The Philadelphia Eagles are clearly sellers in the days leading up to the trade deadline. Already sitting with a 2-5 record -- four games back in the loss column behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East race -- Philadelphia made the right decision in a transition year (as the team calls it) by sending longtime franchise icon Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals and backup quarterback Joe Flacco to the New York Jets.
The Eagles have every reason to sell as the roster is not playoff caliber, nor is it improving under a first-year head coach and a starting quarterback who is just in his second season. Philadelphia also is projected to have three first-round picks in 2022, including two in the top 10 (their own and one from the Miami Dolphins).
Whether the Eagles want to admit it publicly or not, the franchise is rebuilding and players are available at the right price. There are a few trades Philadelphia can make in the coming days to improve their draft capital for 2022 and beyond.
Eagles acquire: 2022 conditional fourth-round pick
Left tackles are so hard to find in this league and the Eagles have one that's still young and is good enough to be a starter. There's no room for Dillard in Philadelphia as Jordan Mailata is entrenched as the franchise left tackle and Lane Johnson isn't going anywhere on the right side. This has Dillard, the team's 2019 first-round draft pick, riding the bench.
Dillard can't play the right side of the line, so the best option going forward is to move him to a team that's in need for a left tackle -- preferably a playoff contender. Dillard is still only 26 years old an has allowed 14 pressures in 210 pass-blocking snaps. Dillard grades well against the pass and below average in run blocking, so there's potential there.
The Eagles will seek a Day 2 draft pick, but a conditional fourth-round pick that can become a third based on Dillard's playing time with his new team.
Eagles acquire: 2022 fifth-round pick
Nelson has been good in his one-year deal with the Eagles -- and the front office shouldn't be opposed towards bringing him back. On a team that's clearly in the midst of a rebuild, Nelson is expendable on an expiring contract.
The Eagles eventually have to see if rookie fourth-round pick Zech McPhearson can play, whether he's ready or not. Moving Avonte Maddox to the outside may not be in the best interest for the player or the team if McPhearson starts in the slot (or the Eagles just start McPhearson on the outside). Does it even matter on a team that's rebuilding and isn't going to make the playoffs? Trading Nelson will help the Eagles determine their situation at cornerback outside of Darius Slay -- who is on the north side of 30.
Nelson has been better than the numbers indicate (23 catches, 299 yards allowed, two touchdowns, 105.5 rating, interception) and can start on a contending team down the stretch. Getting a Day 3 draft pick would be ideal for the Eagles, who could bring Nelson back after the year if they choose to do so.
Eagles acquire: 2023 third-round pick
Trading Sanders normally wouldn't be worth it, but it's clear Nick Sirianni doesn't use the running back properly. Prior to Sunday's game, Sanders averaged just 12.5 touches per contest -- fewer than the 16 he received last year. The Eagles didn't properly utilize Sanders under Doug Pederson, and really underutilize him with Sirianni -- whose strength was supposed to be getting the ball to his running backs!
Sanders is third in the NFL in yards per touch since he entered the league (2019), behind Austin Ekeler and Christian McCaffrey -- yet doesn't receive the proper number of touches needed to make this offense go. With a year and a half left on his rookie contract, the Eagles should consider getting some value for a running back they choose not to use properly.
Sanders is injured at the moment (out multiple weeks with an ankle injury), which lessens his trade value for a 2022 draft pick. Remember, teams can trade injured players (Stephon Gilmore was on the PUP list and traded earlier this month) -- so it's not out of the realm to deal Sanders. The Eagles won't get the value they wanted this year, but they could get a Day 2 draft pick in 2023 for a young running back. That pick may be asking a lot for a team, but it's worth the risk for a player as valuable as Sanders.
The Eagles shouldn't even consider trading Sanders unless they get a very good offer for him. If they aren't going to use Sanders the way they should, maybe it's best for Philadelphia to deal the young back. Based on this year's discouraging sample size, Sanders doesn't appear to be in the plans for the Eagles going forward.