Eagles

A look through 10 possible free-agent WR targets for Eagles

A look through 10 possible free-agent WR targets for Eagles

There have been plenty of reports already this offseason linking the Eagles' to soon-to-be free agent wide receivers. 

Not a big shocker. 

The Eagles, thanks to an unbelievably inadequate group of receivers in 2016, will continue to be linked to anyone with a pulse who can catch footballs. Already, we've heard Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Kenny Stills. There will be more. 

While talking in Mobile, Alabama, last month at the Senior Bowl, Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman hinted toward his preference to signing a free agent rather than trying to draft one, but it doesn't mean the Eagles won't do both. 

"I think if you take out the 2014 wide receiver class and you look at this, it's really been historically a tough position to acclimate in the National Football League," Roseman said about the class in 2014 that included Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks. "It hasn't been a plug-and-play position. And I think that class changed everyone's thoughts a little bit, but the reality is we have years of data that it's a hard position to come into the National Football League and contribute at, that it's a developmental position and you have to look at it when you're drafting guys in that perspective."

That doesn't necessarily mean the Eagles won't draft a receiver; it just means they won't rely on filling the hole by only drafting. They're very likely to sign a receiver in free agency. 

Here's a look at 10 options, in no particular order: 

Alshon Jeffery
Jeffery (6-3, 218) just turned 27 on Tuesday and seems to have a lot of really good football ahead of him. In 2013-14, he caught 174 passes for 2,554 yards and 17 touchdowns. Since then, Jeffery played just nine games in 2015 and missed four games last year with a PED suspension. But forget all that. He's the best receiver on the market and he's going to get paid this offseason. 

For the Eagles: Sure, Jeffery would be a great fit on the field, but the price might drive the Eagles out of contention. 

Pierre Garçon
Garçon is 30 and will turn 31 in August. He's been a pretty good receiver throughout his career, with a peak in 2013. In 2016, he had another solid season, with 79 catches for 1,041 yards and three touchdowns. Not bad. 

For the Eagles: Not sure this would be a home run for the Eagles. Sure, he would make them better in 2017, but he's not the explosive type of player the team desperately needs. 

Victor Cruz
Give Cruz credit. It looked like his career might be over until he returned in 2016 to catch 39 passes for 586 yards and a touchdown. Not great numbers but certainly better than what the Eagles had last year. Cruz is 30. 

For the Eagles: Doesn't make much sense (see story). Cruz doesn't appear to have much left and is a better fit in the slot. That's where Jordan Matthews has already established himself for the Eagles. 

Kenny Britt
At 28, Britt is coming off his first 1,000-yard season in 2016 just in time to hit the market as a free agent. Britt had some off-the-field troubles early in his career but seems to have moved past that. He posted highs in receptions and receiving yards last season and is a pretty good deep threat. 

For the Eagles: Sure, Britt should be on their radar. He can stretch the field some and is somewhat of a proven commodity, although they shouldn't expect the type of season he had in 2016 again. 

DeSean Jackson
Yeah, you're already pretty familiar with DeSean. The most amazing thing about him is he's 30 now but hasn't lost his big-play ability. The speed is still there. In his three years in Washington, he's averaged 19.0 yards per catch. In his six years in Philly, he averaged 17.2. He's actually getting better as a deep threat as he ages. 

For the Eagles: Yeah, a reunion makes plenty of sense. Jackson is aging but is also the type of big-play receiver the Eagles have missed since they had … DeSean Jackson. It also seems like he wants to come back. Again, price might get in the way. How much will the Eagles be willing to pay a 30-year-old speed receiver and what type of deal will Jackson be offered elsewhere? 

Kamar Aiken
Aiken (6-2, 213) is coming off a season where he caught just 29 passes for 328 yards and a touchdown. That's a disappointment after a 75-catch, 944-yard season in 2015. His 2016 season was bad for him, but could be good for teams who want a bargain. 

For the Eagles: Aiken is a lesser free agent compared to others and his 12.0 yards per reception average isn't great, but there's some potential there and a bargain could be something the Eagles are interested in. He was forced to play the slot in 2016, but I'm not sure that's where he fits best. 

