Assessing The Eagles: Wide ReceiverBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Current State: D-Jax voiced then partially recanted his desire for a new contract. At the end of the day, DeSean will be in camp, on time, and will continue on his 2013 success in the Chip Kelly offense.
-Riley Cooper is coming off his best season and is entering free agency. Cooper is really a WR 3 or 4, who overachieved when forced into the WR-2 role due to injuries. He did develop a noticeable and not to ignore chemistry and trust of Nick Foles which is something that must be taken into consideration.
-Jeremy Maclin was prepared to have his coming out party in the Chip Kelly spread offense before his knee injury. Maclin’s speed would have opened up Chip Kelly’s offense even more, but now the question of whether to sign the free agent and how healthy he has rehabbed will be a decision left for the Eagles front office to make.
-Jason Avant makes close to 4 million dollars in 2014, a salary hit not worthy of his expected role moving forward. He is a great leader and has established his role well since being drafted out of Michigan, but is his skillset best served for another franchise?
-Damaris Johnson and even Benn are all under contract for 2014. Johnson and Benn will have a hard time making this team if kept long enough to be given that opportunity.
- Brad Smith came to the Eagles late in the season, and was used sparingly in packages that were noticeable with what direction they were heading in. Neither Johnson nor Smith showed the ability to make a big play as a kick returner, adding fewer reasons for the Eagles to welcome them back to their 2014 roster.
Moving forward: The Eagles front office/coaching staff can opt to shuffle the deck with their receiving core or bring back the familiar faces from the 2013 season. With Foles at QB, I would have to think that it alters the need for certain types of WR’s with the spread style of offense.
There is part of me that could see the Eagles bringing every WR back for 2014, including Maclin. There is also a feeling that the Eagles could look to free agency and the draft to rebuild and retool their receiving core.
As previously mentioned, Desean Jackson is under contract, it may not be the one he currently desires; but he will be a member of the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles.
Hopefully Maclin can be signed for a one year deal. The problem I see occurring is another team that has a lack of depth at the receiver position and significant cap flexibility offering Maclin a multi-year deal. In the end I see Maclin taking a three year deal with another team; and another former first round pick no longer contributing to our franchise.
Cooper will be back, signing a four year deal which he may only play half of those contractual years in Philadelphia.
Avant will restructure his deal and return to Philadelphia, and Brad Smith will get a chance to make the team with a full off-season and training camp to fully learn the Chip Kelly offense.
The Eagles will draft a receiver but the likelihood of it being prior to the third round is slim. I could see the Eagles bringing in a familiar name once free agency opens up, but I would expect any “shock” signing, especially with the lackluster WR talent that will be available.
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