade, because the message sent with any moves like, say, trading away Douglas or quarterback Nick Foles or offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski or even defensive end Brandon Graham, could lead to a player revolt, smashing the championship culture they’ve worked so hard to build.

The trick for Roseman is finding a way to make improvements without sacrificing valuable picks — the Eagles own eight picks in the 2019 draft in addition to whatever compensatory picks they may be awarded for losing players to free agency — down the road.

This will be ultra tricky, even for Roseman, an expert in this area.

For example, the $17.5 million cap hit for Thomas in 2019 is something they just can’t afford. So barring his acceptance of a revised deal, any move to add him would amount to a rental for half a season.

Jackson comes in with a much cheaper hit of $10 million, with none guaranteed. But he’s also 31 years old.

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is a possible trade target of the Philadelphia Eagles. AP FILE PHOTO

Peterson deal may make most sense: Of all the options, Peterson may make the most sense, even though their offense needs much more help than their defense. This is because he’s only 28, widely considered the best at his position in the game today, and has value because his cap hits of $11.8 million next year and $13.1 million in 2020 are reasonable, considering the level of service he’d be expected to provide.

Peterson would be worth a second-round pick because he would conceivably help the Eagles down the road as well at a position they value more than most others.

A corresponding move to unload backup quarterback Nick Foles would help relieve the cap situation too.

Of course, Peterson and the Cardinals are now saying they aren’t interested in a divorce now. We’ll see about that.

Whatever Roseman does, he can’t completely sell out for this season.

It’s just not worth it.

Reach Nick Fierro at or at 610-778-2243