By now I am sure you have all read one article or another about the Eagles interest in a certain free agent wideout. Be it the return of Desean Jackson or the Eagles going after superstar Alshon Jeffery, the rumor mill has been ripe with stories linking the Eagles with playmakers on the outside.
We won’t know if any of these rumors are true until free agency actually kicks off. But just who is the most suited free agent wide receiver? Very few receivers are the complete package..so what should the Eagles do once free agency opens?
The 6’3, 220 lbs, monster has been a true playmaker ever since he walked into the NFL..when healthy. With the great mix of size and speed, to go along with an amazing catch radius, he has the look of a number 1 WR, for the Eagles, or any team for that matter. The thought of Jeffery, Ertz, And Matthews in the same offense is intriguing..and one that could be a plan for the front office. At just 26-years old Jeffery still has plenty of upside and of course most notably worked with new Eagles WR Coach Mike Groh..having his most successful season’s under his presence. If he can channel that inner form once again and surge under Groh, Philadelphia could well prove as a second chance for the Chicago Bear.
Since being drafted in 2012, Jeffery has struggled with a few different injuries, ranging from a broken hand, to a groin issue. His physical style of play leads him to being nicked up a lot and although the Eagles need an injection of physicality, they also need a WR who will play all 16 games. Aside from his injury issues, he will likely be the most expensive of the WR’s on the market and with the Eagles cap space, could prove to be a problem.
Stills could just be the deep threat that the Eagles have been searching for and could be the guy who changes the fortunes of the wideout core. He had 42 receptions for 726 yards, and 9 touchdowns, with a longest catch of 74 yards in 2016..so his deep threat ability is on display weekly. Stills, is also a WR that plays with a little bit of a nasty streak and could help give the birds’ a real boost on offense.
Despite him being a difference maker, he disappears at times, going stretches in a game(s) without a catch. Also, one has to wonder why a weapon like this has been traded once and hasn’t yet received a new contract. Although the Dolphins are stacked on the outside, Stills could also be a product of free-agency, in the sense that he will be overpaid due to multiple teams clambering for a difference maker. The last thing the Eagles need to do is overpay on another free-agent.
In his 9 year career, Garcon has been very productive and one of the better WR’s in the NFL. Over the years, he has carved out a great career as a pass-catcher, with the guts to play over the middle and fight for contested passes. Garcon would immediately give the Eagles WR corps a real boost, serving as a veteran presence for the younger players, all while giving QB Carson Wentz another weapon to pick apart defenses.
Would signing Garcon be considered more of a Band-Aid move, or an addition of talent? My guess, is somewhere in between. Garcon is 30 years old and although it isn’t old, cit ould mean he only has a few more years of service to offer. There are players who play until their mid-30s, so it isn’t out of the question he plays another five seasons, but is he worth the chance? Carson Wentz needs weapons he can grow with as he develops, and a 30 year old WR might not be the way the Eagles want to go..given they already have a slot matchup nightmare in Jordan Matthews.
The idea of Jackson coming back to the city that drafted him out of college makes for a great storyline. One that could prove a positive one for Jackson and the Eagles alike. Even at 30, he offers the true deep threat, playmaker ability the Birds’ have needed since his departure 3 seasons ago. In addition to his deep ability, Jackson offers a weapon in the special teams as well (Miracle in the Meadowlands 2). With his return, Jordan Matthews could go back to being the number 2 WR, which in turn give the offense a great one-two combo on the outside.
Maybe you don’t remember, but Jackson was a distraction at times, rather it being about his contract or not being targeted enough, Jackson can be seen as a “Diva” at times. Considered a problem at times, do the Eagles really want that type of issue, to stunt the growth of their young franchise (Wentz)? Aside from this, he is the same age as Pierre Garcon, so the Eagles would be wise to keep his age in consideration.
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports