Eagles

Eagles Stay or Go 2020: Time for a decision on Alshon Jeffery

Eagles Stay or Go 2020: Time for a decision on Alshon Jeffery

Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Andrew Kulp bring back Stay or Go with the 2020 version, trying to figure out the future of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Today, we’ll look at wide receivers:

Alshon Jeffery 

Roob: This is the ultimate stay or go this offseason. I guess Alshon and Jason Peters. He really is the Eagles’ most talented wide receiver, and it’ll be a cap killer if they cut him. I just can’t get past not wanting him around. Addition by subtraction. I don’t even know if there’s a practical way that he goes. Any trade value, and I don’t think there was much, has been compromised by his foot injury. But I’m sticking to what I’ve said for a while now. He goes because it just doesn’t make sense for him to be here anymore.

Verdict: Goes 

Dave: This is a really tough one. On one hand, it seems like the Eagles are stuck with the soon-to-be 30-year-old receiver after (oopsie daisy) guaranteeing his contract for 2020. On the other hand, it seems like they desperately need to move on. But how? Cutting him would be a cap disaster. Trading him would probably take a Brock Osweiler deal, sending him with a draft pick just so someone will take on that ridiculous contract for a malcontent with a Lisfranc injury. Yikes. There’s a good chance he’ll be on the PUP to start the season anyway so the Eagles can push back this looming decision. I think the Eagles would like to get away from Alshon, but ultimately, they’re stuck with him in some capacity next season. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: Ideally, Jeffery would not be costing the Eagles almost $16 million against the cap in 2020, and that was before he suffered a Lisfranc injury. Whether because of age or injury, he simply did not perform at a high level last season, plus everybody is pretty sure he's talking smack on Carson Wentz. The problem is the team can't easily get rid of Jeffery. Cutting him will cost more against the cap than keeping him, and a trade seems unlikely since he may not even be healthy to start the season. Howie Roseman has been able to get out of some tough contracts in the past -- Byron Maxwell comes to mind -- but this looks like a real pickle. On the other hand, Jeffery might be motivated once he returns, because this is essentially becoming a contract year at 30, so maybe it winds up working out in the Eagles' favor. 

Verdict: Stays

DeSean Jackson 

Roob: Lost season after opening day, and he’ll be 34 late next season but where else are you going to find a guy with his skill set? You can’t replace an entire wide receiver corps, so keep DeSean and just hope that he can stay healthy at an age where most wide outs are retiring. 

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Losing DeSean last season killed the Eagles. He’s 33 and coming off an injury, so I don’t think the Eagles can go into next season relying on him. They need to add receivers this offseason but that doesn’t mean Jackson should be gone. Because if he’s able to get on the field next year, he’s still fast and can still do DeSean things. It would be a nice boost — but also a bonus — for the Eagles if he can help in 2020. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Of all the injuries during the 2019 season, none had a greater impact than Jackson's (besides Wentz's concussion at the end, obviously). Seeing the connection those two had in camp and even Week 1 of the regular season, it really felt like they were destined to have a monster year together. So while the Eagles will be making a concerted effort to get younger and the oft-injured Jackson is 33, the club should really give it another go and hope he can stay healthy. There's no real cap benefit to moving on anyway. 

Verdict: Stays

Nelson Agholor 

Roob: Come on now!

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Agholor had one of the weirdest Eagles careers ever. A disappointing first-round pick to a Super Bowl hero to complete liability and target of the funniest viral moment of 2019. His five-year stint in Philadelphia was a perfect bell curve. Both parties know it’s time to move on. 

Verdict: Goes 

Kulp: What a strange player. Agholor has plenty of talent -- that much was evident in 2017 and '18 -- and nobody outworks the guy. For whatever reason though, he forgot how to play wide receiver. He can't catch the ball, can't even locate it in the air, and when he does manage to find it and hang on, there's something like a 50-50 chance he'll fumble it without anybody touching him. Agholor could probably play another eight seasons and he'll probably have one or two good ones or figure it out toward the end, but right now, the dude is a head case, not to mention a free agent.

Verdict: Goes

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

Roob: He stays just because there’s no reason he shouldn’t stay, but definitely a discouraging rookie year. He played 486 snaps on offense and caught 10 passes. I never count out anybody after one season, but the Eagles need him to be dramatically better in 2020.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: One year into his career, it certainly looks like JJAW was a wasted pick. Now, that doesn’t mean he’s a bust just yet and the Eagles owe it to him and themselves to see this through. Early returns just aren’t very good. Still, gotta give him another chance. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: It seems clear the Eagles should've drafted D.K. Metcalf instead of Arcega-Whiteside. Then again, it's hard to say whether Metcalf would've developed as quickly under this coaching staff. Get a decent receivers coach, and maybe JJAW can still become a competent target. Though he probably won't ever be as good as the guy the team could've had.  

Verdict: Stays

Greg Ward 

Roob: Ward showed me enough after his promotion from the practice squad that I want him to be a part of this team moving forward. The Eagles still need outside firepower, but 31 catches for 278 yards in his first eight career games makes you take notice. If he can be a 60-for-600 type of guy out of the slot you’ll take that. I don’t think it’s a lock he’s back. Depends how much new blood they bring in at WR. But I like Ward. I want him back.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Is Ward going to be the long-time slot guy for the Eagles? I’m not sold on that. But I know he gave them more than Agholor this year and he was a big reason for the late-season push to the playoffs. He’ll be back on the roster in 2020. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: It's been obvious to anybody who's had a chance to see him in OTAs and training camp the past couple years that Ward had the potential to be a nice little role player. He finally got the chance in 2020, and was easily the Eagles' best receiver down the stretch, though he showed his limitations as well, averaging 9.1 yards per catch. A pure slot receiver who can reliably field a punt and makes the league minimum, and there's room for that on this roster. 

Verdict: Stays

Deontay Burnett

Roob: He showed up when the Eagles needed him the most with a 41-yard catch in the must-win season-ending game against the Giants. I’d expect the Eagles to bring him in for camp next summer, and I’d have no problem keeping him on the practice squad. But if he’s on the 53-man roster after final cuts the Eagles had a really bad offseason.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: OK, now we’re getting into these guys. That long catch was pretty cool. He’s going to be one of about a million receivers at training camp this summer and maybe one of them has a great camp and makes the roster. Probably not for Burnett though. 

Verdict: Goes 

Kulp: Joined the practice squad in December and was starting by the end of the season, which says more about the roster and injuries than it does Burnett. He flashed some potential with three catches for 53 yards between Week 17 and the wild card game, but the Eagles need to draft a whole slew of receivers, which doesn't bode well for the rest of the guys on this list.

Verdict: Goes

Robert Davis 

Roob: Davis had a couple moments after being activated from the practice squad, and it’ll be interesting to see what the former Redskin does in training camp, but like Burnett, he’ll be on the outside looking in once the season begins. 

Verdict: Goes

Dave: I’m a little intrigued to see Davis this summer. He’s big, fast, strong and none of that really mattered when he found the field with the Eagles this season. Maybe it will with a full offseason here. But …  

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: If he never appears in another game in Philadelphia -- not at all unlikely -- Davis will be the 10th wide receiver in the Super Bowl era to finish his Eagles career with one catch. His name will be there with other franchise legends such as Seyi Ajirotutu, Alex Van Dyke, Troy Smith, Reggie Lawrence, Carlos Carson, Bobby Duckworth, Jerrold McRae, Stan Davis and Vince Papale. OK, that last one was pretty good. And yes, I just out-Roobed Roob. 

Verdict: Goes

Shelton Gibson 

Roob: One of the stranger stories of the 2019 postseason was Gibson – who spent the entire regular season on the Browns’ practice squad – being responsible for the Eagles’ longest play of the Seahawks game. A 39-yard DPI. He only played two snaps all year – regular season and postseason combined. Gibson still has only three career receptions - actual receptions -  in three seasons.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Gibson is a pretty good gunner. And he drew that DPI in the playoff game. But there’s a reason he didn’t work out in his first stint here. And there’s a reason he’s not going to work out now. 

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: It's mystifying the Eagles waited so long to bring Gibson back given some of the bodies they were trotting out there -- Mack Hollins and Jordan Matthews, for example. Then again, they never really gave Gibson a shot when he was here the first time, so clearly they're not very high on the kid.

Verdict: Goes

Marcus Green 

Roob: Green was the only wide receiver who was on the practice squad all year. Probably not a good sign that the Eagles promoted four other wide receivers - Ward, Gibson, Burnett and Davis - from the practice squad, bypassing Green each time. 

Verdict: Goes

Dave: My guess is the Eagles see Green as a developmental player with some upside. They kept him on the practice squad all year as they brought up just about everyone else. I see him as more of a gadgety player. The success of Boston Scott this year might doom him even more than the numbers game at receiver. 

Verdict: Goes 

Kulp: A sixth-round pick by the Falcons in 2019, Green is undersized at 5-foot-8, but does have sub-4.4 speed. The fact that the Eagles targeted him for a futures contract is interesting, but he'll be battling for a spot on the practice squad more than likely. Maybe he makes it, maybe he doesn't.

Verdict: Goes

Marken Michel 

Roob: It was surprising the Eagles activated Shelton Gibson for the playoffs instead of Michel, who had spent the offseason with the Eagles. Michel had a solid training camp and seems to catch the ball well, and he’s got decent size. Like all these other practice squad guys, I’d expect him to get a look-see over the summer, and I won't say he'll never make it to the 53. But he won't be on the initial 53.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: As anyone who listens to the Eagle Eye podcast can probably tell you, I think Michel can play. I don’t understand why the Eagles brought the 26-year-old back to the practice squad and didn’t promote him. That doesn’t make any sense. I’d like to say I think Michel can make the roster with a good summer but he had a good summer in 2019 and it still didn’t happen. 

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: The most telling thing about Michel is he was actually on the roster in training camp, yet the Eagles were signing guys off other teams' practice squads rather than promoting him to the 53 at the end of the season. He's a gamer, but lacks the athleticism to play at this level.

Verdict: Goes

River Cracraft 

Roob: You hope he makes it just because of his name. Here’s some of that Dave Zangaro detective work: Carcraft played for Mike Leach at Washington State, where his position coach was Graham Harrell, who is now USC offensive coordinator and on the Eagles’ short list for their offensive coordinator vacancy. Not sure that’s enough to get him a job.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Cracraft has actually played in nine NFL games and has gotten some work as a punt return and kick return man. He has 12 punt returns for … drum roll please … 40 yards. 

Verdict: Goes 

Kulp: Oh, come on, these aren't even real people anymore.

Verdict: Goes

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Penn State’s KJ Hamler hopes Miles Sanders puts in good word with Eagles

Penn State’s KJ Hamler hopes Miles Sanders puts in good word with Eagles

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State receiver KJ Hamler said he wasn’t surprised to see how much success Miles Sanders had during his rookie season with the Eagles in 2019.

The two are close friends and Hamler claims he knew from his freshman year at Penn State that Sanders would be a successful NFL player.

Hamler, 20, would like to follow in his footsteps, especially if those footsteps lead to Philadelphia.

“It would be great to play with Miles,” Hamler said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday. “I hope he put in a good word.”

Hamler, the 5-foot-9, 178-pound speedster, said he has a meeting on the books with the Eagles on Wednesday. He would relish the opportunity to play with his close friend Sanders if the Eagles decide to draft him.

It’s likely Hamler will be a Day 2 pick in the draft in April. And the Eagles certainly have a need for a speedy receiver.

As a junior in 2019, Hamler caught 56 passes for 904 yards (16.1) and eight touchdowns. He did struggle at times with drops, which he claims was a focus issue. It’s something he wants to improve and show NFL teams that it’s not a problem this week. There’s also a chance Hamler runs an impressive time in the 40-yard dash.

This class of receivers has been called historic, but Hamler is a competitor and he hasn’t shied away from the competition. He wants to be the best of the bunch.

So what separates him from others?

“I’m a dawg,” he said. “That’s just point blank, period. You don’t find a lot of people my size doing some things that I do. For me, my playmaking ability and my dawg mentality just stands out.”

If the Eagles draft Hamler, he would get a chance to play with DeSean Jackson, someone whom Hamler has looked up to for a long time.

The idea of Jackson grooming a young speed receiver is certainly intriguing.

“I just love his playmaking ability,” Hamler said of Jackson. “Whenever you need him to make a play, whether it’s on special teams or on offense, he’s going to do it.”

Throughout this pre-draft process, Hamler has been in contact with his friend Sanders and the Eagles’ running back has given him plenty of advice.

The best piece of advice: “Just stay hungry is probably the main thing. It’s a grown man sport. Basically, you gotta fight for another man’s job.”

Sanders in 2019 had an impressive rookie season. He rushed for over 800 yards, had over 500 yards receiving and six total touchdowns. His 1,327 yards from scrimmage were a record for Eagles rookies.

None of that surprised Hamler. But he was proud.

“I was very proud. I think a lot of us was,” he said. “A lot of people always had this cloud over his head about him playing behind Saquon, Saquon this, Saquon that, but he wanted to be himself. He wanted to make a name for Miles Sanders. I’m proud that he’s doing real well and I’m blessed to be in this opportunity that he was in.”

The Eagles drafted Sanders with the 53rd overall pick in last year’s draft. They now hold the 53rd pick in this year’s draft. It would be somewhat fitting if they used it this year on Hamler. He really would follow in Sanders’ footsteps.

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Hall of Fame reveals lame plan for Harold Carmichael induction

Hall of Fame reveals lame plan for Harold Carmichael induction

Harold Carmichael and the other Centennial inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be enshrined on Sept. 18, the Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday.

That's six weeks after the traditional Hall of Fame summer festivities.

The modern-era players will be enshrined on the usual first preseason weekend, which this summer is Aug. 8, in conjunction with the Hall of Fame Game.

The Centennial enshrinees, unfortunately, will be relegated to a Friday evening two weeks into the regular season and won’t be part of the annual Hall of Fame festivities that honor the greatest players in football history.

The Hall of Fame hasn’t specifically announced the schedule for that evening but according to a press release issued on Tuesday morning, the festivities will include “world-class performances from a variety of music icons.”

Oh boy.

The press release said ticket information to attend the induction of Carmichael and the other all-time greats was not available yet.

Carmichael is only the 7th player who spent more than half his career with the Eagles to make it to Canton. The others are Steve Van Buren (1965), Chuck Bednarik (1967), Pete Pihos (1970), Tommy McDonald (1998), Reggie White (2006) and Brian Dawkins (2018).

Carmichael spent the 1971 through 1983 seasons with the Eagles after getting drafted in the 7th round out of Southern University. He was named a wide receiver on the NFL’s 1980s all-decade team and is also on the Eagles' 75th anniversary team named in 2007.

During his 12 seasons with the Eagles, he caught 589 passes for 8,978 yards and 79 touchdowns -- all still franchise records. He led the NFL in catches and yards in 1973 and made four Pro Bowls.

The other centennial inductees are Jimbo Covert, Bobby Dillon, Cliff Harris, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Donnie Shell, Duke Slater, Mac Speedie and Ed Sprinkle.

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