Jarvis Landry makes perfect sense for the Eagles if they want a WR3 upgrade

CLEVELAND, OH – JANUARY 09: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) leaves the field following the National Football League game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns on January 9, 2022, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

With Jarvis Landry drawing plenty of attention from NFL teams as a free agent, is it time for Howie Roseman to throw his hat into the ring?

The Philadelphia Eagles are saying all the right things when it comes to the pecking order on the wide receivers’ depth chart. Quez Watkins remains locked into a starting spot in the slot. He did a lot of things that didn’t “show up in the stat sheet with how he stretches the field,” according to head coach Nick Sirianni.

Watkins was also dealing with a Grade 2 left shoulder sprain for half the season, plus the speedster from Southern Miss was fighting for targets among a loaded group of pass-catchers featuring A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert. He finished with only 33 receptions for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns, down significantly from his 2021 campaign. Fair or not, Watkins has been the subject of fan frustration and trade rumors.

Jarvis Landry could be a perfect solution

One name at the tip of everyone’s tongue is Jarvis Landy, a five-time Pro Bowler who remains unsigned in free agency. The 30-year-old is coming off his worst statistical season as a professional but he was nursing an ankle sprain throughout the year. Looking at his drool-worthy resume — and Guinness World Record for most one-handed catches — it’s hard not to get excited about the possibility of seeing him in Sirianni’s offense.

Landry is almost too perfect to pass up as another “lottery ticket” hiding in plain sight, ready for Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to stash in his wallet and cash in.

“I think that for us when you’re looking at these one-year guys, we want some high-upside guys,” Roseman told reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting. “We want some guys that have traits in their bodies. Guys that we had a like for at some point in time. So when you’re talking about those guys, they’re young guys who have upside.”

Landry checks every box there except the youth requirement. At age 30, he is clearly on the downswing of his borderline Hall of Fame career. Yet, if Roseman could sign him to a one-year contract for $3 million, it could be his best and sneakiest move to date.

3 Pros for Eagles Signing Jarvis Landry

Is he the league’s most dangerous slot receiver?

There was a time not that long ago when Jarvis Landry was the most dangerous slot receiver in the NFL. Pro Football Focus crunched the numbers: his 3,938 receiving yards, 1,748 yards after the catch, 1,166 yards after contact, and 91 explosive receptions topped everyone lined up in the slot from 2015-2020. That’s not just good, it’s dominant.

Jarvis Landry could provide some veteran leadership to the Eagles

Team player. Savvy veteran. Willing to do whatever. These are all traits applied to Jarvis Landry who has been a model citizen in every locker room he’s entered. He once offered to field punts and risk injury as a four-time Pro Bowler in Cleveland. And he was heard yelling encouragement (via The Athletic) at Odell Beckham Jr.: “Lead, lead, lead. Even when it hurts, lead.”

An affordable price tag

Look, the cost of doing business is a thing that cannot be overstated. Zach Pascal just left Philly for Arizona on a two-year, $4.5 million contract. Landry would be a significant upgrade in the slot and his price tag wouldn’t be too much higher.

3 Cons for Eagles Signing Jarvis Landry

The best kind of ability is availability…

The only real concern the Eagles should have about signing Jarvis Landry is his well-documented injury history and advancing age. He’ll turn 31 in November — still younger than you probably would have guessed — and soft tissue injuries are starting to catch up with him. He has missed 13 games over the past two seasons due to knee and ankle issues.

The Eagles still have one cheap year from Quez Watkins

Watkins is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract — one that pays him $2.7 million in 2023 — so there is no need to add another salary to the room. The Eagles have holes to fill elsewhere, plus every penny saved will help ensure a long-term deal gets done for Jalen Hurts.

Is he a home-run threat?

The role of a slot receiver has changed a bit. Tall targets with sure hands once defined the position (see: Jason Avant) but nowadays teams like speedy options there to stretch the field. And win 1-on-1 matchups against nickel corners for touchdowns, much like Watkins did in Super Bowl LVII — if only he could have completed the catch. Jarvis Landry isn’t fast, not even when he was young. He ran the 40 in 4.77 seconds at the 2014 Combine.

Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire