Actual News to Report As NFL Nears Trade Deadline

Actual News to Report As NFL Nears Trade Deadline

The days and hours leading up to the NFL trade deadline typically have not been very exciting through the years, but multiple teams have already tested the waters in 2011, and the Eagles could be next.

Last week the Seahawks traded LB Aaron Curry -- their fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft -- to Oakland, while in just the past 24 hours the Raiders have also acquired QB Carson Palmer from Cincinnati, and the Broncos shipped Brandon Lloyd to St. Louis. We're very curious how that will impact the Pro Bowl receiver's fantasy numbers, btw.

So far the Eagles have stayed out of the fray, but there are reports indicating some type of deal could get done before 4 p.m. today.

Naturally, Asante Samuel is on the block. Many thought he could become collateral damage following the off-season additions of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, but he survived the summer and continues to man his left corner. Samuel is owed a lot of money over the upcoming two seasons, and likely will want a new contract to boot.

However, there should be no rush to ship him away. DRC hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire so far, and the picks that would come back in the exchange should still be on the table this spring. Samuel takes a lot of criticism due to his style of play, but he is without question one of the top cornerbacks in the game, and if the Birds are serious about making a run, they need to keep him for the time being.

Juqua Parker could also be on his way out, as Brandon Graham is finally expected to return from off-season microfracture surgery. The Eagles entered the season with five ends on the roster, but with Graham eligible to return from the Physically Unable to Perform list after Week 6, it's created a bit of a logjam.

Parker is the oldest member of the group, and will be a free agent at the end of the season, so we wouldn't expect to see him back anyway. The front office invested a ton in Graham, trading up to number 13 overall last season, so they probably feel compelled to get him on the field and see if he can return to his promising form.

Though rare, the Eagles are no stranger to deadline deals. In 2009, the defense struggled to replace Stewart Bradley at middle linebacker after he went out with an ACL during training camp. They sent Brandon Gibson, a rookie wide receiver from the sixth round, and a late pick to the Rams for LB Will Witherspoon. Witherspoon only made a couple starts at MIKE, briefly becoming part of the linebacker carousel before jumping outside.

Citing a large base salary in 2010, the team opted to dump Witherspoon after the season in a veteran house-cleaning project. Gibson has yet to materialize as anything more than a replacement level player, so the organization didn't really lose in the deal, but it is a good reminder of why mid-season trades in the NFL are both difficult and unusual.

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

After being in the middle of trade rumors over the last few months, Nerlens Noel appears to frustrated with his situation with the Sixers, according to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey.

The Sixers have three starting-caliber centers — Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, who's now healthy — heading into this season.

"I think it's just silly," Noel told Pompey. "With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to set something done this summer.

"Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

"And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

The Sixers flirted with having two big men on the court at the same time last season, with Noel and Okafor but with no real success. 

He has a point, and the team knows it.

During the summer, reports swirled saying the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor for backcourt help.

Noel, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't appear to believe the current situation will work.

"I think something needs to happen," he said.

Darren Sproles 'amazing' 73-yard TD set tone for fun 2nd half vs. Steelers

Darren Sproles 'amazing' 73-yard TD set tone for fun 2nd half vs. Steelers

When Darren Sproles caught the nifty touch pass from Carson Wentz around midfield, there was little doubt about what would happen next.

"Touchdown," running back Kenjon Barner said after the Eagles' stunning 34-3 shellacking of the Steelers (see Instant Replay)
 
Really? With that many yards to go?

"Touchdown," he said. "As soon as he caught the ball. There was nobody there. That guy in the open field — you're not going to bring him down by yourself. With that much space — touchdown."

Barner wasn't the only one.

"Man, it's Sproles! Did you think he was going to get tackled?" receiver Nelson Agholor said incredulously. 

Uhh …

"Man, listen, it's Darren Sproles, and if you second-guessed him, then I don't know what you're thinking," he said. "I'm surprised if he gets tackled."

So is center Jason Kelce. 

"I was actually celebrating before he scored the touchdown, because I watched the whole thing unfold," Kelce said. "It was just a great play. [Wentz] scrambles out and then has the common sense to when the defender comes to him to dump it over top to Sproles, and that dude, once he gets the ball in space, it's incredibly special."

It sure was. 

First, Wentz stepped away from charging defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who had gotten away from Allen Barbre. 

“I came out and saw Sproles and he just turned up the field,” Wentz said. “Anytime that you can put it in [his hands], something special can happen on any play, and he did the rest of it.” 

Wentz did a little more than that (see story). After escaping the sack, he rushed to his right and made a right turn. Then he parallelled the line of scrimmage, drawing linebacker Ryan Shazier toward him — and allowing Sproles to get wide open.

Whoops.

"I thought he crossed the line of scrimmage, so I ran up," Shazier said. "It was my fault."

Sproles caught the pass, snaked his way the remaining 50 yards, spinning Steelers rookie safety Sean Davis around a couple times and watching rookie corner Artie Burns flail at him helplessly right before crossing the goal line.

"When they do that, it kind of gets everyone off their job when he extends the play like that," Davis said. "Me being a deep player, I just tried to buy us some time once I saw that we got broken down and let the defense rally up, and it's just a good play [by] him."

An amazing play. It was a 73-yard touchdown on the fourth play of the third quarter, a 3rd-and-8, and put the Eagles up 20-3 (see 10 observations). It was the second-longest catch of Sproles' career and longest since 2009 while with the Chargers (an 81-yarder vs. Baltimore). It was easily the longest TD of Wentz’s career and a main reason he was able to become only the second rookie in team history to reach 300 passing yards in a game (Nick Foles is the other).

“It was so much fun,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “Those are the kinds of plays you can’t design. It’s players making plays. … Sproles did his thing and wiggled down there, and it was fun to watch.”

That’s what Agholor should have done. Just watch.

"I was trying to chase him down and almost pulled my hamstring," Agholor said. 

"You see those moves he put on them? Pffft. And DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham) ran downfield — that downfield block. Think about that. We were having a lot of fun tonight man, and I'm very happy about that."

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