Nelson Agholor

'No vacations' for WR Shelton Gibson as he seeks bigger role with Eagles

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AP Images

'No vacations' for WR Shelton Gibson as he seeks bigger role with Eagles

What a difference a year makes.

At this time last year, wide receiver Shelton Gibson was a struggling rookie and appeared to be lost trying to make the transition from the college ranks to the pros. During 2017, he could barely get on the field, suiting up for only five regular-season games and playing a grand total of 17 offensive snaps. He found his niche at gunner on the punt team, playing 44 snaps on that unit, while his only two catches of the year came in the regular-season finale against Dallas.

Fast-forward to now and you see a much more confident, aware and sure-handed second-year pro.

“I’m just competing at a better level and that's the thing Coach (Doug) Pederson always says — just compete,” Gibson said this week. “That's one of the things I do best is compete. I'm trying to do everything I can to just help this team win another championship.”

There are times when we all need a little motivation, a voice of reason to push us to another level. For Gibson, that extra push comes on a daily basis from fellow wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who has firsthand experience at overcoming obstacles on the field. 

“I definitely lean on Nellie,” Gibson said. “Just seeing what he's done in the offseason, the way that he prepares every single day, the way he takes everything so seriously. I'm probably not doing everything that Nellie is doing right now, but i'm gradually getting into it just asking him questions every day.”

Agholor added, “He's in here every morning. He's become an early bird, and I’m proud of him. Now its about consistency because that's whats going to define him.”

The Eagles now go their separate ways for more than five weeks until training camp. While many talk about spending quality family time and vacations, there is no downtime for Gibson.

”I won't shut down at all. No vacations,” he said. “Somebody just asked me that the other day — ‘Where are you vacationing?’ I said I can't do it.”

Eagles teammates expose Nelson Agholor's golf swing

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Wendell Smallwood's Instagram story

Eagles teammates expose Nelson Agholor's golf swing

Fortunately for Nelson Agholor, he doesn't make a living off his golf swing.

Instead, he gets paid to make plays on the football field, something he did plenty of during a career year last season, helping the Eagles win their first-ever Super Bowl title.

But that didn't prevent his teammates from ribbing him Monday.

Zach Ertz and Wendell Smallwood exposed their buddy by posting videos of Agholor golfing not so well (to put it nicely) on their Instagram stories, which you can watch here.

It clearly looks like Agholor is a beginner at the sport of golf. Give him credit for trying. Known for being one of the hardest workers in the Eagles' locker room, it wouldn't be surprising to see, with time, Agholor develop that golf swing.

But for now, he's going to draw some comparisons to Charles Barkley.

Eagles exercise Nelson Agholor's 5th-year option

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USA Today Images

Eagles exercise Nelson Agholor's 5th-year option

The Eagles on Monday officially exercised the fifth-year option on Nelson Agholor’s contract after the wide receiver had a career year in 2017. 

The option will keep Agholor in an Eagles uniform through the 2019 season. 

Just a year ago, it seemed entirely unlikely this day would ever come. Many were already labeling Agholor as a bust after two disappointing seasons. 

But Agholor, 24, broke out in a big way last season and helped the Eagles win their first-ever Super Bowl. 

He caught 62 passes for 768 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017 and became the Eagles’ most explosive offensive weapon. As important, he carried over his regular-season success into the playoffs, when he caught 15 passes for 167 more yards. He caught nine passes for 84 yards in Super Bowl LII. 

“This whole year’s been a blessing,” Agholor said after winning the championship. “At the end of the day, it’s me trying to be who I’m supposed to be. From here on out, I’ve just got to keep working hard and have great focus to get better each year.”

While many were ready to write off the 2015 first-round pick after two subpar seasons in the league, Agholor proved them all wrong in 2017. From the moment he got to spring workouts, he looked like a different player. He carried that momentum into the summer’s training camp and took over as the Eagles’ slot receiver after Jordan Matthews was traded to the Bills. 

Because Agholor was the 20th overall pick (outside the top 10) in 2015, his salary for the 2019 option year will be an average of third- through 25th-highest paid receiver in the league. That is estimated to come out to around $9.4 million for Agholor next season. That’s pricey, but not unreasonable. It’s also important to note that this money is guaranteed for injury only. 

And there’s nothing preventing the Eagles and Agholor from working out a long-term deal before the option year kicks in. If Agholor ends up putting together an even better season this year, that $9.4M figure might look like even more of a bargain, but then maybe the Eagles can figure out a way to extend him to get his cap number down in what should be a difficult cap season. 

The Eagles had to decide about Agholor’s fifth-year option by the deadline this week. It was much more of a no-brainer than anyone would have guessed not that long ago.