Can the Eagles afford to take another chance on Alshon Jeffery?

Can Alshon really be a major part of this offense going forward? That’s the question that many find themselves asking after a slightly surprising turn of events. The Eagles veteran wideout is currently recovering from a Lisfranc injury that occurred last year, but that hasn’t stopped the 30-year-old receiver dominating headlines for the Eagles this offseason.

There were rumors of him being unhappy with his current QB, the trade speculation, and the ‘alshonymous sources’ scenario that continued to whizz around, but it seems that they have all been put to rest…at least internally.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman came out recently to address the elephant in the room and said “Alshon’s got to get healthy. That’s the No. 1 priority, for us and for him. He understands, he knows what’s being said about him. He understands that he’s got a lot to prove and he’s anxious to do that. So he’s not living in a bubble, he understands that.”

He followed that statement by mentioning that “He understands how people feel about him right now, and he’s not sitting there feeling sorry for himself. Alshon’s a good player. I think that we lose sight of that a little bit.” There no doubt that when Alshon is healthy, he’s a big weapon for the offense on the outside. In fact, there’s an interesting stat that shows just how valuable Wentz has been to Jeffery.

Our very own, Chris Infante recently research just how instrumental Wentz has been to Jeffery’s success in Philly. While Alshon has had highlight moments with former Super Bowl MVP, Nick Foles, it seems that Jeffery has been more productive with the QB that he has been rumored to be criticizing. With Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery has 17 touchdowns in 33 games. With Nick Foles, he has 5 touchdowns in 6 regular-season games, and their postseason runs together.

It’s not farfetched to believe that Wentz can benefit from having a big target such as Jeffery on the field with so much speed surrounding him, but will he really be a major part of the offense as the Eagles insiders are declaring him to be?

Jeffery may not be available to return from his injury until about week 6 or week 7, which means that the offense will have to rely on their young receivers again. Fortunately, DeSean Jackson is expected to be ready for week 1 of this season.

Pederson and company will have to gameplan for JJ Arcega-Whiteside to fill the “Alshon Jeffery” role, but he may decide to go all-out on speed, having rapid wideouts out there with his two big tight ends. That option seems more ideal. It’s very much like the offense that Kansas City runs – the same offense that just brought the Lombardi trophy to Arrowhead Stadium.

If that happens, can they then bring back Jeffery into a full-time role? If the offense is firing off on all cylinders by the point of his return, would Doug Pederson be that careless and risk disrupting it? Obviously, we are months away from this even happening but the reality of how much Roseman and company are talking up Jeffery to the public is a bit odd to me. I’m not 100% convinced that Jeffery will be wearing midnight green again but I’m also not convinced that they’ll move on from him either.

Jeffery carries a whopping $26M dead cap penalty if he’s cut, or a $15.9M hit if traded. Convincing a team to take that on for a player who will miss the opening portion of the season and brings character concerns with him isn’t exactly easy.

Alshon Jeffery was Roseman’s big 2017 offseason signing alongside Torrey Smith. Howie was very quick to move on from Torrey Smith due to his age and his declining abilities but Jeffery is a different animal. Alshon declared that the Eagles would win a Super Bowl. He also declared that Wentz would be an MVP which he technically was until he was robbed of it. Alshon was a staple to that 2017 team, he played his heart out while barely being able to lift his arm above his shoulder.

Jeffery had that heartbreaking drop against New Orleans that put the brakes on a possible Super Bowl run in 2018. The city felt his pain and was empathetic for him. So why would Alshon speak out about his QB1? Why would he risk the city turning on him for the sake of wanting Nick Foles at the helm even though the numbers say otherwise?

Some may believe it wasn’t him but others can’t, especially after the confrontation with a teammate in the locker room after the rumor came out. Especially with Eagles insiders coming out saying that the Eagles know it was him and they don’t want him in the building anymore. This would at least make the meeting between Alshon and Roseman seem logical. My sole question is ‘can the franchise really trust this renewed Alshon Jeffery?’ Would you trust him around the young and impressionable receivers that are heading into their rookie seasons? I don’t know, I’m just as torn as you.

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

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