When it comes to solving the Philadelphia Eagles’ needs at wide receiver, the best solution would be to do so by utilizing the NFL Draft, not the free agency period.
By now, we’ve all probably resigned ourselves to the idea that, come free agency, Golden Tate will no longer be a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. That means their current crop of wide receivers will include Jordan Matthews, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Shelton Gibson, and Alshon Jeffery.
You can probably already see where this is going, but let’s dig a little deeper anyway.
The skinny on Jeffery:
Jeffery is entering the second year of a four-year deal he signed after a successful inaugural season in Philly. He’s the best of their receivers at the moment and the most talented when healthy. He may also be the only recent evidence that Philly’s struck gold in using the free agency period to find a wideout.
Torrey Smith found some success during the 2017-18 season’s postseason, but he never evolved into what Philly wanted him to become. The jury’s been unable to deliberate on Mike Wallace.
You can’t grade the latter fairly due to his injury.
The skinny on Wallace:
Wallace signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with Philly on March 22nd of 2018. There’s no reason to believe Philly will bring him back for 2019, so we’ve answered our own question. This signing has to be seen as a failure.
The skinny on Matthews:
Matthews is an Eagle, but unfortunately, injury forced him to sit in football limbo when the New England Patriots gave him an injury settlement prior to training camp. That forced him to watch both of his former teams battle it out in Super Bowl 52 as he missed out on his chance for a ring.
He’s back in green but doesn’t offer enough pop for any of us to believe he’s solved Philly’s issues at wideout.
The skinny on Agholor:
Agholor will need a new deal after the 2019 season, and none of us are sure that it’s a certainty that he’ll be rewarded with one. Yes, he was good in 2017, but he was up and down in 2018 and awful in 2016. 2019 will be huge for his future as he’s, again, in a contract season.
The skinny on Gibson:
We’ve been waiting for Gibson to take the next step. We’ve been promised he would by coaches. We haven’t seen it. There’s no reason to believe he’ll evolve into Jerry Rice next season. To be honest, he’s not even DeSean Jackson.
Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com does amazing work, and he believes John Brown is a good candidate Philly could pursue in free agency. This isn’t a great year for free agent wide receivers as the best may be a guy who just played for Philly this past season, Golden Tate.
Here’s the thing though. The Eagles have shown no signs that they’re interested in keeping him around.
If ‘The Birds’ aren’t willing to invest in Tate, it’s hard to imagine why they would overspend on the likes of Geronimo Allison, Adam Humphries, Jamison Crowder, Cole Beasley, Dontrelle Inman, Randall Cobb, or Josh Gordon. It’s not an impossibility. It just doesn’t make sense.
Keep in mind the fact that guys like D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, Deebo Samuel, Kelvin Harmon, and Riley Ridley will all be available in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Many of those guys could be mid-round picks, and if Philly gets any of those guys later, they get a prospect who may not be any better or worse than someone they’d, no doubt, overpay for in free agency. They’d also save themselves a lot of money, and that’s something they need to be doing anyway.
Stay tuned. Things are going to get very interesting over the next couple of months.