The Eagles have a Jalen Reagor problem.
It’s not just that he can’t play. It’s that they may be stuck with him.
First of all, let’s take an objective look at Reagor’s career so far.
He has 64 catches for 695 yards and three touchdowns in 28 games, including 24 starts, since the Eagles made him the 21st pick in the 2020 draft.
That’s 24.8 yards per game. The only WRs in Eagles history to start at least 20 games and average fewer yards per game are 1984 1st-round disaster Kenny Jackson and undrafted Greg Lewis, now the Chiefs’ running backs coach under Andy Reid.
Of 70 wide receivers drafted league-wide in the first round since 1970 who started at least 20 games in their first two seasons, only three had fewer yards. Only seven caught fewer passes. Only four had fewer TDs.
Darnell Autry, Chad Hall, Na Brown, Reno Mahe, Billy McMullen and Paul Turner all had 60 yards in a game for the Eagles.
Every attempt the Eagles have made to involve Reagor – in the passing game, fielding punts, jet sweeps, end arounds, you name it – has failed miserably.
There doesn’t appear to be anything he’s good at.
The Eagles haven’t come out and literally said they’ve given up on Reagor, but Nick Sirianni said after the season he now considers DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins the Eagles’ No. 1 and No. 2 receivers.
Then the Eagles went out and signed veteran Zach Pascal, who is hardly a star but whose modest NFL production – an average of 41 catches for 540 yards and four TDs the last three seasons – towers over Reagor’s and puts him squarely in the WR3 spot – pending the draft.
If the Eagles take a receiver in the first two rounds, that guy becomes WR2. If they take one in the third or fourth round, he’s W3 or W4.
So if the Eagles just draft one wide receiver next month, Reagor is WR5 at best. And there really isn’t a such thing as WR5.
The Eagles also re-signed Greg Ward, who caught 53 passes in 2020 but dropped down to seven last year as the Eagles tried desperately to work Reagor into the offense.
So the Eagles now have four WRs who are statistically better than Reagor. And that’s before the draft.
Now, what if the Eagles draft two receivers? What if they sign another free agent? What if John Hightower has a great training camp and makes the team?
You see how quickly Reagor can plunge down to the bottom of the depth chart.
READ: 5 thoughts on Eagles receiver position after Zach Pascal signing
Now, it would be wrong to say there is zero chance Reagor will ever improve. Nelson Agholor, an Eagles’ 1st-round pick five years before him, had almost identical stats as Reagor through two years:
Nelly 2015-16: 28 games, 59 catches, 648 yards, 11.0 yards per catch, 3 TDs
Reagor 2020-21: 28 games, 64 catches, 695 yards, 10.9 yards per catch, 3 TDs
And Agholor went on to have a huge Super Bowl, three 700-yard seasons (two with the Eagles, one with the Raiders) and 26 TDs over the next five years and earned a big contract from the Patriots.
So maybe there’s hope for Reagor. Probably not. But maybe.
But you could tell there was something there with Agholor. He looked like an NFL player, he just wasn’t playing like one.
With Reagor, it’s impossible to believe in him. Even though he just turned 23, he hasn’t given the Eagles any reason to believe in him.
And no matter what Roseman and Sirianni say, they see what we see.
So the dilemma becomes this:
Do you cut Reagor, take on an ungainly cap hit and move on or keep Reagor on the roster, bury him on the depth chart and only use him in the case of multiple injuries?
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Reagor signed a four-year, $13.270,676 contract (with a team option) when the Eagles drafted him, and he has two years remaining at modest annual base salaries of $1.82 million and $2.42 million.
No issues there.
The problem is if the Eagles release Reagor, he would count $7.84 million in dead money against their 2022 salary cap. Since he has a $3.62 million cap figure, he would count just over $4.22 million more against their cap if they cut him than if they keep him.
If they wait until after 2022, the dead money hit would be exactly the same as his 2023 cap figure, which is ideal. But that’s a year away.
It’s not like Reagor is a bad guy or doesn’t have good work habits. It’s not like the Eagles need to extricate him from the facility as soon as possible.
But put him on the field and bad things just happen.
So the question facing Roseman and Sirianni is what is it worth to not have him take up a roster spot?
Essentially, is a roster spot worth $4.22 million?
There’s a lot to consider, but one thing the Eagles can’t do is let go of a more talented receiver just to save $4.2 million in cap space.
The Eagles need to identify the best wide receivers and get them and keep them. They didn’t two years ago, and that’s how they got into this mess in the first place.