The NFL trade deadline has long been considered one of the least interesting trade deadlines among the major sports leagues, but that is not the case this season. The most active trade deadline seen in the NFL in years means teams are making some serious moves, including the 49ers trading for Jimmy Garoppolo. Among the notable moves made Tuesday morning saw the Miami Dolphins trading running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 31, 2017
The Eagles are 7-1, owners of the NFL’s best record midway through the season. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman took measures to improve the offense around second-year quarterback Carson Wentz in the offseason by adding receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith and traded away Jordan Matthews to open up a role for Nelson Agholor. The running game was overhauled with the addition of LeGarrette Blount and added rookies Corey Clement and Donnel Pumphrey. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the running game lost Darren Sproles and Pumphrey has not been able to make the field this season. The addition of Ajayi should help make the running game more of a consistent threat, and that is key to a team that is already playing like the best team in the NFC.
So in a 12-hour stretch, Eagles add Jay Ajayi and Cowboys lose Ezekiel Elliott.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 31, 2017
With the Green Bay Packers losing Aaron Rodgers, the Atlanta Falcons taking a few losses, and the entire NFC East getting off to a sluggish start at best, the time for the Eagles to strike may have been right now. The Eagles are ahead of schedule with their plan to build a Super Bowl winner, but you can never let an opportunity to win slip away if you can make the right deals to improve yourself without sacrificing a long-term future. This trade to add Ajayi was the perfect move to make for the Eagles with limited cap space to work with.
Ajayi is still on his rookie contract at the age of 24 and is in his third season. Last season, Ajayi rushed for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns. He is only making $615,000 this year and will only cost the Eagles $705,000 next year. At this point, it would be expected the Eagles will be looking to keep Ajayi in town beyond 2018 and pair him up with Wentz in the backfield for as long as possible. Blount is on a one-year deal in Philly and he may have his replacement in town with the arrival of Ajayi.
We may just be getting started today. The Eagles still could use some help on the offensive line, especially after adding another running back. The Eagles now have a stable of running backs and could afford to move on in an attempt to bolster the offensive line. Meanwhile, in Miami, the wheeling and dealing could continue as the Dolphins are clearly in a rebuilding mode with pieces worth moving.