Just before the trade deadline, the Eagles sent their third-round draft pick to Detroit for wide receiver Golden Tate. Philadelphia promptly lost its next two games, Tate looked like he was struggling to find his role in the offense, and the trade was widely panned.
But now that narrative is changing. The Eagles have won two in a row, they’re back in the playoff picture, and Tate had his best game as an Eagle on Monday night, with seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Tate becomes a free agent after this season, so the trade was entirely about what he can do this year. And if the Eagles miss the playoffs, there’s no way to spin this year as anything other than a big disappointment. So Tate needs to help the Eagles make the playoffs for the trade to make sense.
And Tate may do just that: Monday night’s win was a big one, and Tate was very good. He caught every ball thrown to him and looked like the best wide receiver on the field, ahead of Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor.
The Lions’ offense has also declined dramatically since the Tate trade, suggesting Tate may have deserved more credit than he got for what he did in Detroit. The Lions are 1-4 since trading Tate.
With four games to go, the Eagles have tough remaining schedule, but a clear path to the playoffs. If Tate keeps playing like he did last night and the Eagles get there, no one is going to say he was a waste of a third-round draft pick.