Eagles

NFL free agency 2019: A comprehensive look at Eagles’ receivers

NFL free agency 2019: A comprehensive look at Eagles’ receivers

Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Andrew Kulp continue the 2019 edition of Stay or Go, trying to figure out the future of the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Today, they’ll look at wide receiver. 

Alshon Jeffery

Roob: Although his season ended with one of the most disappointing plays of his career, Jeffery’s value is tremendous and goes way beyond his numbers. He plays hurt, makes big plays, gets into the end zone (15 TDs the last two years) and he’s proved himself to be a big-time playoff receiver (23-for-364-3 the last two postseasons). That $14.725 million cap figure is sizeable — ninth-highest among wide outs in 2019 — but Jeffery has shown he’s worth it.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: In back-to-back seasons, Jeffery has played through a torn rotator cuff and fractured ribs. He’s a gamer and even though the numbers aren’t mind-blowing, he’s consistently very good and the Eagles’ best receiver. He has a cap hit of over $14 million this season, but he’s not going anywhere. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Jeffery has always been great at the highlight-reel catches. In 2018, he was reliable too, hauling in 70.7 percent of targets — 18th among wideouts and 10 percent better than his career high. Jeffery also finished the regular season with more receptions and receiving yards than the previous year despite playing three fewer games. Forget the Saints game. He’ll be 29 and still one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL.

Verdict: Stays

Mike Wallace

Roob: Wallace had an unimpressive preseason, didn’t catch a pass in his first two regular-season games in an Eagles uniform and then suffered a season-ending injury. He’ll be 33 when training camp begins next summer, and I just don’t see the Eagles bringing back a 33-year-old free agent receiver. They need to get younger and faster here. Wallace made sense for a look-see last year but that ship has sailed.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Wallace wasn’t just supposed to be a replacement for Torrey Smith, he was supposed to be an upgrade. He never got that chance. He’s 32 and is coming off a serious injury, but I kind of have a feeling he’s a candidate for a prove-it deal. He seemed to like it here, the Eagles still need speed and they won’t have a lot of money to spend for it. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: Impossible to evaluate Wallace, who played in two games before suffering a season-ending fractured fibula. His lone catch came in the preseason, and all his game action was with Nick Foles under center rather than Carson Wentz. Who can say whether he was a fit or not? That’s a problem. The Eagles need a vertical threat, but should let Wallace, 32, walk in free agency for the sake of getting younger.

Verdict: Goes

Golden Tate

Roob: I didn’t think there was a chance Tate would be back considering what the Eagles have at the position, considering the kind of contract he’ll probably be looking for and considering the modest production they got from him after the late-October trade. Then the Eagles fired WR coach Gunter Brewer, and it makes me wonder if Tate’s limited production and Brewer’s departure were related. If so, maybe Tate’s back.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Tate has been vocal about wanting to stay in Philly, but if the Eagles need to decide between him and Nelson Agholor, they’ve got to go with the younger player. There wasn’t enough production or even an understanding of how to properly use Tate. Also, I think Tate is going to be too expensive for them and it’s probably best to move on. 

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: Remember when the Eagles traded a third-round pick for this guy? Well, he finished with 37 catches, 342 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games (including postseason) — and now he’s a free agent. Tate is an outstanding possession receiver, and I imagine some receiver-needy team can outspend the Eagles to acquire his skill set. So, nice trade.

Verdict: Goes

Nelson Agholor

Roob: I’m not sure what to make of Nelly. He had an odd year. Had a lot of big plays but the final numbers weren’t where I thought they’d be. He’s only 25 and I still feel like he’s a weapon, but that $9.387 million salary is imposing. It would make him one of the 25 highest-paid WRs in the NFL next year. The Eagles could get out of it even though they already exercised his option. Curious situation. Going with the gut feeling here.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: He’s under contract on a fifth-year option year that will pay him over $9 million in 2019, but I’d seriously consider an extension for Agholor. Sure, his production was kind of up and down in 2018, but I still think he’s a player worth signing and he can be really good if they keep him in the slot. They could also alleviate some of that cap hit with a long-term deal. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: No way the Eagles are paying Agholor $9.3 million in 2019. However, an extension might be mutually beneficial. The club gets a lower cap hit this year and next, Agholor gets some security and a chance to earn bigger paydays in 2021 and beyond. Seems wise after two straight years over 60 catches and 700 yards, plus the fact that he’s under contract means both sides have a reason to work it out.

Verdict: Stays

Jordan Matthews

Roob: Matthews quietly made a nice impact after rejoining the Eagles early in the season, with 20 catches for 300 yards and a couple TDs plus a 37-yard TD in the playoff loss to the Saints. That’s tremendous production considering his $697,059 cap figure. If Matthews is willing to take another bargain-basement contract, I’m happy to bring him back.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Matthews came back and really contributed down the stretch for the Eagles. But the problem is still pretty clear. He’s best suited for the slot and that’s where Agholor plays. Perhaps he could be a depth player, but those spots are normally reserved for guys who chip in on special teams. He’s one of Carson Wentz’s best friends, but I’m not sure that’s enough. 

Verdict: Goes 

Kulp: For better or worse, Matthews is a guy Wentz trusts — with Foles at the helm, he didn’t have a catch in three of five games. That rapport matters, especially for a young quarterback trying to rebuild his confidence. Matthews played well enough to get some calls after the big-name free agents sign, but he’d probably stick around if the Eagles make an offer.

