As each day passes, it looks more and more like Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is going to hit the open market. While seeing Maclin leave would be difficult, after trading away LeSean McCoy, anything is possible.
Whether or not it’s the fact that Chip Kelly is trying to bring in his own guys, or Maclin wants too much money, it is very possible the Eagles are going to have to replace a top receiver for a second year in a row.
With the likelihood of a trade up in the draft and needs at other positions, drafting a wide receiver in the top two rounds doesn’t seem feasible at this point. Only Josh Huff, Jordan Matthews, and Riley Cooper remain as the top three guys, leaving the need for a number one receiver open.
Names like Dez Bryant and Torrey Smith come up when you talk about guys in free agency, but one other name that many forget, and one that would be perfect in a Chip Kelly offense is former Green Bay Packers receiver, Randall Cobb.
Cobb appears to be headed to hit free agent. The veteran pass-catcher is looking for a nice pay increase, and while the Packers were willing to work with him, it doesn’t appear likely the two sides will work something out before March 10.
Since Cobb didn’t sign a new deal with the Packers, and with the possibility that there will be better deals available in the near future, it is expected that the wide receiver will wear a new uniform in 2015.
With the Eagles opening up $36-million just this last week, there is no question that they could afford Cobb and still be able to bring in guys like Byron Maxwell and Devin McCourty as well if they wished.
Cobb is younger, fits what Chip Kelly wants to do, and is coming off his best year to date, and this is while having to compete for touches with Jordy Nelson.
Cobb has been the Packers’ most dependable wide receiver since entering the league as he led the team in catch percentage every year, ranging from 72.8% to 80.6% according to Pro Football Focus. He was top 2 in this category three straight years (2011-2013) and finished 10th last year.
Now looking at the game tape, and there are plenty of other examples, but here, I’ll just go through a couple.
Photo Credit: NFL Game Rewind
In my first example I look to prove that Cobb fits exactly what the Eagles do. Here the Packers line up in a simple 31 formation(three wide receiver, one running back). Cobb begins the play lined up in the slot where he lined up a league-high 501 times in 2014, 54 more than second place Eagles Jordan Matthews. This number represents 87.3% of all his routes.
The cornerback in this situation has to respect the deep route allowing Cobb to get open underneath. From this simple flat route, Cobb then goes 35-yards for a touchdown. The play does get called back to the 18 yard line as it was ruled that Cobb barely touched the side line.
This just goes to show that Cobb can take a short route and turn it into a big play, he did rank third in the NFL last season with 24 receptions that went for 20 or more yards. Screens such as these are something the Eagles do quite often making Cobb a perfect fit.
Photo Credit: NFL Game Rewind
Cobb is also versatile as the Packers have lined him up in the backfield several times as shown here against the Rams. On this particular play, Rodgers hands the ball off to Cobb who in turn breaks a tackle and runs for 19 yards.
In Cobb’s four years with the Packers he had 27 carries for 252 yards with his longest carry being 67 yards.
Cobb also had success running the ball against the Seahawks in 2012 taking a carry for 20 yards as well as against the Bears where he took a sweep play for 28.
Chip Kelly loves dictating matchups on offense, and Cobb would allow him to do just that with his versatility to line up anywhere on the field.
Eagles fans have begged for Chip Kelly to line Jordan Matthews up on the outside, and signing a player like Cobb who excels in the slot would allow him to do that, as it would give Matthews a good complement.
Other possibilities that may not cost as much, could be to sign Percy Harvin, trade for Tavon Austin, or even stick with Josh Huff to do what Cobb can. However, the fact of the matter is, and the stats back it up, Cobb is the best at what he does.
With over $50-million in cap space the Eagles are left with a lot of options, Cobb being one of them. Will the Eagles swap one 18 for another? It’s only a matter of time before we find out.
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