When it comes to the Eagles’ receiver position this offseason, Alshon Jeffery is still the “elephant in the room,” as GM Howie Roseman put it in March.
Aside from the 30-year-old’s decline in production, bloated contract and recovery from a Lisfranc surgery, there’s the perception of a strained relationship with franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.
At every turn, Wentz has rejected that perception.
That didn’t change on Thursday afternoon during an interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark to promote the AO1 Foundation’s Day of Relief fundraiser on Friday. Wentz said he has been in contact with Jeffery this offseason.
Yeah, I’ve talked with Alshon. Alshon’s doing well, obviously coming back from that injury. Hoping he can be himself and just keep on rehabbing. But I’m confident that he will. And he’s doing well. He’s in a good place and I feel confident in his ability to be back out there helping the team. I’m excited for that. Yeah, I’m excited for Alshon.
There had already been rumors of a strained relationship between Wentz and Jeffery for a while and then there was the ESPN story last season citing quotes from an anonymous player criticizing Wentz. Jeffery was eventually named as the source by Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin. Jeffery denied it, but there’s no way to know for sure.
Back in December, Wentz said publicly that he had a “great relationship” with Jeffery, adding, “I love that guy.”
And in March, Roseman made it clear — at least publicly — that Jeffery figured into the team’s plans for the 2020 season, saying they needed him to get healthy.
“Alshon’s gotta get healthy,” Roseman said. “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 has a lot to prove and he’s anxious to do that. So he’s not living in a bubble; he understands that.”
While Jeffery’s name surfaced in plenty of trade rumors and reports leading up to the draft in April, he’s still on the team well into May. Because Roseman last offseason guaranteed Jeffery’s 2020 salary, it would be understandable if it was hard to find a taker in a trade. So even if the Eagles wanted to trade Jeffery, they might not have had any good options.
The lasting image of the 2019 season happened just outside the Eagles’ locker room on cleanout day. As reporters exited the locker room, there was a concussed Wentz and Jeffery on a Roll-A-Bout, having a friendly conversation. To some skeptics, it seemed like a plant, too perfect to be real.
But if the Eagles really are going to try to get something out of Jeffery in 2020, his relationship with Wentz will be vital.
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