Nelson Agholor hasn’t performed like a first round wide receiver should. Jordan Matthews is a limited slot receiver. Dorial-Green-Beckham has little to no idea how to play the wide receiver position. A fragile Ryan Mathews is the “starting” running back in a backfield that features what seems to be a new running back every series.
Other than that, Carson Wentz had a lot of talent around him in 2016. No seriously, you could make an argument that the Eagles had the worst starting skill positions in the entire NFL in 2016. Their biggest need that stood out, offensively at least, is a true, number one, go to wide receiver.
Nearly every single pending free agent wide receiver has been linked to the Eagles. Most probably aren’t true, and agents across the league are aware it’s widely known the Eagles are in dire need of an upgrade, or two, at the receiver position, so they leak the Eagles having “interest” in their clients. You see it happen every offseason in every sport.
One name linked to the Eagles is Alshon Jeffery. If you’re reading this, you’re more than likely an Eagles fan, and you’ve probably read multiple reports stating the Eagles high interest in the pro bowl wide receiver.
Back during the season, the Eagles reportedly tried to trade for Alshon Jeffery near the trade deadline so they could work out a deal mid-season and not have to deal with a bidding war like they might end up doing this upcoming free agency period.
So the interest seems to be there. Jeffery, just 27, could be Carson Wentz’s go-to-guy, the next 3,4 even 5 years.
Jeffery could also fail a drug test and be suspended 10 games, or maybe Jeffery will continue to live on the injury report and miss what seems to be every other game during the season. Is Alshon Jeffery talented? Absolutely. Is he worth Julio Jones money? If you answered yes, you’re lying to yourself.
Yes, the Eagles have a need at wide receiver. Yes, there should be an emphasis on surrounding Carson Wentz with weapons. Yes, Alshon Jeffery would be fun to pair with Carson Wentz.
The other side of the argument?
Well, one, let’s factor in cap space. The Eagles currently have the 4th lowest cap space available in the entire NFL.
“What about freeing up space? They can cut some players to make room!”
Yes, the Eagles can make some room, but signing Jeffery to $15 million per season sort of hinders the Eagles from doing much else in 2017 and beyond.
Beyond? What’s that?
Looking ahead to the 2018 season, the Eagles are the ONLY team in the NFL that is projected to have NEGATIVE cap space. Yes, the cap will rise, yes, cuts and restructures can happen, but the fact is, the Eagles are currently projected to have $100 million less than the Detroit Lions in cap space in 2018. And that is before signing Alshon Jeffery, if they were to do so.
There are many WR options for the Eagles that require less money, and less investment. When you sign a big time free agent, pressure, scrutiny, and unnecessary drama is brought to a team. If Jeffery is signed and underperforms, then what? Eventually the Eagles won’t be able to continue giving large contracts to free agents that are on the trade block two years later for underperforming.
Last year, Howie Roseman worked his magic and landed Carson Wentz. Carson Wentz is now their franchise QB. But remember, franchise QB’s aren’t here for one year, they’re here for 10 plus years (ideally). Surrounding talent that Wentz can grow with doesn’t all need to happen in one year. Be patient and build this thing right.