Nelson Agholor survived speculation he could be released by the Eagles in March, but that doesn’t mean the club won’t part with the wide receiver in a draft-day trade.
At least, that’s what NFL teams believe might happen. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, front offices around the league view Agholor as a player who could be “available” and wind up on the trade block — if the Eagles take a receiver in the draft.
Rapoport cites Agholor’s guaranteed salary of $9.4 million in 2019 as reason why the Eagles would consider a move.
The possibility for a trade makes sense from several vantage points, including money. The Eagles have quite a bit invested in the position already between Alshon Jeffery, with his $14.7 million cap hit for 2019, and DeSean Jackson, due $12 million over the next two seasons. Agholor is also in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
Acquiring another receiver in the draft, presumably early, creates a logjam for playing time as well, with 2017 draft picks Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson among the prospects still in the mix. Braxton Miller has also earned praise from the organization, while the Eagles recently signed AAF standout Charles Johnson as well.
It’s easy to connect the dots and see how the Eagles could be motivated to deal Agholor, which would create cap space and a roster spot, all while netting an asset before he reaches free agency.
Such a trade would not be without some downside, however.
Agholor only turns 26 in May and is coming off back-to-back 60-reception/700-yard receiving seasons with 12 total touchdowns. He’s a versatile weapon who can work the short and intermediate areas of the field and run with the ball in his hands, but is a threat to take the top off the defense, too.
Perhaps greater than Agholor’s on-field ability — the full potential of which he perhaps hasn’t reached — is his work ethic and presence in the locker room. A former first-round choice himself, this is somebody who has worked to shake the dreaded draft “bust” label, and in the process earned the utmost respect of the Eagles’ coaching staff and front office.
In February, Eagles coach Doug Pederson gushed about Agholor’s attitude while discussing how a mid-season trade for fellow wideout Golden Tate impacted his production.
“Nelson, oh man. Love this guy,” Pederson said. “He’s the first one in and the last one out. He’s a hard worker. Spends time before and after practice. Can’t say enough good things about Nelson Agholor and what he’s brought to the table and what he will continue to bring. I think last year, you look at the amount of guys we had, and then we added Golden (Tate) midseason.
“I’m not going to stand up here and say it didn’t affect Nelson. I think it did. The question was asked earlier about getting everybody the ball. In this league, it’s a challenge … And yet Nelson didn’t complain. He came to work every single day. He put in the time, he put in the work. He was a huge part of what we did … I’m excited, I love working with him.”
If the Eagles ultimately decide to move on from Agholor, it doesn’t sound like a decision that will be made lightly.
It’s impossible to say what the Eagles should do without knowing the return or how the draft will unfold. Agholor is even more valuable than his numbers suggest, though, so one would expect he’d fetch a nice price.
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