Well, here’s an interesting report to emerge on the morning of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Philadelphia Eagles are among four teams to show the most interest in trading for Washington left tackle Trent Williams, according to a report from the Washington Post. The three others include the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets, and the Minnesota Vikings.
So, uh … is it fair to wonder if the Eagles already think 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard is a bust and isn’t ready to start at left tackle? Why else would they be expressing interest in acquiring Williams? It’s not like you’re trading for his $12.5 million base salary so he can be a backup in 2020.
Concerns about Dillard’s outlook were raised earlier this offseason when there was talk about the Eagles potentially re-signing 38-year-old Jason Peters. There was even some buzz that the Eagles were trying to package Dillard in a trade to get rid of Alshon Jeffery’s contract, which, yikes.
The speculation about Dillard’s future died down, though, when the Eagles announced they’d be letting Peters test free agency.
But it’s important to note the Eagles didn’t actually close the door on Peters returning. There’s reportedly a faction within the NovaCare Complex that wants him to be the team’s left tackle in 2020. Peters is still on the market and he’s clearly preparing to play at least one more season.
“My fittest year yet. Building a wall for a quarterback near you.”
LT Jason Peters is continuing to put in work as he aims to play one more season. Peters’ market has been fairly quiet in FA, though the #Eagles said they’d stay in contact with him back in March. pic.twitter.com/95BmOWzJ1X
— Logan Banker (@LoganBanker_19) April 23, 2020
If the Eagles are truly considering trading for Williams, a Peters return can’t be ruled out, either. On that note, I’d like to revisit something I said tweeted month.
The conspiracy angle to this news is that the Eagles are trying to soften JP’s return if/when it happens.
“We were willing to let him go but, hey, his price was more affordable than we expected!” https://t.co/2Ar3Li56do
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) March 5, 2020
It’s one (very disappointing) thing if the Eagles feel like Dillard still isn’t ready to start in 2020 but could be by 2021. That scenario is what would drive a Peters re-signing.
It’s another thing if the Eagles are giving up some kind of assets to acquire Williams, who turns 32 this summer. That kind of move would signal the team doesn’t trust Dillard to ever be a long-term starter for them, unless the plan is to not sign Williams to a new contract beyond 2020. But then why trade for him just to be a one-year stop gap? (As a side note, the Eagles have also shown interest in some Day 1 and Day 2 tackle prospects ahead of this year’s draft.)
I guess it’s possible that the Eagles’ reported interest in Williams could be overstated. Maybe Howie Roseman was just checking in on the price because, hey, why not? And maybe Washington is trying to play up Philly’s interest in order to better create a market for Williams.
But given the previous discouraging signs about Dillard, I tend to think this isn’t some nothing report. There’s legitimate reason to believe the Eagles aren’t feeling amazing about Dillard’s future.
From PFF …
Dillard was limited to reserve work when Jason Peters or Lane Johnson went down because of injury, and that was a good thing for Carson Wentz based on how he graded. He allowed a pressure rate of 14.7%, higher than any other tackle in the NFL.
… and from Football Outsiders:
Dillard blew 7.8% of his combined pass and run blocks, the worst rate among offensive linemen with 300 or more snaps.
The Eagles traded multiple picks to move up for Dillard in the first round of last year’s draft. The thinking at the time was that he’d replace Peters as the new starting left tackle in 2020. Maybe that’ll still be the case.
But with the Eagles not closing the door on a Peters return and also reportedly showing interest in trading for Williams … maybe Dillard starting this season is not such a sure bet, after all.
Anyway, who’s excited about the player the Eagles are going to draft in the first round this year?
Should the Eagles trade for Trent Williams?
759 votes total
Who do you want to see starting at left tackle for the Eagles in 2020?
730 votes total