The second stop on our journey through free agent targets takes us to the offensive side of the ball and more specifically, wide receiver.
We know the Eagles have a pressing need for speed heading into the offseason, but with such a deep draft class on the horizon and a positional salary cap situation that needs to be managed diligently, just how high up the free agency ladder will the Eagles be looking to climb?
Here are five targets to keep an eye on.
The priciest receiver set to enter the free agency pool, Eagles fans know all too well the caliber of player being discussed. Just seconds after he arrived in Dallas, Cooper elevated the offense almost instantly, going on to put up 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. However, through weeks 15-17, he seemed to cool off, and that was a theme that continued into 2019.
With a full offseason working with Dak under his belt, Cooper put up career-highs in every relevant category, bursting out of the gate with 4 touchdowns in as many games.
But then there was the opposite side of the coin. From injuries and effort questions to the disappearance against New England, and the fact that he failed to reach 100 yards in any all of his final seven games, pointed a little more towards inconsistency.
Cooper is an electric threat, but the Eagles already host substantial investment at the position and it’s hard to imagine them shifting Alshon (and his minimum $16M cap hit), or DeSean Jackson ($8.6M) just to make room for another extortionate WR contract.
I love Kendrick Bourne. The former UDFA only tallied 358 receiving yards on the year (thanks Emmanuel Sanders), but played a huge role down the stretch. He may have struggled with drops, but he has impressive speed for his 6’1, 190 lbs, frame, and was often lethal in red-zone situations.
The problem is, he’s a restricted free agent, meaning the Niners will likely place an original-round tender on him, all but making this signing a pipedream.
The top 5:
It’s easy to look at Dorsett’s career trajectory and be disappointed. After he was shot out of a cannon to New England in the trade that sent Jacoby Brissett to Indy, he struggled to carve out a role. His targets dropped from 60 to just 18 and while he’s been on the incline ever since, it’s clearly not worked out the way New England envisioned.
However, he’s still only 27-years old and is coming off his best season since his last as a Colt. Dorsett may be inconsistent, but he consistently flashes a quick release, impressive catch radius, and elite speed.
He’d likely be a cheap replacement for Nelson Agholor in the slot and the Eagles should have interest, but whether they’ll pull the trigger on someone who has had issues with drops, and can struggle to create separation through the stem, is a different question altogether.
If the Eagles want a player that can bring nothing but speed, speed, and more speed to the table, Dorsett is the budget option who is also viable on sweeps and reverses, something they had Agholor doing a lot of last year.
We all know the Eagles have a crush on Robby Anderson and it really isn’t hard to see why. The Temple product has developed into one of the best deep threats in the NFL, having just put together a season where he caught 52 passes for 779 yards and 5 touchdowns.
It’s hard not to fall in love with a player that has such a violent release. He surges off the line of scrimmage and can create separation with crisp cuts. But it’s what he does after tracking the ball that’s most impressive. His YAC ability is second to none and when the afterburners go on, look out.
He’s likely going to want a big-time payday, and whether or not the Eagles pay him or not depends on how they’ll aim to use him. It makes little sense to bring in a speedster WR2 when you have one in DeSean Jackson. Sure, DJax may have durability concerns, but you don’t pay $10M+ for a rotational insurance policy. If Anderson signs, it’s with the intent of moving outside after a year in the slot, replacing Jackson or cutting to the chase right away.
A former first-round pick, Perriman exploded back into life during the second half of 2019, showcasing what was once scintillating speed for someone who stands at 6’2, 215 lbs.
In 2019, he caught 36 passes for 645 yards and 6 scores, setting the stage for a second chapter in his NFL career, and a reason to look at the film.
After battling drops in college and a myriad of setbacks with Baltimore and Cleveland, he’s had zero drops on catchable passes over the last two years…which is really impressive. Perriman has become a really strong pair of hands, especially in contested situations. He high-points the ball really well and adjusts to its flight path accordingly (UnLiKe AgHoLoR) and is physical during the route-stem, brushing through contact and maintaining his stride.
There’s definitely a WR1 ceiling here and at least a reason to be optimistic that there’s gas in the tank. Perriman could be a nice piece for the Eagles and wouldn’t cost them an arm-and-a-leg, either.
Continued on page 2 below.