Look. The Eagles need help at wide receiver. Anyone who knows the slightest thing about the Eagles is well aware of this fact. When they faced the Seahawks in the postseason, Greg Ward, JJ Arcega Whiteside and Deontay Burnett outlined the very bleak receiving core. In today’s pass heavy NFL, receivers are an absolute necessity to any team hoping to make the playoffs and unless changes are made, the Eagles will find themselves in the same position that they were in last year.
Multiple reports say that Agholor is fed up with Philadelphia and wants out, (who blames him) and question marks surround the future of Alshon Jeffery. Approaching the wrong side of 30, Alshon carries $26 million in dead money due to a guaranteed $10 million that was agreed upon earlier. Trading Jeffery to another team would be extremely challenging given his massive contract and cutting Jeffery would not elude paying him the $10 million he is due. To make matters worse, his availability is in question after undergoing Lisfranc surgery and he could very well miss a heavy dosage of games next year. The situation is less than ideal.
But there is hope.
The 2020 draft class in terms of wide receiver is special. Many mock drafts have as many as 6 receivers going in the first round. The last time 6 WRs went in the first round was 2014, the year the Eagles drafted Nelson Agholor with the 20th pick. The Eagles sit at the 21st pick in the draft this year and are sure to target a receiver. Barring a trade up, CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy would have already been taken and the Eagles would have to pray that Higgins or Ruggs falls to 21, or take the initiative to trade up a few spots in the draft. Henry Ruggs is a speed demon and has been clocked at 4.25 in an unofficial 40 yard dash. That kind of speed usually doesn’t drop to 21. My prediction is that the Eagles won’t be able to draft Ruggs, especially if he runs a sub 4.3 40 yard dash at the combine, something that he is more than capable of doing.
Even if the Eagles aren’t able to secure Ruggs, capable and talented receivers may still be available at 21. Tee Higgins, a tall, well rounded receiver, Brandon Aiyuk, a raw receiver with blazing speed, Laviska Shenault, a versatile receiver that can line up anywhere, and Justin Jefferson, a proven 6 footer, are just a few names that are floating around 21st pick.
Keep in mind, the Eagles don’t have to draft a WR first round. The beautiful thing about this draft is that the Eagles could draft a CB or an edge rusher at 21, and look for talented receivers in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. KJ Hamler, a Penn State product, is someone who the Eagles have been linked to and would be a perfect addition to the receiving core. Van Jefferson, a crisp route runner, is someone who the Eagles can target in the later rounds as well. Point is, there are a lot of options at WR in this draft and it would be hard for the Eagles to go wrong. In this scenario, let’s say the Eagles select Tee Higgins at 21.
Free Agency is another time period in which the Eagles could target a WR. Here are a few of the FA Wide Receivers:
- Amari Cooper
- AJ Green
- Robby Anderson
- Emmanuel Sanders
- Breshad Perriman
- Randall Cobb
- Chris Hogan
- Geronimo Allison
- Phillip Dorsett
- Demarcus Robinson
I would prefer the Eagles to spend big bucks on our secondary and to secure a guy like Logan Ryan. But if the Eagles play their cards right, they would have a lot of money and would able to sign a receiver. The Eagles have expressed interest in Robby Anderson and his combination of youth, speed and size is certainly something that is worth spending money on. How much money he wants may be the issue. He looks to be in the market for a 3 year/$40 million deal and while he may deserve it, the Eagles may not have enough money to sign him. It heavily depends on how they handle the entire Alshon Jeffery situation. Breshad Perriman came on strong at the end of the year and could also be a target for the Eagles. Back in 2015, he ran a 4.25 40 yard dash, and although he hasn’t really lived up to his potential, Wentz could benefit from a guy like him. The Eagles could also choose to sign make a subtle signing for a few million dollars and hope somecan can outplay his contract. The options are laid out for Howie Roseman and the front office. Let’s say the Eagles handle Jeffery’s contract and trade a 5th and Jeffery to another team as a salary dump and are able to sign Robby Anderson.
Potential (and my dream WR core): DeSean Jackson, Robby Anderson, Tee Higgins, Greg Ward Jr., JJ Arcega Whiteside, Van Jefferson
Now this may be a bit unrealistic, but it is not out of question. It would just have to mean that the Eagles either weren’t able to sign Logan Ryan, or were able to manage their cap space perfectly.
I would like to see DeSean Jackson have a limited workload this year. The Eagles may need to take a page out of the NBA’s book and “load manage” him a little bit just to make sure he’s healthy and ready to play in the important games. I’m not confident in his ability to play 16 games.
Carson Wentz is a generational talent and it is absolutely imperative that the Eagles make an effort to surround him with WR talent. He can only do so much with his TEs and RBs.
Bolstering the WR core is absolutely essential if the Eagles want to make a playoff run next year. Lucky for us, this is the year of the WR around the league, and there will be studs in the draft and in free agency. It’s up to Howie and the rest of the guys in the front office to make the correct decisions. And I believe they will.