Eagles obtain rusher Ajayi, Bills get Benjamin at trade deadline

AFP
The Eagles, who sent the Dolphins a fourth-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, add Ajayi to a backfield that already features offseason acquisition LeGarrette Blount.
AFP
Reuters

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (center) runs against the Tennessee Titans during the second half of their NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, in this October 8, 2017, photo. Ajayi was dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles on October 31, 2017.

The Philadelphia Eagles, who own the National Football League's best record at 7-1, obtained running back Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins just hours ahead of Tuesday's league trade deadline.

The Eagles, who sent the Dolphins a fourth-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, add Ajayi to a backfield that already features offseason acquisition LeGarrette Blount.

Philadelphia ranks fifth in NFL rushing already with 129.2 yards a game on an average of 30.8 running plays.

Ajayi, 24, has rushed for 465 yards this season on 138 carries but no touchdowns. He ran 14 times for 23 yards in Miami's 0-40 loss to Baltimore last Thursday.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase did not mention Ajayi by name but said the team's offensive struggles were in part on the run game.

"It's on the running back," Gase said. "Do your job. It's not hard to do."

Ajayi has rushed for 1,924 yards and nine touchdowns in 31 games for Miami since entering the NFL in 2015. He has a four-year, US$2.5-million contract through 2018.

The Dolphins likely will turn to second-year rusher Kenyan Drake as a new starter. Drake has 25 rushing yards on 10 carries this season.

The other big deal at the deadline saw the Buffalo Bills, seeking their first playoff berth since 1999, obtain receiver Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers for two picks in next year's draft.

The Bills, 5-2, have not won a playoff game since 1995 and have managed only one winning season since 2004.

Benjamin, who has 32 catches for 475 yards and two TDs this season, reunited with Bills coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane, who both previously worked for the Panthers.

The Bills have no receiver with 200 yards after trading top receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams prior to the season.

In 40 career NFL games, Benjamin has 168 catches for 2,424 yards and 18 TDs.

Other transfers ahead of the deadline included New England Patriots reserve quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo being sent to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2018 second-round pick.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said on Tuesday that while he liked Garoppolo, who turns 26 on Thursday, the team wanted to make a move before possibly losing 40-year-old star Tom Brady's backup after the season to free agency.

"It's just not sustainable given the way that things are set up. It's definitely not something that we wanted to walk away from," Belichick said.

"It's a very complex situation on multiple levels and this is really the last window we had and we did what we felt was best for the team."

In 17 career NFL games, Garoppolo has completed 63 of 94 passes for 690 yards and fiveTDs with no interceptions.

Brady, under contract through 2019, became the only quarterback on the Patriots' roster.

"We'll address the quarterback position and try to put our team in the most competitive position possible," Belichick said.


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