Jalen Reagor has endured struggles both on and off the field through his first two years. His battles adapting to the NFL level have been well documented, but his wars against social media trolls, a habit to become his own worst enemy, and the fact he lost two people very close to him in that span have only further complicated his life. The Eagles may have placed him in the perfect situation this offseason.
Jalen Reagor has struggled at the NFL level
Reagor’s production through his opening two NFL seasons has been nothing short of dismal. 695 yards and 3 touchdowns for a former first-round pick just isn’t good enough, especially for a player who will be forever intertwined with Justin Jefferson. Howie Roseman’s decision to aggressively trade for A.J Brown may have been the kind of medicine the Doctor ordered.
The similarities between Jalen Reagor and Nelson Agholor are obvious. Both are former first-round picks who struggled with the mental side of football during their opening two seasons. Doug Pederson actually benched Agholor in year two, taking him out of the spotlight and allowing him to get out of his own head with the support of his teammates.
Agholor responded with a huge season in 2017 and played a key cog in the team that eventually went on to win it all. On top of that, he proved he still has untapped potential as a wideout for the Raiders, posting 896 yards in 2020. A 473-yard season in 2021 for the Pats wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t exactly awful given his role.
The names and faces may be different, but the ethos has to be the same here.
The Eagles won’t quit on Reagor
The coaching staff and players have done nothing but speak glowingly of Jalen Reagor. The team had all the time and opportunity in the world to trade the TCU product this offseason, but they didn’t budge. Cutting him wouldn’t have made much sense due to cap-related reasons, but it’s not like the Eagles weren’t constantly in trade talks where a low-risk, high-reward player could’ve been used as a sweetener.
Instead, Reagor will no longer have the spotlight fixed upon him. The players drawing that will be DeVonta Smith and A.J Brown, two pros in every sense of the word who bring a level-headed mentality and infectious hunger to the table that may only better Reagor in the long run. Even if he only plays 20% of snaps this year, he can do so without the weight of the world on his shoulders.
The long-term future for Reagor in Philadelphia is murky and we probably won’t ever see him line up as a WR1/2 again unless injuries play a factor. But Nick Sirianni is the WR whisperer and if he can elevate Reagor’s game to a point where he’s at least appealing to other teams, then the Eagles can at least get some return on their investment, and Reagor can go on to carve himself an NFL career that may have otherwise disappeared.
There’s no expectation, there’s no external pressure. The eye of Sauron has moved on and the unlikely hobbit can complete the rest of his journey. With a wise wizard able to guide him along the way, would it really be the end of the world to see Jalen Reagor partake in a chunk of snaps and have 200-400 yards receiving, knowing he comes out of it mentally tougher and in a position where he has something to build on?
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