To say that Jalen Reagor was underwhelming in 2021 would be an understatement. With a measly 299 yards to his name, the second-year wideout started the season with the largest of expectations and ended with the most disappointing of results. But what should the next move realistically be?
The truth is that the Eagles have been here before. It’s very easy to draw comparisons to Nelson Agholor. The once-troubled Eagles draft pick battled the same kind of setbacks that Reagor did and after some time away from the spotlight, rebounded to help bring the Eagles a Lombardi in remarkable fashion.
The Eagles moved Nelson Agholor to the slot after his struggles and it seemed to work perfectly. That same experiment was applied to Jalen Reagor this offseason, but it started and ended there. Quez Watkins featured as the primary slot weapon and Reagor, once again, struggled on the outside.
It’s been two years now and the needle on Reagor is yet to move. The issue now is that the Eagles have a devout #1 receiver and his name is not Jalen. DeVonta Smith exploded out of the gates as a rookie, picking up where he left off in his Heisman-winning year at Alabama, turning heads and showing all the traits of being an elite wideout down the line.
So what does all of this mean for Reagor?
A change of heart
Perhaps the biggest possibility is that he moves position. If the Eagles give him one more opportunity to shine and transition him to the slot, it would allow them to search the free agency market for a devout X-receiver, such as Mike Williams or Allen Robinson, to partner DeVonta Smith. The problem there is that Quez Watkins, as of right now, absolutely deserves to start ahead of Reagor, and bumping him down the pecking order on nothing but a prayer seems counter-productive.
This sounds great in theory, but how many NFL teams would really want to take a chance on a wideout who has shown nothing worth trading for? As trade fodder, sure, he may have some value, but in that case it probably would behoove the Eagles to just keep him around and go with the following option.
If Nick Sirianni is truly the WR whisperer, then it would make all the sense in the world to pull Reagor from the spotlight. It doesn’t matter who fills his vacancy. Whether it’s a proven vet, another rookie, or an existing teammate. What matters is the Eagles get more production from that Z-spot and allow Reagor to work away from the pressures that seem to weigh on his shoulders so much, take on a reduced role, and hone his craft.
If Reagor can become a rotational player who contributes on gadget plays, or someone that can line up in specific formations, then it enables him to do a lot less, lowering expectations and giving him a path to redemption.
The idea of Jalen Reagor fielding punts and running routes for the Eagles in 2022 may not be the most appealing, but what other options do they have that don’t negatively impact a correlating aspect of the WR room?
Reagor is young and has flashed the potential we all know he has. Nick Sirianni was brought in as the WR guru. It’s time to consider Reagor his first reclamation project and his progress next year a true indicator of Sirianni’s ability to develop young talent.
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