As the offseason rumbles on and Howie Roseman continues to make moves, there’s one that has seemed inevitable from the off – parting ways with Alshon Jeffery. Of course, this was always going to be problematic. At 30-years-old, Jeffery carries a whopping $26M dead cap penalty if he’s cut, or a $15.9M hit if traded. In the mind of just about every Eagles fan on the planet, this feels like a necessary step to take. If that’s the case then why is Alshon still an Eagle?
After the new CBA was locked into place, it actually gave the Eagles some leverage to spread that dead-money out over two years if they cut Jeffery. He remained on the roster.
The Eagles could try and trade Jeffery, but the market value for a 30-year old wideout who has been constantly linked with locker room drama and is coming off of a dismal year which ended in an injury that could linger is next to nothing. Oh, and then there’s the cap-hit.
Howie Roseman hosted a conference call on Thursday to discuss the free agency rollercoaster so far, referring to Alshon as ‘the Elephant in the room’. Clearly, Roseman understands the weight that this situation carries…which is what makes his response so interesting.
Roseman’s main concern seemed to be the health of Alshon, who suffered a significant foot-injury in week 14 against the Giants. Health is all well and good, but it doesn’t really explain the 13 weeks before that, his 43-catch, 490-yard season, or any of the ‘anonymous source’ shenanigans.
Those shenanigans are the main reason why there’s such a pitchfork mentality surrounding Alshon Jeffery. There was never a clear yes/no answer as to whether Alshon was the anonymous source constantly slandering his quarterback, but he was by far the most logical explanation.
When speaking with our writer Nick Faria ahead of episode two of the brand new ‘Birds in Focus’ podcast, ESPN’s John McMullen, stated that he doesn’t expect the Eagles to do anything until he’s fully healthy (which makes sense) but could also be around the midseason mark. There’s also a belief…wait for it…that he was not the anonymous source.
Keeping Alshon is by far the most cost-efficient option, but is it the most likely? It felt like only yesterday that every beat writer and his Dog was exuding as much confidence as Shane McMahon when discussing his inevitable departure. But Roseman’s focus on Alshon’s health presents a very different reality.
It may just be that Jeffery can’t undergo a physical elsewhere due to the current lockdown. It could be that Alshon is being shopped around as a deal-sweetener. Or maybe, just maybe, Howie Roseman isn’t quite ready to let go of the man of who recorded 73 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl 52, and a pair of scores in the NFC Championship Game.
There have been reports of player interventions that demanded accountability and made sure that the ‘anonymous source’ situation would never repeat itself. Maybe this was the case and the Eagles just feel obliged to keep Alshon around. In a worst-case scenario, it means they can focus on names like Henry Ruggs at the other receiver spot in the draft, while Arcega-Whiteside has a shot under the shadows of Jeffery in year 2.
Whatever the Eagles decide to do, it has to be the right call for the betterment of the team. Not for Alshon. Not for Howie. Not for the fans. The team.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports