The Philadelphia Eagles are perhaps in one of the most unique situations in the NFL as the final hours before the league’s trade deadline slip away. At 3-4-1, the Eagles are a sub-.500 football team, yet have a game and a half lead in the NFC East, following their victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8.
The Eagles have popped up among trade rumors wearing the hats of both a buyer and a seller. While Philadelphia could opt to move big-name veterans already on the roster, like Alshon Jeffery or Zach Ertz, the team is also in the market to address positions of need, as it does indeed look like they will be headed back to the postseason.
Here are three potential Eagles trade targets ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
Eagles Trade Targets Before NFL Trade Deadline
Zach Cunningham | LB | Houston Texans
The 2020 Philadelphia Eagles almost feel like a team that will go as far as their defense carries them. The defensive front that includes stars Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham is among the best in the league. Philadelphia’s linebacking corps however leaves a bit to be desired. If the Eagles trade for a player before the deadline, expect it to be a linebacker. Zach Cunningham of the Houston Texans could very well be considered the best available backer on the market.
The former Vanderbilt standout has piled up tackles left and right since entering the league in 2017. In 53 career games (50 starts), Cunningham has 410 total tackles. The 25-year-old has surpassed 100 tackles in each of the last two seasons, something that no Eagles player has accomplished since DeMeco Ryans did it in the 2012 and 2013 campaigns. He hasn’t slowed down this season either despite the Texans’ poor record with 71 total tackles through seven games. The Texans did sign Cunningham to a contract extension that includes $23.5 million guaranteed, but there is a team opt-out at the end of 2021. Surprisingly, the Eagles have over $23 million in cap space this season, giving them the flexibility to go out and land what would be a defensive game-changer.
Neville Hewitt | LB | New York Jets
The Eagles were among the teams mentioned in the sweepstakes for another Jets’ linebacker, Avery Williamson, who was acquired late Sunday evening by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Philadelphia would be wise to refocus their push around another Jet, Neville Hewitt. At age 27, Hewitt would provide the same hard-nosed veteran presence to the Eagles’ linebacking corps that Zach Cunningham would, but at a fraction of the cost.
Hewitt currently leads the winless Jets with 67 tackles on the season. He is on pace to far out due his 75 tackles from a season ago. One of the most underrated linebackers in the NFL, Hewitt signed a one-year contract extension with New York in the offseason for $1 million. Set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2021, Hewitt would be a plug-and-play rental piece for the Eagles with no strings attached beyond this season. With the Jets clearly in full-on tank mode, an Eagles trade for Hewitt also may not require them to send as many assets in return as trading with other teams would.
Dante Pettis | WR | San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers put it out there last week that 25-year-old receiver Dante Pettis was available for potential suitors to pursue. The 2018 second-round pick hasn’t materialized thus far in the bay area. 2020 has seen him play sparingly as a receiver with the majority of his impact coming on special teams as a kick and punt returner. Pettis has the speed to take the top off a defense and perhaps would benefit from a change of scenery.
With that said, a wide receiver was likely much higher on the Eagles trade targets list a few weeks ago than it is now. After once again seeing their pass-catchers ravaged with injuries, Philadelphia is finally starting to get healthy. Rookie first-round pick Jalen Reagor returned in Week 8, as did tight end Dallas Goedert. The two joined forces with Greg Ward, John Hightower, and breakout star Travis Fulgham who held down the fort when the team was most decimated by injuries. Even veteran Alshon Jeffery might make his long-awaited season debut after the team’s Week 9 bye. With that said, it’s hard to argue that the Eagles couldn’t benefit from acquiring an additional depth piece like Pettis at the NFL trade deadline.