The Eagles have traded out-of-favor running back Ronnie Brown to the Lions for running back Jerome Harrison and a 2013 draft pick. The pick is a seventh rounder, according to a league source.
The deal amounts to a swap of backups who were each unproductive so far in 2011.
Harrison, an Eagles backup last year, had 14 carries for 41 yards this year in Detroit. Brown had fallen out of the running back rotation after a costly fumble against the 49ers. He has 13 carries for 39 yards this season, but has not touched the ball since the Eagles Oct. 2 loss to San Francisco. Brown made an awful error in that game, losing a fumble at the goal line as he tried to throw a pass while being tackled. He has not touched the ball since then.
Harrison has not had a touch since week 3.
He came to Philadelphia last season after week 5, in another backup for backup deal (the Eagles sent the ineffective Mike Bell to Cleveland). Harrison had 40 carries for 239 yards (6.0 average) for the Eagles. Most of that work came in the Birds' blowout win over the Redskins (109 yards on 11 carries) and the season ending loss to Dallas in which the Eagles starters rested (99 yards on 21 runs).
Brown, though, appeared to quickly wear out his welcome in Philadelphia and Harrison is a veteran who knows the Eagles system and wasn't getting any opportunities in Detroit. He may not see much of the field back in Philly, though. LeSean McCoy has carried the vast majority of the workload for the Eagles this season, and will almost certainly continue to do so unless he gets hurt. Backup Dion Lewis has received brief looks each of the past two weeks (two carries each game) and could see a larger role as he continues learning.
When practices resume it will be interesting to see whether Lewis or Harrison is in the number two role. Lewis would seem to have much more potential.
Earlier, ESPN reported that the Raiders had talked to the Eagles about backup quarterback Vince Young (Oakland ended up acquiring Carson Palmer from the Bengals). The NFL Network reported that Asante Samuel was being shopped. The Eagles had entertained offers for Samuel in the preseason and the cornerback has said he himself is unsure of his future in Philadelphia. The Eagles were not actively shopping either, according to a league source, though that certainly wouldn't stop teams from inquiring and launching discussions.
In the end, both remain in Philadelphia.
While some fans hoped the Eagles could acquire defensive help, the reality is that few big moves are made around the NFL trade deadline. The Palmer deal is an exception, but even there, the player dealt wasn't on the field for his team. Coaches are generally very reluctant to give up contributing, starting caliber players, which would open new holes mid-season.