Terrelle Pryor
Pryor, the 6-4, 223-pound former quarterback, had an impressive 2016 season, establishing himself as a real threat as a receiver in the NFL. He caught 77 balls for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. He's 27 but appears far from reaching his potential. He's among the top available receivers. 

For the Eagles: If Pryor actually hits the market, the Eagles should be interested. But it seems kind of unlikely that's going to happen. The Browns should either franchise him or try to sign him long-term. 

Robert Woods
Woods, 6-0, 190, has been pretty consistent since entering the league as a second-round pick. In his four NFL seasons, he's averaged 50.8 catches and 612.8 yards per season. Solid, but not worth big money. 

For the Eagles: Woods has some talent but has been stuck in Buffalo. And after four NFL seasons, he's still just 24. Would be worth looking. 

Terrance Williams
The former third-round pick put together four good seasons in Dallas, with his lowest receiving yards-season coming in 2016. His best year was 2015 when he caught 52 balls for 840 yards. 

For the Eagles: It seems likely the Cowboys will let Williams walk and he wouldn't make a bad No. 2 option for the Eagles. Before last season, he had always been above 16 yards per reception, which should be enticing. 

Kenny Stills
Like Woods, Stills won't turn 25 until April, which is a good thing. The former fifth-rounder has 164 catches for 2,738 yards in his four seasons and is a legitimate deep threat. His 16.7 yards per reception is something to note. 

For the Eagles: A cheaper DeSean Jackson? Possibly. But even if Stills isn't much cheaper than Jackson, he at least likely has a lot more tread on the tires. The Eagles should definitely be interested. 

Eagles Inactives: Alshon Jeffery (ankle) active against Cowboys

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USA Today Images

Eagles Inactives: Alshon Jeffery (ankle) active against Cowboys

ARLINGTON, Texas -- As expected, Alshon Jeffery is active and will play against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. 

Jeffery popped up on the injury report Thursday with an ankle injury that has been bothering him for a little while. He came into the weekend listed as questionable. 

But head coach Doug Pederson said he expected Jeffery to play and even Jeffery said he would "most definitely" play in the game. 

Zach Ertz and Ronald Darby are also returning for this game. Ertz missed the Denver game before the bye with a hamstring injury and Darby hasn't played since Week 1 in Washington. 

The Eagles' inactives are Nate Sudfeld, Shelton Gibson, Steven Means, Elijah Qualls, Wendell Smallwood, Will Beatty and Dannell Ellerbe. 

This is the first healthy scratch of the season for Smallwood. The only reason he was active before the bye week was because of Zach Ertz's hamstring injury that kept him out of the game. Smallwood is the biggest loser after the team brought in Jay Ajayi. 

Beatty and Ellerbe are inactive after being added to the roster last week. During the week, Pederson said he wanted them to get more time with the team before throwing them out there.

The Cowboys' inactives are Tyron Smith, Sean Lee, Dan Bailey, Jeff Heath, Darren McFadden, Daniel Ross, Blake Jarwin.

Breaking down Eagles' 2018 Pro Bowl chances

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AP Images

Breaking down Eagles' 2018 Pro Bowl chances

Pro Bowl voting began this past week, and ideally, the Eagles won't have anybody actually playing in the game.
 
The 2018 Pro Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 28 — a week before the Super Bowl — and players from the Super Bowl-bound teams will be headed to Minneapolis that weekend, not Orlando, where the Pro Bowl will be held this year.
 
But with the Eagles sitting at 8-1 heading into Sunday's game against the Cowboys, there's a good chance they'll have a sizable contingent selected for the annual exhibition.

Let's take an early look at the Eagles' locks, hopefuls and longshots for 2018 Pro Bowl honors.
 
And remember, once again, the NFL is picking Pro Bowl teams based on the conference.
 
Locks
Carson Wentz: Wentz is a lock to make his first Pro Bowl, which would make him the fourth Eagles quarterback in the last 10 years to receive the honor, following Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Nick Foles. No other team has had more than two. Interesting that the Eagles have had only four players make a Pro Bowl team within their first two years since 1990 - Donovan McNabb in 2000, DeSean Jackson in 2009, Nick Foles in 2013 and Cody Parkey in 2014.
 
