Marquise Goodwin’s decision to sit out the 2020 season leaves the Eagles in a difficult and precarious spot.
They’re now down to just one healthy receiver with more than 28 career receptions, and he’s 33 years old and got through just one game last year.
Goodwin gave the Eagles one thing they desperately needed at wide receiver, and that was experience.
He’s been hurt a lot, and his only big season was 2017, but he has played 75 games over parts of seven seasons, and he has caught 140 passes and scored 13 touchdowns.
His departure leaves the Eagles with 10 receivers on the roster.
We all know what Jackson can do when he’s healthy. But he’s four months shy of his 34th birthday and who knows what DeSean Jackson we’ll get at this point. Alshon Jeffery remains something of a mystery, still rehabbing from a serious late-season foot injury and coming off an ineffective season even when he was healthy. Who knows when we'll even see him on the field.
After that? The Eagles have eight wide receivers who have played a total of 36 combined career games, caught a total of 52 passes and scored a total of two touchdowns.
Only one of them was on the 53-man roster when last year began.
Here’s a look at the healthy receivers on the roster other than Jackson with their career stats as training camp begins:
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: 23 years old, 16 games, 10 catches, 169 yards, 1 TD
Manasseh Bailey: 23 years old, rookie
Deontay Burnett: 22 years old, 6 games, 12 catches, 191 yards, 0 TD
Robert Davis: 25 years old: 7 games, 2 catches, 17 yards, O TD
John Hightower: 24 years old: rookie
Jalen Reagor: 21 years old: rookie
Greg Ward: 25 years old: 7 games, 28 catches, 254 yards, 1 TD
Quez Watkins: 21 years old: rookie
So barring a veteran signing in the next couple days, the Eagles will go into camp without a single healthy wide receiver between the age of 25 and 33.
What do they really have after Jackson?
The most accomplished of the group is Greg Ward, who has 28 career receptions. The most experienced of the group is JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who played 16 games as a rookie last year. The most promising of the group is Jalen Reagor, the rookie first-round pick.
Four of them are rookies and two of them — Deontay Burnett and Robert Davis — are virtually rookies.
Of the receivers the Eagles project to have on the field on opening day, Jackson and Arcega-Whiteside are the only ones who’ve played more than seven career games.
Now, there’s a lot to be excited about with these young guys. Reagor has a chance to be a stud, Arcega-Whiteside has to be better than what we saw last year (maybe?) and speedy rookies Hightower and Watkins will now get more reps, more of a look, more opportunities with Goodwin opting out.
But this is a very difficult offseason for rookies, with no minicamps, no preseason games and only a handful of real practices leading up to opening day.
And let’s be honest. Howie Roseman does not have a very good track record when it comes to signing or drafting wide receivers.
It’s easy to believe this group is different. They can all run and they’ve all got some pretty impressive highlight reels.
But the loss of Goodwin definitely adds some urgency for these young kids. It’s going to force them to grow up fast.
Take a look down to Dallas and the Eagles’ biggest challenger in the NFC East, and Dak Prescott is throwing to Amani Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. That’s scary.
The Eagles have to get to the point where their wide receiver corps is scaring opposing defenses. They’ve definitely got some talent, but there’s a lot of work to do and not much time to do it.
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