Friday, March 10, 2017

Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith Bolster Eagles' Receiving Corps

Last week I posted a piece on the Eagles' options to improve their receiving corps through free agency and on the first day of the new free agent season they came through in a big way by agreeing to a one-year deal with former Chicago wide receiver Alshon Jeffery after already inking Torrey Smith to a three-year deal as a free agent receiver out of San Francisco.

In that post, I questioned Philly's ability to land a high-profile player like Jeffery given the team's current strains on the NFL salary cap, but it started the process of making some room by releasing fan-favorite defensive end/linebacker Connor Barwin and his $7.75 million hit on the cap. It takes hard decisions to win in the free agent game and the mentality of this team appears to lean towards helping the offense at the expense of the defense. Standout defensive lineman Benny Logan was already given his walking papers which has to raise some concern for a unit that finished the regular season in the middle of the pack in total yards allowed.

Do not get me wrong, the addition of both Jeffrey and Smith immediately upgrades a passing offense that was 24th in the NFL in yards per game and it gives second-year quarterback Carson Wentz both a big target that can come down with the jump ball as well as a speedster that can bring the deep ball back into play. These moves also help to turn up the heat on Jordan Matthews to up his game as possibly the third-best receiver on this team right now. Rest assured that the heat will also get turned up pretty high on Wentz if he does not take full advantage of his two new weapons.

The Eagles still need to address their running game and there are more than a few holes on defense that could turn into huge craters if team vice president Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson do not start doing a much better job with the draft. I would not look for anymore big splashes in free agency given that the Eagles' cap situation could still be called tenuous at best, but they should be able to add a few pieces here and there to keep things moving in the right direction.

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