Could Eagles Look To Trade an RB?

Philadelphia Eagles running back Dion Lewis.Andy Reid said as recently as two days ago that the phones are “very active” this time of year as teams try to shape their rosters before the deadline to get down to 53 Friday night.

The Eagles’ most likely trade chip is probably a defensive lineman – perhaps Darryl Tapp or Antonio Dixon. The Birds currently have 11 defensive linemen worthy of being on an NFL roster. That might be too man to keep.

But according to one analyst, the team could look to deal a running back. Daniel Jeremiah served as the west coast scout for the Eagles from 2010 to 2012, so his opinion holds some added weight. Below are a couple Tweets he sent out last night.

As of now, Dion Lewis figures to be the backup behind LeSean McCoy. A fifth-round pick in 2011, Lewis played sparingly as a rookie. If you take away Week 17 against the Redskins when McCoy was sidelined, Lewis played an average of less than two snaps per game.

But his blitz pickup has looked good this summer, and Lewis could be a nice option in the screen game. In three preseason games, playing with a suspect second-team offensive line, he’s carried 12 times for 35 yards. Lewis also has two catches for 24 yards, including a 22-yarder on a screen last week and a touchdown in the red zone from Nick Foles.

The Eagles need to make sure they have a reliable backup this season. McCoy played more snaps than any other running back in 2011 and averaged just 3.4 yards per carry in the final five games.

The Birds’ other backs are Bryce Brown and Chris Polk. Brown has had a strong preseason, flashing on several occasions and carrying 19 times for 102 yards. Polk, meanwhile, has picked up 51 yards on 13 carries and has five catches for 42 yards.

Looking at the group as a whole, the notion of trading Lewis seems extremely risky. It would leave Brown as the first man up should McCoy suffer an injury. While Brown has shown upside as a runner, Reid and Marty Mornhinweg simply cannot trust him as a pass blocker right now. If the primary goal of the offense is to keep Michael Vick upright, that is a big deal.

Polk, meanwhile, probably doesn’t give the Eagles enough as a runner right now to play significant snaps on offense.

Could the Eagles trade Brown or Polk? It seems unlikely. Brown was a seventh-round pick in April and Polk was undrafted.

The guess here is that the Eagles keep McCoy, Lewis and Brown and let Polk go. I’d say the second-most likely scenario is that they keep all four.

A trade would surprise me, but it’s another position to keep an eye on as Reid and Howie Roseman shape the roster in the next few days.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

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