Roseman's not-so-subtle message about Dillard

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INDIANAPOLIS — Howie Roseman sent a message to the rest of the league on Wednesday.

You want Andre Dillard?

Roseman’s phone is on.

The former first-round pick is about to enter the fourth and final year of his rookie contract and obviously doesn’t have a starting job after getting beat out by Jordan Mailata last summer. But Dillard is still just 26 and at the very least still has the ability to be a starting tackle in the NFL.

“It's hard to find offensive linemen who can move and who can bend,” Roseman said. “The amazing thing is Andre is working out every day right now. I'm not allowed to really talk to him about anything, but you can see, he looks great. Upper body, lower body, he's really determined. He wants to play.”

We already know, barring injury, that Dillard won’t play here.

Not only did Mailata win the left tackle job last summer, but then the Eagles handed him a $64 million extension. So he’s the left tackle of the future, which makes Dillard the odd man out.

It also makes him a very intriguing trade chip for the Eagles.

Now, offensive line depth is important and Roseman pointed out that because of injury the Eagles started 10 offensive linemen in their first 16 games in 2021. There’s no question that they’re a better team with Dillard than without him.

And this is the part where Roseman lets you know that the Eagles still value Dillard on their roster. In other words, he’s not gonna come cheap.

“Just to think that he can only play left tackle limits him and probably does him a disservice, but having a really good offensive line is important,” Roseman said. “Having depth on the offensive line is important.”

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Yes, having depth is important. And for that reason, the Eagles don’t have to trade Dillard. He’s set to have a salary of just over $2 million in 2022 with a cap hit of under $4 million. Nothing wrong with keeping him around as a backup.

For that reason, the Eagles can slow play this and see if they end up getting a better trade offer for Dillard. Because they don’t have to trade him, they have leverage.

But if the Eagles get a solid offer for Dillard, they can add a draft pick (or a player) and create some salary cap room. If the Eagles trade Dillard, they would clear about $2.18 million in salary cap space for the 2022 season.

The Eagles have until May 2 to decide whether or not they want to exercise the fifth-year option on Dillard for the 2023 season. That would come with a salary of over $11.6 million next year, so it seems unlikely.

But if the Eagles are able to trade Dillard during the draft in late April, they can hand over that decision to another team.

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