Three steps the Eagles need to take to transform receiving core

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The Eagles receiving core had a mixed season in 2015. Jordan Matthews stumbled early on but recovered well to achieve a season just three yards shy of a 1,000 yard season whilst Miles Austin’s season ended very prematurely. In between the stark contrasts lay inconsistencies, 43 dropped passes, tipped interceptions and constant frustration. So how can the Eagles ensure that history won’t repeat itself next season? Here are three moves that could turn an inconsistent unit into one of the most threatening in the NFL with the right Quarterback.

3) Trimming the fat
For the last two seasons, Riley Cooper has been one of the most disliked Eagles on the roster by fans. From the racism fiasco to constantly underperforming with the excuse of “having exceptional blocking ability”. However in 2015 he caught just 21 passes in comparison to his 55 receptions in 2014 and ended the season with just 327 yards and two touchdowns.

Cutting Cooper would free up $2.9m in cap space and make room for someone who will fit comfortably in Doug’s system. Who that is, we will get to very shortly.

Another player on the cusp always seems to be Josh Huff. Flashes of potential have often been clouded by under the radar performances. Trading Huff for some draft leverage may not only help the Eagles patch other wounds, but also give Pederson more room to build the Offense he wants as opposed to one he inherits. The WR position is currently crammed..and there certainly is some trimming to be done. Huff wouldn’t have a hard time sparking the interest of other a franchise looking to create a young and explosive receiving core he would fly, but that’s not what the Eagles need right now.

Seyi Ajirotutu’s contract also expires after he signed a one year deal back in April. Whilst he was effective on special teams, the potential of a return under a coach who doesn’t place as much emphasis on the unit is highly unlikely. Letting Ajirotutu walk isn’t the most controversial move in the planet and one most simply would struggle to disagree with.

So by this point we would have:
cut Cooper
traded Huff
let Ajirotutu walk

Freeing up three WR spots on the roster

2) Establishing a new balance
This is easily the most important aspect in transforming the unit. As it stands right now, there are only two wide receivers on the roster older than 24 years old.. Riley Cooper and Seyi Ajirotutu..yikes. Bringing in Greg Lewis as a coach has already given the Eagles some much needed veteran presence off the field, but the team definitely need it on the field.

The good news is that Free-Agency is brimming with high profile names. Now obviously between now and March anything can happen..but here are just some names who the Eagles should look at bringing in to finally install some balance in the team and give the young guys some on field leadership.

Travis Benjamin
Alshon Jeffery
Nate Washington
Jermaine Kearse

I’m not going to spend an hour finding in depth reasons as to why the Eagles should pursue these guys, we have a lot of time for those kinds of articles. What I’m doing here is merely mentioning names who would not only bring a spark to the Eagles receivers, but who could help the likes of Agholor and Matthews reach their true potential.

Signing an experienced receiver will definitely help in many aspects of the game, especially for the Quarterback. Having a proven, reliable pair of hands to throw to cannot be underestimated. If you only have one receiver who is making catches consistently, you end up with the 2015 Philadelphia Eagles and become predictable. Predictable is easy to defend against as the team instantly becomes one dimensional in the passing game. Adding just one big name to shake things up would relieve a lot of that stress..even if it’s on a short term deal.

1) Look deeper
Sure the draft is coming up and the name Laquon Treadwell is echoing around bars in Philadelphia, but there are much more pressing matters to address before thinking of taking yet another receiver in the first round. The Eagles actually have quite an impressive amount of depth at the’s just a case of utilising’s something Kelly didn’t do.

Jonathan Krause for instance was only given a shot towards the end of the season and whilst only catching two passes for 11 yards, showed a lot of potential. The route running was great, he’s physical and has already been subject of praise by his former coach Bill Belechick.

Behind Krause there’s Freddie Martino and of course anyone who the Eagles do decicde to draft or sign to their practice squad. The point is that there is already depth and talent at the position, but Chip was insistent on using the same pieces over and over until something happened.

It’s this same neglegence that saw Nelson Agholor escaping Revis island again and again, playing more snaps thany any receiver against the Jets yet receiving the fewest targets. Chip always had the talent, he just never played to their strengths.

Now we’re not saying this receiving core is fantastic because it isn’t. But Doug Pederson and the Eagles Personnel staff are obviously favoring potential over performances..that’s something the Eagles have in an abundance. In that mindset, keeping the likes of Cooper and Ajirotutu is hard to justify..Huff a little less so.

But by replacing these guys with more experienced receivers who perhaps know a West-Coast Offense well or have played in the big games will benefit the team hugely. Two free-agents, some rotation for Krause & Martino and potentially a draft pick would definitely be enough to build around the player with the most potential in this receiving core..Jordan Matthews. Not only do you strengthen the entire core and give the Quarterback more options, but you raise the ceiling of your top receiver that much more..and if there’s one thing the Eagles have been missing under Kelly, it’s a defiant number one receiver. But under Pederson, they have a guy with all of that potential..they just need the right keys to unlock it.