Eagles

Should Eagles prioritize receiver or cornerback in free agency?

Eagles

It's a question seemingly as old as time. Is wide receiver or cornerback a bigger priority for the Eagles in free agency?

As is too often the case, both positions are among the team's top offseason needs. Both must be addressed for 2020. But if the Eagles are going to sign a high-profile free agent to an exorbitant contract in March, a cornerback (or cornerbacks) makes far more sense.

Why? How 'bout some names?

Sidney Jones. Rasul Douglas. Cre'Von LeBlanc. Avonte Maddox. These are the corners currently under contract with the Eagles.

CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Tee Higgins, Justin Jefferson, Laviska Shenault. This is a selection of the top receivers in the NFL draft, some of whom are certain to be on the board when the Eagles are on the clock at No. 21.

What about numbers?

$29 million. That's the amount of salary cap space the Eagles currently have committed to receivers for 2020, seventh-highest figure in the league -- and that will only rise if the club moves on from Alshon Jeffery, as has been speculated.

$8.3 million. The amount of cap space committed to corners, the ninth-lowest.

Simply put, cornerback is a much more immediate concern. For better or worse, starters Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are free agents themselves. The Eagles can't go into a season with Jones, Douglas, LeBlanc and Maddox, and a rookie only adds to the uncertainty.

Outside Jeff Okudah, a certain top-10 selection, there's not much of a consensus on the corner prospects later in the draft.

 

There's not much consensus on receivers either as far as their order is concerned, but conservatively, four will go in the first round, probably more. The Eagles will have no problem finding talent on Day 1.

And whatever people think of Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, they're likely to return. Injuries are a concern, but Jackson demonstrated an incredible rapport with Carson Wentz in a short amount of time, and Jeffery should be motivated in what will essentially be a contract year. Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside are still in the picture as well.

Which is a better use of the Eagles' resources: signing one, possibly a pair of proven, starting-caliber corners, or adding another pricey receiver to a roster that already has its fair share?

Granted, it's not entirely an either-or situation. In fact, the Eagles will bring in veterans at both spots.

They don't need to go out and get an Amari Cooper-level receiver though, not with what the draft has to offer. What they need is a Byron Jones type to solidify the corner position and bring instant credibility to a room that currently has none.

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