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.