Fletcher Cox: The only lock from the defense, which is more of a statement on the brand of team defense the Eagles are playing these days than anything else. This will be Cox's third Pro Bowl, something only five Eagles defensive linemen have ever achieved — Reggie White (seven), Hugh Douglas (three), William Fuller (three), Charlie Johnson (three) and Floyd Peters (three).
 
Zach Ertz: It's always tricky for players to get to that first Pro Bowl, but it's hard to imagine Ertz not getting picked. Despite missing the Broncos game, he's been the best tight end in the NFC. He leads all NFC tight ends in catches and yards and is tied for the lead in TDs with Seattle's Jimmy Graham with six. Barring a huge dropoff, Ertz is a lock.
 
Hopefuls
Lane Johnson: Johnson has played at a consistently high level, but a few things are working against him. His two suspensions shouldn't be a factor, but they won't help his chances. Players are branded a certain way, and Johnson has to overcome a league-wide reputation as a guy who's tested positive twice. But if it's based on level of play, he'll go.
 
Jason Kelce: Kelce probably has a better chance than Johnson, just because he's an already a two-time pick and has that Pro Bowl reputation around the league. He made the team last year despite not having a very good year. Kelce has been exceptional this year and is in the middle of the No. 1 offense in the NFL. Close to a lock.
 
Brandon Graham: Graham once again has everything but the sacks. He's played very good football, consistently pressured the quarterback, been exceptional against the run, but … it's all about the sacks with defensive ends. He has 5.0, which is a good number after nine games and just 1 1/2 shy of his career-high of 6 1/2 from 2015, but nine NFC defensive ends have more. Have they played better than Graham? Probably not. But he needs to get to double digits to really have a good shot at making his first Pro Bowl.
 
Malcolm Jenkins: Jenkins made his first Pro Bowl in 2015 and should have made the team last year, but didn't. He's having a great year but doesn't have any interceptions and he's going to probably need at least two or three to get himself in the picture. What he does have going for him is that he's extremely popular among his fellow players. His activism, his strong voice within the NFLPA and his reputation as a guy who's going to fight for player rights will really help. That stuff shouldn't matter but it does.
 
Longshots
Brandon Brooks: Brooks is in his seventh year and has never made a Pro Bowl. The longer you play without making one, the harder it is to get picked. Especially at a non-skill position. But he's sure deserving. That whole right side of the O-line is with Kelce, Brooks and Johnson.
 
Jalen Mills: This is going to come down to interceptions. Mills needs to overcome the fact that he was never a big-name college guy, wasn't a high draft pick and his personality might bug some opposing wide receivers — the ones who vote for CBs. But he's got three interceptions, and right now Detroit's Darius Slay is the only NFC cornerback with more. If he can get to five? He'll be in the mix.
 
Patrick Robinson: Robinson is in a very similar position as Mills. He doesn't have that league-wide reputation as a top corner, but he's sure played like one. Robinson is now with his fourth team in four years, and he's an eighth-year player who's never been a Pro Bowler, so he needs to overcome that journeyman reputation. But like Mills, he has three interceptions. A couple more gets him in the picture.
 
Nigel Bradham: Bradham has one sack, no interceptions, and no forced fumbles. Without stat numbers, it's tough for outside linebackers to make a Pro Bowl team, no matter how solid they are against the run and in coverage. Bradham is a sixth-year veteran without a Pro Bowl on his resume, and he'll probably need INT and sack numbers to make his first one.
 
Jake Elliott: Elliott doesn't have the accuracy of some kickers, so his only chance is to keep racking up the 50-yarders. Going into Dallas, he shares the NFL lead with five 50-yarders, including, of course, the game-winning 61-yarder against the Giants. But overall, he's at 85 percent, which sounds high but is actually only sixth-highest among regular NFC kickers. And he's missed three PATs. His only chance is another game-winner or two and a bunch more 50-yarders.
 
Rodney McLeod: McLeod has a couple interceptions and has played well all year, but it's hard to imagine him making the Pro Bowl and Jenkins not. And it's hard to imagine both safeties getting picked. Like any DB, McLeod can improve his chances with a couple INTs and maybe a pick-six during the voting period.