In the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season, the Eagles made a move representative of their new vision. Sending Dennis Kelly to the Titans in exchange for second-year wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.
A low-risk, high-reward move that excited the fanbase as well as adding a perennial redzone threat for the Eagles, bolstering their receiving corps. 36 catches, 392 yards and two touchdowns later however, questions surrounding his long-term future are beginning to arise. The Eagles aren’t exactly blessed with cap space and could save a total of $944,418 if they release DGB..but the question is, should they?
At 6’5, 237 pounds, Green-Beckham had the potential to be redzone matchup nightmare for opposing Defenses, something he became rapidly during his time at Tennessee. With two redzone TD’s on fade routes and a 2-pt conversion, his strengths were clearly in an area where the Eagles needed help, after struggling in the redzone under Chip Kelly.
The issues with DGB were never physical, but issues that plagued his play since his days at the University of Missouri, which led to a transfer to Oklahoma. From two 100+ yard receiving games with the Titans to eight with under 50-yards and five without even catching a pass, DGB was inconsistent and his effort was called into question regularly.
At the time of the trade, Green-Beckham was being beaten out in Training camp by a fifth-round rookie. Combined with the previous character question marks, the breakout of Sharpe saw the Titans release their grip on DGB a little easier than many expected.
It was something that followed him to Philadelphia. After a quiet start to the season due to still learning the playbook, DGB exploded against the Seahawks and Packers, combining for 136 yards and a touchdown. In the remaining games that followed, he would record just 62 yards.
What makes that even more surprising, is how the Eagles receiving corps dissipated as time went on. Josh Huff was released, Nelson Agholor took time off to deal with his mental setbacks and Jordan Matthews battled injury. DGB had the perfect platform to thrive, but instead saw reps slip to Paul Turner and Bryce Treggs.
His effort was called into question by many in the game against the Giants, but as I broke down at the time, that had a lot more to do with the context of the game. Janoris Jenkins got extremely physical with the domineering wide receiver, something that the physically intimidating sophomore wasn’t used to. Once Jenkins found a way to get inside the head of DGB..he ran rampant.
Then there were times like the game against Detroit. Green-Beckham caught 75% of his passes for 43 yards, but was notably beaten by the 5’9, Nevin Lawson on an endzone fade route. That’s a six inch difference that DGB was unable to take advantage of.
However, there were positives in Green-Beckham’s play. After turning 30 of his 32 receptions into first downs in Tennessee, DGB moved the chains on 25 of 32 receptions when wearing midnight green. His YAC went from 133 to 149 and he actually caught 1% more of his targets..meaning his 6.9% drop rate also decreased as well, which is a strong sign for Eagles fans.
It’s been a tough year to judge for Dorial Green-Beckham. He flashed plenty of potential in big games once he had finally gotten most of the playbook down, but it was the inconsistencies and character concerns that again seemed to chain him down.
The Eagles clearly need help at the wide receiver position, but keeping a redzone threat like DGB around may make sense. Some fresh blood and a free agency veteran may spice up the level of competition and drive Green-Beckham to constantly meet the performance expectations we know he is able to exceed. For the sake of a $1M in the grand scheme of things, the Eagles are still left with a low-risk, high-reward player..and one that will now have a full offseason to train with the team and build a rapport with the quarterback.
The Eagles may decide to completely rebuild the WR corps or dispose of players who won’t cost them any money in dead space. But with a new wide receiver coach in Mike Groh, who has proven his ability to mold stars throughout his career, the physical intangibles and flashes of potential shown in 2016, may just convince the Eagles to give Dorial Green-Beckham one more lifeline.
Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports