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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Jeff Lurie's production company announces Hitler documentary

Jeff Lurie's production company announces Hitler documentary

The timing is a coincidence. But it's a fascinating coincidence.

On Thursday afternoon, just days after Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was condemned by the team for sharing "appalling" social media posts citing quotes he thought were from Hitler, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie’s new film production company announced the completion of a documentary, “The Meaning of Hitler.”

A release from Cinetic Media and Play/Action Pictures, a documentary film production company founded by Lurie, described the movie as “a provocative interrogation of our culture’s fascination with Hitler and Nazism set against the backdrop of the current rise of white supremacy, the normalization of antisemitism, and the weaponization of history itself.”

The movie has been in production for three years, the announcement of the film was planned several weeks ago, and the timing is a total coincidence. 

But the fact that Lurie, who is Jewish, has been working on this project for several years does give us an idea of how important this topic is to him and gives us a sense of how hurtful Jackson’s actions must have been to him.

The film is based on the award-winning 1978 book, “The Meaning of Hitler,” by Raimund Pretzel, who wrote under the pseudonym Sebastien Haffner. The book won several international awards, including the Wingate Literary Prize.

Lurie is listed as co-executive producer of the film along with Marie Therese Guirgis, who won the 2018 DuPont Award for Documentary Feature for On Her Shoulders.

Before he bought the Eagles in 1994, Lurie produced several movies, including Sweet Hearts Dance, I Love you to Death and V.I. Warshawksi. He’s won two Academy Awards - one as executive producer of Inside Job, which won Best Documentary in 2011, and another as executive producer of Inocente, which won Best Documentary Short Film in 2013.

According to the release from Lurie’s production company, the film took three years to produce and was filmed in nine countries. It was directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, who produced a series of acclaimed documentaries about the Iraqi war, and features contributions from numerous noted historians.

“As fears of authoritarianism and fascism now abound, the film explores the myths and misconceptions of our understanding of the past, and the difficult process of coming to terms with it at a time in our history when it seems more urgent than ever,” the release states.

“We couldn't be prouder that The Meaning of Hitler is the first completed film made by our new documentary production company, Play/Action Pictures,” Lurie said in a statement. “I envisioned Play/Action to be a leading creative force for films that engage with the most crucial and challenging issues of our time. The rise of white supremacy and neo-fascism in the United States and the world over are among the most important and serious threats we face today."

Lurie’s company is currently working on three other documentaries, including “Black Woodstock,” directed by Philly native Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson), an author, movie producer and drummer in the Roots.

The press release from Lurie’s production company does not mention Jackson.

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NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

Pro sports leagues are trying to find ways to safely play games and entertain fans amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is obviously a tough and tall task.

But the NFL's latest proposed measure missed the mark... completely.

The league is looking to ban the popular post-game jersey swap tradition, according to NFL.com, as a proposed safety measure:

Under proposed NFL-NFLPA game-day protocols, teams would be forbidden from interactions within six feet of each other following games, and jersey exchanges between players would be prohibited, per sources informed of the situation.

If you think that sounds like a total waste of a rule, after the teams are engaged in hand-to-hand action for three hours, you're not alone.

Why the NFL feels the need to distance players after allowing them to breathe, sweat, and bleed on each other during a game is unclear. The league didn't provide an explanation.

Probably because there isn't one.

These are uncharted waters for sports leagues, and mistakes will be made, but sometimes it helps to just use common sense.

A few Eagles players were quick to point out the seeming absurdity of the rule on Twitter:

And a couple other star players from around the league chimed in as well:

Interestingly, NFL.com's Kevin Patra included this qualifier at the end of his story about the ban:

The proposed protocols are set to be in effect during any preseason action, if agreed to. As are all things during the pandemic, they're subject to change as the science, data and situations develop.

That sounds like the league already setting itself up to change the rule down the line, considering the initial reception from players. 

We'll see if it lasts an entire season.

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