From the sound of things, the Eagles had some fairly serious conversations with the 49ers about trading for Torrey Smith before the November 1 deadline. The two sides were simply off in terms of compensation, with Ed Werder for ESPN reporting the Eagles were offering a fifth-round draft pick, while the 49ers wanted a third.
A third-round pick might sound like a small price to pay for a 27-year-old wide receiver who actually threatens defenses and is under contract at a reasonable price through 2019. It certainly wasn't an reasonable ask.
From the Eagles' perspective though, why give that up now? Yes, the offense is in desperate need of an upgrade at receiver, but why make that trade because of a deadline? Does Smith make this team a Super Bowl contender?
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If the answer is no — which in all likelihood it is — then what would have been the point?
All trading away a decent pick for Smith would've accomplished is to take the Eagles out of the market for a receiver this coming offseason. Suppose there's a comparable or superior talent available in free agency, but the club has already invested money and a draft compensation in Smith. Or suppose another quality receiver becomes available for trade, and at a lesser price. Suppose there's a prospect in the third round the front office really likes.
By trading a draft pick and investing over $6 million per year and Smith, the Eagles will have tied their hands somewhat. After all, an NFL team can only use so many resources on one position.
And even supposing none of those scenarios play out, theoretically the Eagles could still trade for Smith in the offseason, only the price might come down because the bevy of other options on market and lack of immediate need would lessen the 49ers' leverage.
In other words, what's the rush? Why should the Eagles put all of their eggs in the Torrey Smith basket in 2016?
Yes, the Eagles have surprised a few people with their 4-3 record, which could easily be 5-2 or even 6-1 with another receiver who can get open and hold on the football. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has played at a higher level than anybody could have imagined at this early stage of his career, backed by a defense and special teams that have looked dominant at times.
That doesn't mean the Eagles needed to go for it all right now. Just because the team is competitive doesn't mean the front office should mortgage the future on another number-two receiver.
Wentz has come back down to earth a bit. The defense is solid, but imperfect. Doug Pederson is finding his way as a first-year head coach. Between the Lane Johnson suspension and all these off-field incidents, you could make the case this just isn't the Eagles' year. Plus, with the Cowboys at 6-1, coming out on top in the NFC East is quickly becoming a long shot, and even making the playoffs could be difficult.
This might be something of a different story if the Eagles were in serious talks for somebody like Alshon Jeffery, who has the skillset of a true number-one. They also would have had the potential to sign him to a long-term deal to prevent him from reaching free agency in the offseason, where there will be a bidding war for his services.
Why go all in on Smith now though? It would've been a desperation move that wouldn't even put the team over the top, and arguably only place a bandage on the problem.
Not that acquiring Smith would've been bad either. It simply wasn't necessary at this time, which is why the Eagles were wise to sit back and hold on to their picks.
Opportunities to improve the receiver position will be there. Just not in 2016 — and that's okay.