The defending Super Bowl champions bolstered their offense in a big way two hours before the trade deadline. One of the league's best slot receivers is en route to Philadelphia.
As first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Eagles have traded for Lions slot receiver Golden Tate. In return, the Lions are receiving a third-round pick. Tate and the Lions both confirmed the news.
It’s been real DETROIT! I’ll love ya forever. Philly Philly let’s get it!!— Golden Tate (@ShowtimeTate) October 30, 2018
At 4-4 and behind the 5-2 Redskins in the NFC East, the Eagles need all the help they can get. Alshon Jeffery, in his return from a shoulder injury, has played well enough to be considered the team's top receiver. Tight end Zach Ertz continues to put up gaudy numbers. He's still their most reliable target in the passing game. But beyond those two players, the Eagles are short on weapons for Carson Wentz.
Running back Jay Ajayi is . The . Nelson Agholor has remained productive, but he's better suited for a complimentary rather than a starring role. That's where Tate comes into play. He's one of the league's best slot receivers who remains wildly underrated. Since 2014 -- when he landed in Detroit -- Tate has caught 416 passes for 4,741 yards and 22 touchdowns. He largely operates out of the slot, which should hurt Agholor's value, and while he won't often burn defenses deep, he will burn them by catching short passes and turning them into big gains. He's generated the 10th most receiving yards since 2014. As noted by NFL Insider Adam Caplan, Tate has generated the most yards after the catch since he entered the league in 2010.
Take a look at his route tree, because you'll see a ton of slants, digs, and routes into the flat.
That should be the perfect compliment to Jeffery.
A third-round pick isn't cheap. But the Eagles sent a clear signal that they're all-in on trying to repeat. Plus, as NFL Network's Mike Garafolo pointed out, the Eagles own two second-round picks in next year's draft, which helps soften the blow of losing a third rounder -- all for a player who is scheduled to hit free agency in the offseason. Tate is a half-season rental, but the Eagles should receive a compensatory pick down the line if he bolts in free agency.
If Tate walks after the season, PHI would likely receive a 3rd or 4th rd comp pick in 2020. Lions chose to make the trade to get that pick now, instead of waiting a year for comp pick. So many teams need weapons for their young QBs...Tate will get big money in the offseason.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) October 30, 2018
And that brings us to the Lions. At 3-4, the Lions aren't really out of the playoff mix. Heck, they're only a game behind the Bears in the NFC North, a division in which none of the four teams have gained separation. But the Lions haven't really looked like a playoff team thus far. Building for the future should be the priority and they just found a way to get a third-round pick for a player who was probably going to leave in the offseason. There's no doubt that the Lions will miss Tate over the final half of the season, but the Lions still have Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay to lean on, and suddenly a running game in the form of Kerryon Johnson.
If anything, though, this trade signals the Lions probably aren't in win-now mode. They might be only a game back in the NFC North, but there are three teams standing between them and the top of the division. Then again,, so the Lions don't appear to be going all-in either way. Instead, they're straddling the line between winning now and building for a better future.