Either the Jaguars are waiting for the Eagles to come over the top with an offer — apparently two first-round picks may not be enough — or they truly aren’t going to trade Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey this season.
Fortunately for the Eagles, Ramsey isn’t the only potentially available player who could help their defense. Heck, he isn’t necessarily even the best option!
Looking around the league, there are quite a few teams whose playoff hopes are already circling the drain and would no doubt have to at least think about moving some star players. Here’s a look at some of the other big names Eagles executive vice president/general manager could target before the NFL’s Oct. 29 trade deadline.
Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr.
In the final year of his contract and seemingly voicing his displeasure with the situation currently unfolding in Denver (0-4), Harris is perhaps the most likely defensive back to be dealt in season. The four-time Pro Bowl selection made his name with dominant play in the slot, but is lining up outside with more frequency this season, so the Eagles could use him wherever they see fit.
The obvious downside is he could wind up being a rental, though at age 30, it might be for the best anyway. If it helps the Eagles win a Super Bowl, no one will mind parting with a Day 2 pick.
Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller
Staying in Denver, an idea that’s catching on is the possibility of shopping Miller, with NFL Network analyst and former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah suggesting Howie make a call. It’s not that farfetched — Broncos general manager John Elway himself raised the prospect of shopping Miller back in the offseason. And while the seven-time Pro Bowler is a linebacker by trade, he’s played with his hand in the dirt before.
The cost would be high, surely starting with a first-round pick and then some, plus $18 million in 2020 and ’21, when Miller will be 32. A case can also be made defensive end isn’t even the real issue for the Eagles’ defense. But when you can add anybody who registered 14.5 sacks only a season ago, you've got to at least look into it.
Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson
What’s an Eagles trade rumors post without Peterson? Despite the never-ending rumblings, the eight-time Pro Bowler is still in Arizona (0-3-1), still without a contract extension. A new deal doesn’t appear to be on the horizon, either, seeing as he’s serving a six-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Could this be the year he’s finally dealt?
Between the contract demands and the ban, Peterson’s value may not be what it once was, even if he is one of the best corners in the league, so maybe the Eagles could swoop in with a Day 2 pick. They’d need to be willing to pay him, but with his 30th birthday still a year away, it’s not unthinkable. Maybe this really is the year.
For what it’s worth, the Cardinals continue to shoot down Peterson rumors.
Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams
The Eagles won’t have to travel very far to scout Williams, seeing as the Jets (0-3) will be in the building on Sunday. The former sixth-overall draft pick has been somewhat of a disappointment in New York, save for 7.0 sacks and a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2016. But given the precarious state of the Eagles’ D-line, he might be worth a flyer as long as the price isn’t too high.
Mainly, Leonard can play interior lineman, which is arguably the Eagles’ biggest need with Fletcher Cox not performing and Malik Jackson likely out for the season. Leonard's also a solid run defender, and at 25 his best football could be ahead, though the latter is negated some by the fact that he is in the final year of his contract.
Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins
Cincinnati (0-4) signed Atkins to a contract extension a little more than a year ago, but with the franchise going nowhere fast, it might be time for a good ol’ fashioned fire sale. A seven-time Pro Bowler with 9.0 or more sacks in each of the last four seasons, the 31-year-old’s penchant for disruption is exactly what the Eagles' defense desperately needs up the middle right now.
Atkins is also set to make over $11 million in each of the next three seasons — which he’s certainly worth — but the Eagles already have so much cap space tied up in Cox and Jackson. Could they bring all three guys back in 2020? It would be difficult, especially thinking about what the Bengals might want in return.
Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap
Dunlap also received an extension last season, but not for quite as much money — $8.8 million with roster and workout bonuses in 2020, upwards of $11 million in ’21. The Eagles don’t have as much cap space allocated at end, either. Thirty years old and with at least 7.5 sacks every year since 2013, the two-time Pro Bowler is certainly reliable, but again, would not come cheap.
Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick
With Darqueze Dennard sounding ready to come off the PUP list soon, Cincinnati will have a glut of corners for which they appear to have no use. Kirkpatrick isn’t the best cover-man on the roster (William Jackson), nor is he the most recently extended (Dennard), but he’s certainly capable of fetching a mid-round asset or two.
Kirkpatrick will make just south of $10 million through 2021. He turns 30 this month. He’s capable of playing at a very high level, if not quite star-caliber. All of those things are good or bad depending how you look at them, but depending how hard up the Eagles are for corner help, he’s a quality option at a reasonable price.
Or they can just wait for Jalen Mills to return.