The Philadelphia Eagles announced the team waived wide receiver Dorial Greenn-Beckham yesterday a year after acquiring him from the Tennessee Titans.
It was no secret that the Eagles were in dire need of a revamped wide receiver corps. Howie Roseman and co. did just that this past offseason. The Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith once free agency kicked off and then landed Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The writing was on the wall for Dorial Green-Beckham’s tenure in Philadelphia, we all knew that, but his release weeks before the start of Training camp sends the correct message to the team’s wide receiver room.
The Eagles surprisingly acquired Green-Beckham from the Titans last August, a year after the team spent a second-round pick on the receiver. The Eagles only gave up Dennis Kelly in the deal, but it was odd to see a team like the Titans, who still had an unsettled wide receiver corps, give up on Green-Beckham so soon. The Eagles found out exactly why during the 2016 season.
In his lone season in Philadelphia, Green-Beckham finished the season with a mere 36 receptions for 392 yards and two touchdowns as the team’s outside receiver. Talent wasn’t the main concern with Green-Beckham, especially after he showcased just how great he could be during his college career at Oklahoma and Missouri, it was his passion for the game.
Green-Beckham’s route running was often sluggish and he dropped four catchable passes on 74 targets. His effort has always been in question dating back to his collegiate career and hasn’t stopped since the troubled receiver entered the NFL in 2015. As a result, he’s already sent packing from his second team.
Green-Beckham’s potential has been well documented, but it wasn’t enough to earn him a roster spot like it would’ve this past season. That’s the message the Eagles’ brass should be sending to its current wide receiver room and it looks as if they are.
The Eagles aren’t settling for mediocrity from their wide receivers anymore. They invested big money on Jeffery just to secure him to a ‘prove-it’ deal. They signed Smith and invested two draft picks on receivers. These are Doug Pederson’s receivers now and Chip Kelly’s old crew has been put on notice.
The Eagles are fully prepared to lose Jordan Matthews if he opts for free agency next offseason. The team is also prepared if 2015 first-round pick Nelson Agholor never reaches his potential. Those are Kelly’s picks at receiver. If they want a future in Philadelphia, they’ll have to adapt to Pederson’s system in year two and prove to be better than they’ve shown last year. If either fail to do so, it looks as if the guy behind them is ready to take their spots.
Competition brings out the best in players is a line you always hear players say. Whether that’s a true statement or not is purely opinionated. The competition going on at receiver for the Eagles will cost more than just Green-Beckham his job, but others too.
Besides Jeffery, which all he has to do this season is play up to his capabilities while staying of PED’s, and he’ll get his contract to be Carson Wentz’s No. 1 receiver for years to come, all the other receivers on the team will be competing for a role. Smith is on a well documented short leash with his three-year deal. The Eagles hope he returns close to Baltimore form after two disappointing seasons in San Francisco and if he can’t, they’ll simply move on.
Matthews is in a contract year and despite his success as a slot receiver in Kelly’s offense, often struggled to find a specific role in Pederson’s west coast offense. Nursing injury, Matthews missed OTA’s which gave Agholor a chance to show his worth. After two very down seasons after being selected by the first-round by the Eagles, Agholor is ready to carve a role for himself instead of being asked to jump in and be the team’s No. 1 receiver off the bat.
If Agholor can’t improve his play, he’ll definitely follow in Green-Beckham’s footsteps. One of the most talked about rookies on the Eagles is Mack Hollins.
2 reasons why #Eagles cut DGB: Team high on 2nd-year WR Marcus Johnson (really strong offseason), rookie Mack Hollins.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) June 30, 2017
Of course a team is going to be high on one of their draft picks, but Hollins has some hype to him that has stemmed since the team drafted him in the fourth-round this past draft.
UNC WR Mack Hollins does some Mike Evans type things on tape. Big, athletic dude.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 25, 2017
Okay, no one is asking a fourth-round rookie to be the next Mike Evans, but the upside with Hollins is real and he’s been getting glowing reviews by coaches and players at OTA’s. He could be the Eagles future on the outside opposite of Jeffery or in the slot. Both spots don’t have a long-term answer to them as of yet.
Caplan also hinted to Marcus Johnson’s strong offseason, which could also send another important, yet honest message to the locker room. Just because you were drafted doesn’t mean one of the undrafted guys can’t take your spot. The Eagles could possibly carry six wide receivers on their 53 man roster. The sixth spot has become more interesting with Green-Beckham’s departure. Eagles rookie Gibson looks primed for that spot, but Johnson may have the shot to steal it underneath of him.
The Eagles were high on Johnson after he came to them as an undrafted free agent in 2016 out of Texas. Injuries derailed his preseason and ultimately cost him a spot on the 53 man roster, but a clean bill of health may put him in a position to make the team this upcoming season.
The Eagles receiving corps the past two seasons has been downright dreadful. The team realized it and enough was enough after the 2016 season. The revamped corps got a message yesterday, that being potential won’t guarantee a roster spot. That’s exactly the lesson this group needed.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports