Eagles

Eagles think WR cupboard isn’t completely bare after missing out on free agents

Eagles think WR cupboard isn’t completely bare after missing out on free agents

The Eagles have made plenty of notable moves since the start of free agency, but you’ve probably noticed that they haven’t added a wide receiver. 

There are a few reasons for that. 

1. According to Howie Roseman, the team views its current receiver position differently (i.e. more optimistically) than the public. 

“I don’t necessarily feel that the cupboard is as bare as maybe you’re describing,” Roseman said on a conference call Thursday. “That doesn’t mean that we’re ready to roll there because we’ve got to look at every opportunity but I think when we look at the skill positions as a whole, we got some talent there and we’re going to try to look as we can at every avenue to try to improve it.”

When the Eagles’ GM said that, he was talking to me. And, I’ve gotta tell ya, I’m not convinced. 

The four players Roseman brought up while trying to instill some confidence in the Eagles’ current receiver group were Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. 

It starts with Alshon, whom Roseman called “the elephant in the room,” but then he got into the other three as well. They feel like they “have a good plan going forward” with Jackson. They’re hoping for a big Year 1 to Year 2 jump for JJAW. And Ward showed them in limited action last year that he was a player. 

Yeah, that’s a tough sell for me. 

• Alshon Jeffery is a 30-year-old receiver, coming off a Lisfranc injury, whose production has been dropping in recent seasons. On top of that, there are certain chemistry concerns and an albatross contract. 

 DeSean Jackson had one great game last season but is a 33-year-old speed receiver coming off a core muscle injury and surgery. 

• J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was a disappointing second-round pick in 2019 who, despite having a great opportunity and ample playing time, never made any sort of sustained contribution as a rookie. 

• Greg Ward Jr. certainly played well down the stretch and deserves his opportunity in 2020 but he began last season on the practice squad and has seven career NFL games under his belt. 

Maybe everything will work out. Maybe Alshon will get healthy and get along with Carson Wentz, maybe DeSean will stay healthy, maybe JJAW will improve and maybe Ward is the real deal. But there’s not a lot there the Eagles can truly count on. 

So it would have made sense if the Eagles went out in free agency and signed a receiver, right? Yeah, probably. 

2. But as Howie Roseman explained it, the Eagles didn’t neglect the wide receiver position during the initial wave of free agency. They got priced out and went in a different direction. Roseman wasn’t willing to overpay and indicated on Thursday that prices for receivers changed quite a bit from the start of free agency to this week. 

Roseman didn’t divulge names but in the last few days Breshad Perriman agreed to a one-year deal for $8 million and Robby Anderson agreed to a two-year deal worth $20 million. Both seem like pretty reasonable contracts for players who would have helped Wentz and the Eagles in 2020. And with the benefit of hindsight, the Eagles would have probably loved to get one of them at those prices. 

But if the Eagles signed them a week ago, they would have been more expensive. 

And then the Eagles wouldn’t have been able to go the direction they did, solidifying their defensive line with Javon Hargrave and filling another weak spot at cornerback with Darius Slay. That money went elsewhere. 

When we looked at it,” Roseman said, “there's always guys sitting here now a week into free agency, maybe a little longer if you count the tampering period, you go, 'Man, if I would have known he was going to be this price, maybe I would have saved some cash, some cap room for that player.' But you can only deal with the information as a whole.

Two receivers — DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs — were traded and the Eagles could have used one of them too. But the prices were too high and there were other reasons a Hopkins deal wouldn’t have worked out also. 

3. So now the Eagles are left with a cupboard that might not be as bare as I think, but it’s still pretty damn bare. And it’ll be a priority in next month’s draft to select one or more receivers — it is a very good class — to contribute immediately and in the future. 

The Eagles’ willingness to punt on receivers in free agency was largely influenced by the possibility of getting high-quality receivers in the draft. Now, they just have to pick the right ones. 

"I'll stress this: I remember in past years we've gone into the draft or even past the draft and we haven't had those positions filled,” Roseman said. “But our job has to be throughout the offseason and up until the trade deadline to improve the team. And I think some of the things we've done this week has given us the flexibility to focus on certain areas and also go into the draft to add the best players, not just based on position needs."

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Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

A day after some of the NFL’s biggest black stars called on their league to condemn racism and support their fight, the NFL has responded. 

In a 1:21 video, commissioner Roger Goodell did just that. 

Goodell gave his condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives to police brutality and then offered up the following statement: 

While Goodell didn’t specifically mention Colin Kaepernick, it seems like the NFL will not fight players who wish to demonstrate during the national anthem. In fact, Goodell said the NFL will “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.” 

Kaepernick began his peaceful protest nearly four years ago, back in 2016. 

This video from Goodell and the strong statement from the league comes just a day after Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr. and more created a video asking for this type of response from the league. To the league’s credit, it came pretty promptly. 

In time, we’ll see what this means. It’s been an emotional week in the United States and this feels like a good start. But it also feels like a beginning for the NFL, a jumping off point. As far as players are concerned, this can’t be an empty statement. We’ll find out soon enough if there will be actions to back these words. 

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Michael Bennett has advice for white people trying to combat institutional racism

Michael Bennett has advice for white people trying to combat institutional racism

After a monumentally important week, former Eagles defensive lineman Michael Bennett has a message for white people who want to be more proactive in combating institutional racism.

Bennett, currently a free agent, and Patriots safety Devin McCourty appeared on Chris Long's Green Light podcast on Friday to discuss the ongoing national protests against racism, police brutality, and the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis last Monday night by a police officer in an incident caught on camera. The officer kneeled on his neck for an extended period of time while Floyd was handcuffed.

The trio of current and former NFLers had a lengthy and candid discussion about what has failed, and what needs to be improved, in the United States, and the whole thing is worth a listen.

One part in particular stuck out to me, when Bennett explained what white people looking to help should be doing:

I think now, with George Floyd, it's even shining more light on the racial disparity with the police system, and I think for our white counterparts, I think they need to do some studying.

[...]

I think white people need to start studying. As a black man, I can't tell you how to not be racist. I can't tell you how to be inclusive. I can't tell you any of those things. That's a self journey. That's a self awareness journey. I think African-American people have had to conform myself to fit in certain areas, whether it was in sports or in the culture, being told, 'You're too this, you're too that, you're too that,' and they're basically saying, 'You're too black.' Right? So now it's a situation where [...] you have to figure out your own journey, to really find out why people are feeling this way.

This protest, with George Floyd and these things, there's history behind it. I implore white people to do some research. Go look at Emmett Till. Go look at Steven Biko. Go look at Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba. Go look at what happened to Medgar Evers, when he was killed in front of his house. Go look at what happened to those girls who were bombed in Alabama. Go look at it. It's the history here. Look at it. We talk about Martin Luther King, but look at the history and how Martin Luther King was treated, how he was chased, how he received assassination attempts on his life. This is the man you look up to.

It's a great point from Bennett. This week's protests are about Floyd's killing, but they're really about something larger.

The more you know about how we reached this current moment in history, the better you can try to move forward in a proactive way.

As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank noted this week, it's important to see athletes use their platforms to spread messages just like this one:

The more athletes and celebrities who use their platform to influence and educate and demand change, the more we have a chance to move beyond the racism, homophobia, bigotry and sexism that are so prevalent in our society.

Later in the discussion, Bennett gave his thoughts on Washington's football team:

LONG: Is there anything the NFL can do to prove they're actually on the players' side?

BENNETT: Of course there is. I think the Redskins can change their name. That's one way, that's a start right there. You say the league is not racist, and you have a team that literally has a racial slur for its name? The Redskins? What if it was the Whiteskins, or the Blackskins, or the Yellowskins? People would be upset, right? To me, that's one way.

It would certainly be a start.

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