Sunday, March 5, 2017

Eagles' Free Agent Plans at Wide Receiver

It is no big secret that one of Philadelphia’s most pressing needs this offseason is a major upgrade at the wide receiver position. The Birds tried to solve this problem a few years back by drafting Jordan Matthews in the second round of the 2014 draft before using a first round pick in 2015 to land Nelson Agholor. Both players have proven they can play at the next level, but neither one will ever be considered an elite wide receiver in the NFL.

After giving away the farm last year to move up and get Carson Wentz with the second overall pick of the 2016 draft, it is time to bring in some legitimate weapons to give the second-year quarterback a chance to live up to his potential. The quickest and easiest way to accomplish this goal is through free agency since you already know what you are getting in return for your money. With a number of high-profile wide receivers expected to test the free agent waters in the coming weeks, the question on every Eagles fan’s mind is which players they should go after.

DeSean Jackson was one of the most exciting wide receivers to ever play in Philly, but I do not think he is the answer should Washington decide to cut him loose. DJax would create a 'been there, done that' type of situation that could actually do more harm than good if he reverts back to some of his old selfish ways. Another name on the list could be Alshon Jeffery, who reportedly is looking to test the free agent market as opposed to staying in Chicago. That situation could turn into a bidding war with several teams and Philadelphia is not in the best of situations when it comes to NFL salary cap.

Moving down the list, names such as Kenny Britt (Los Angeles) and Kenny Stills (Miami) come to mind as potential targets. Both of these players are coming off big years which should boost their value on the open market. If I had to choose between the two, I see more upside in Stills given his relative youth.

Trade rumors surrounding New Orleans’ wide receiver Brandin Cooks have been linked back to Philadelphia, but it appears that New England has stepped to the forefront with an offer involving a first round pick.

A new name on the list could be Terrelle Pryor after he failed to come to terms on a new contract in Cleveland. Another Redskins' receiver that could find himself on the open market is Pierre Garcon, who has proven himself to be one of the more consistent players at his position. In this head-to-head matchup, I would opt for Pryor given his youth and incredible versatility as an all-around playmaker.

Brandon Marshall was given his walking papers by the New York Jets, but he is another wide receiver that comes with too much baggage to be a good fit in Philly. A few of the other big names on the potential free agent list include Victor Cruz (New York Giants) and Vincent Jackson (Tampa Bay), but neither of those two players can make the major impact that the Eagles need from a new No. 1 or even No. 2 receiver.

The bottom line in this whole situation is that team vice president Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson have their work cut out for them when the NFL starts its new business year on March 9. They could opt to try and fill this need with the draft, but that strategy is what has gotten the Birds into this situation in the first place. While I am not exactly sure which available free agent receiver I would go after, I would not break the bank to get a deal done. This position may be at the top of the list when it comes to offseason needs, but there are plenty of other holes to fill on this team if the Eagles have serious plans to be competitive in the NFC East next season.

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