The 2018 NFL trade deadline brought five surprising deals featuring household names. We’ll breakdown each deadline deal to see how the new acquisitions will help their new team.
Unlike prior years, the NFL’s trade deadline actually brought significant action as teams gear up for a postseason run. As the salary cap continues to explode upwards, almost every team was armed with enough money to pursue upgrades. Five deals were made on Tuesday, which is more like an NFL or MLB deadline day.
In total, nine players were traded between the start of the season and the deadline. Amari Cooper fetched the highest return, with a first-round pick going back to Oakland. The rest were moved for anything between a third rounder and a seventh rounder.
Let’s dig deep to see how each of the five deadline day acquisitions will help their new team, and analyze the cost for the short- and long-term. Every circumstance varies, so a broad brush can’t be applied to all transactions.
Eagles acquire receiver Golden Tate
It should be surprising that one of the most aggressive teams in the league was able to snag a quality veteran. The Philadelphia Eagles continue to double-down on their championship window, this time moving a 2019 third-round pick for 30-year-old receiver Golden Tate.
This was a big win for the Eagles despite being unable to address bigger holes at running back and cornerback. Unless they could’ve acquired Janoris Jenkins for pennies on the dollar, there wasn’t a quality cornerback actually on the market for a reasonable price. The same goes for running back.
Tate will overlap with Nelson Agholor as a slot presence, but it’s perfectly reasonable to trust that Doug Pederson will use bunch formations to manufacture mismatches with both. Agholor’s struggled to replicate his career 2017 season, but Tate’s acquisition doesn’t relegate him to the bench.
Expect quarterback Carson Wentz to find quick chemistry with Tate. Tate’s ability to create after the catch will help replace a limited running game and alleviate stress off Wentz. He’s one of the best at exploiting angles to find extra yards.
This is a short-term buy for Howie Roseman. Chris Burke of The Athletic reported Tate may land a four-year, $50 million deal this off-season, and unless the Eagles release Agholor’s $9.4 million fifth-year option, they simply can’t afford both.
If Tate departs, the Eagles will have swapped a 2019 third-rounder for a 2020 third-rounder, assuming they don’t sign an elite free-agent. It’s basically a non-existent risk for a front office and coaching staff that has complete job security.
The Detroit Lions unexpectedly sold high on Tate after moving a fifth-round pick for veteran Damon Harrison just one week ago. While Detroit is somewhat in the playoff picture, they clearly decided not to risk losing Tate for nothing later.
They could’ve recouped a 2020 compensatory pick for him had he signed elsewhere after the season, but I’ve also continually heard from agents and league executives the Lions will be aggressive in chasing potential free agents this off-season. Should they land Le’Veon Bell or Demarcus Lawrence, their compensatory pick for Tate disappears. This move reaffirms their intentions of being aggressive in free agency.