Verdict: Stays

Shelton Gibson

Roob: Gibson had a 48-yard catch against the Vikings in Week 5 and then played 12 more snaps all year and even saw his special teams snaps gradually drop (112 first half of the year, 39 the second half). Which speaks volumes about how the Eagles feel about Gibson, their fifth-round pick last year. I thought Gibson would be a factor this year, but it’s tough to imagine him playing a role with this team moving forward.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: He turned himself into a pretty good gunner on the punt team, but I’m not sure that’s enough to keep him around. He hasn’t been able to produce offensively, even when the Eagles desperately needed a deep threat this season. It’ll probably depend on what happens in the draft. For now, I have him losing his spot, but that could change if no one gets drafted. 

Verdict: Goes 

Kulp: Not a good sign Gibson didn’t get a shot before the Eagles signed Matthews off the street mid-season, or over DeAndre Carter who isn’t even here anymore. The former fifth-round draft pick’s role even diminished on special teams as the year progressed. Not sure what happened here. Doesn’t matter. Gibson has clearly fallen out of favor.

Verdict: Goes

Mack Hollins

Roob: What we all thought was a minor injury — and what Hollins said was a minor injury — wound up costing Hollins his entire second NFL season. He didn’t play a snap. I do know Hollins when healthy is a very good special teamer, so I’d think he’ll likely be back at a minimum in that role. But I could also see the Eagles drafting a receiver or two, which could put Hollins’ roster spot in jeopardy.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: I’m assuming Hollins is still alive because I haven’t actually seen him in months. The IR disappearing act of Hollins in 2018 will go down as the Area 51 in the Eagles’ 2018 season. If he can get healthy, he’s at least a really good special teams player on his rookie contract. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: It may feel like Hollins is no longer in the Eagles’ plans after a lost season, but if he can get healthy, he’s got a spot. The 25-year-old was a major special teams contributor as a rookie, not to mention flashed some potential at receiver. Hollins could even be the deep threat this team so desperately needs.

Verdict: Stays

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Add Ronald Darby to the list of injured Eagles

Add Ronald Darby to the list of injured Eagles

Starting cornerback Ronald Darby popped up on the Eagles’ injury report Friday with a hip flexor strain and is questionable for the Eagles’ game Sunday against the Redskins.

Darby wasn’t on the injury report Wednesday or Thursday and was a full participant in practice. He’s listed as a limited participant on Friday, which likely means he either got hurt during practice or an injury he suffered Monday night against the Giants got worse.

In either case, it’s yet another injury for an injury-riddled team. The only defensive players to start all 13 games are Malcolm Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Rodney McLeod.

The Eagles do have some depth at cornerback, since they’re carrying seven corners on the 53-man roster.

Jalen Mills is expected to be OK for Sunday after hurting his elbow in the Giants game. He was a full participant on Friday after being limited on Thursday.

Rasul Douglas would likely be the starter opposite Mills if Darby can’t play. Douglas has started 17 games in his three-year career, including five earlier this year.

Avonte Maddox can play outside but has been in the slot for the nine games he’s been healthy, averaging 46 snaps per game. Sidney Jones, who started four games earlier this year, is also available. Cre’Von LeBlanc is being brought back slowly after being on IR most of the year, and Craig James hasn’t played a defensive snap in nearly two months.

Darby missed half of the 2017 season with an ankle injury, half of last year with a torn ACL and four games earlier this year with a hamstring injury. He’s played only 29 of a possible 50 games since he got here in the summer of 2017.

The Eagles have don’t have a cornerback who’s played defense in every game this year. They’ve used eight different combinations of starting corners in 13 games.

The Eagles signed the 25-year-old Darby to a one-year contract worth $6.5 million. He has two interceptions in nine starts.

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Eagles vs. Redskins 2019: TV schedule, storylines, game time and more

Eagles vs. Redskins 2019: TV schedule, storylines, game time and more

The Eagles (6-7) are visiting the Redskins (3-10) at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon. 
 
Here’s everything you need to know:  

•12 p.m.: Eagles Pregame Live on NBCSP
•1 p.m.: Eagles at Redskins on FOX 
•4 p.m.: Eagles Postgame Live on NBCSP 
•10 p.m.: Birds Outsiders on NBCSP 
 
The FOX broadcast crew for this game is Thom Brennaman (play by play), Chris Spielman (analyst) and Shannon Spake (sideline). You can also stream the game on FuboTV.
 
Merrill Reese, Mike Quick and Howard Eskin will have the call on 94WIP. 
 
The Eagles opened as 6-point favorites in some places but that has slipped to around 4 1/2 points. The over/under is 39. 

The referee for Eagles-Redskins is second-year referee Shawn Smith. This is his first game reffing an Eagles game. The Eagles were 2-1 with him as an umpire in 2016 and 2017. 

Keep it going

The Eagles got off to a terrible start against the Giants last week before they turned it around, scoring the last 20 points of the game and getting a huge overtime win. So which team shows up on Sunday? The team that fell behind 17-3 to the Giants or the team that rallied to a win? 

It’ll be key for the Eagles to find what works for Carson Wentz in this game a little earlier. They got him into rhythm last week, but that didn’t happen until the third drive of the third quarter. 

No receivers left 

The Eagles began the season with DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. That was nice for that one game. Going into Week 15, with Agholor’s status uncertain, the Eagles’ top three receivers might be J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward and Rob Davis. Not exactly what the Eagles had in mind this offseason. 

A rookie QB 

The last time the Eagles faced Washington, in the opener, Case Keenum was the starter. So this will be their first time facing rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. While the Redskins have won two of three, they’re still a mess of an organization, so who knows what the future holds for Haskins. They have an interim coach and it’s possible the next head coach will want to pick his quarterback, which could leave Haskins in limbo. But there’s also a possibly Haskins is still their long-term QB. It’ll be interesting to see what happens down there.  

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