PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles traded a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions for wide receiver Golden Tate before Tuesday's deadline. At first glance, that seems like a pretty steep price for a 30-year-old wideout who will become a free agent at the end of the season.
A closer inspection, though, shows executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman struck a deal that makes plenty of sense.
If the Eagles don't re-sign Tate in free agency, they could get a third- or fourth-round compensatory pick back in 2020. So, depending on how it plays out, their only cost of acquiring Tate might be having the third-rounder in 2020 instead of 2019.
The Lions' motivation was to get a guaranteed third-rounder, and sooner, while moving some of Tate's money off the books. (He carried a cap number of $9.35 million into the season.)
It also fits into the "optionality" model the Eagles have successfully used in recent years. When bringing in veterans, they prefer to do so on short deals. If the player fits, they'll sign them to an extension, as they did with Alshon Jeffery. And if he doesn't, they'll let him walk. They liken it to dating instead of jumping into a marriage.
Seems like a good time to post SLOT RECEIVING numbers- @ShowtimeTate to the #Eagles for a 3rd round pick.#Skol #HereWeGo #ChiefsKingdom #FlyEaglesFly #SeizeTheDEY #DUUUVAL #GiantsPride #OnePride #RavensFlock #LARams pic.twitter.com/a9UsuXQ0eO— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) October 30, 2018
In the meanwhile, quarterback Carson Wentz gets an additional playmaker to throw to as the 4-4 Eagles try to make a playoff push in the second half of the season. Philly has been struggling to find a consistent complement to Jeffery. Mike Wallace, their deep threat, broke his leg in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Bucs and landed on injured reserve. While Jordan Matthews has had his moments, the No. 2 outside receiver position hasn't produced with regularity. Slot receiver Nelson Agholor had a relatively quiet start to the season as well, leaving Jeffery and tight end Zach Ertz to do most of the heavy lifting.
It will be interesting to see how the Eagles use Tate. He has been one of the most productive receivers from the slot this season. The slot-receiver role has belonged to Agholor -- to this point the team's second-best receiver -- so coach Doug Pederson will have to figure out how to make the pieces fit.
One thing you can bet on is Pederson will use Tate in the screen game.
It isn't easy to get a player acclimated to a system midseason. But Tate, who ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash coming out of Notre Dame, should be able to use his speed and ability to create in space, which is just what the doctor ordered for Wentz and the Eagles offense.