There’s been a lot of roster change this off-season for the Eagles, and a side effect of that is you probably have some gear that is now outdated. Welcome to the club. So now you're in the market for a new jersey or a t-shirt jersey, but you're not sure who's name and number to wear. You don't want to get burned with a player who won't be on the team in 2016, but you don't want to roll the dice on presuming a breakout year either. Don’t worry, we at BGN are here to help. You don't want to be this guy. We don't want you to be this guy.
Put them in your starting lineup
The Eagles are in short supply of players who score touchdowns and are safe purchases. They pretty much all have at least one of an injury history, inconsistent play, or unknown roles. The one exception is Jordan Matthews who after a very good rookie year is in line for an even better sophomore season. He’s the only wide receiver you can count on to start (we’ll consider slot receiver a starting position) and other than Brent Celek, whose jersey you probably already own if you were ever going to buy it, is the only skill position starter without an injury history to worry about.
Why you should buy: You can finally feel good about wearing #81 again.
Everything you could want in a jersey, Jason Kelce has. He’s one of the best players in the league at his position. He’s under contract for many years, so you don't have to worry about him going anywhere. And there’s no risk of him getting in trouble for knucklehead stuff. Other than 69, offensive linemen numbers aren’t "cool", but that gives a Kelce jersey a certain appeal. Besides, you don't buy jerseys primarily because of the number, otherwise you'd have a Jeff Maehl jersey.
Why you should buy: You can set yourself apart from those who just get jerseys of flashy players and go with a fan favorite in the heart of the trenches.
He’s only been in Philadelphia for two years, but Connor Barwin is already a full-fledged Philadelphian. He takes SEPTA to work. He sees bands you see in venues you go to. He’s heavily involved in the community. He’s Philly. Not to mention he’s a really good player coming off a career year and team leader. And he just got an updated contract, ensuring that he will be on the team for the foreseeable future. Good player, good guy, good investment. If you're thinking of a black jersey, this might be the one.
Why you should buy: He makes plays both on the field and *James May voice* in your community.
You can never go wrong with the jersey of an established great player, and Jason Peters is such a purchase. There are a couple of reasons to choose him. First and foremost, he’s already a great player and has been for years. There’s no worry of him sucking and then when you move and you’re going through your closet you find his jersey and feel embarrassed you dropped money on it. Second, he is an unquestioned leader of the team, both vocally and when necessary, physically. That’s always a plus.
A Jason Peters jersey is the most worry-free option. He could suffer a career ending injury and no one would think twice when they saw you in it.
Why you should buy: You're from Philly and you fight.
Honorable Mention: DeMarco Murray
You might want to wait on DeMarco Murray. His own injury history coupled with the history of other running backs who are coming off a significantly high workload is a risky combination So you might want see how he performs before committing to a purchase. Unless....
Why you should buy: You have a close friend or family member who is a Cowboys fan. In that case feel free to buy his jersey (or hedge your bet and get a shirsey) and wear it whenever you see that person. Ya Man A Bird.
Save for the holidays
Risk: Low. An outstanding player. A name that makes the kid in you smirk. That’s enough to warrant a jersey purchase, but there is one red flag: his contract situation is up in the air. Fletcher Cox is under contract for 2016, but after that he’s a free agent. The team doesn't rush to sign him to a new contract this season, because he’s still on a very cheap contract for 2015. Though it would surprise many if they didn’t re-sign him, there’s still a risk and a jersey is not a cheap investment, so you might have to wait a year to know for sure.
When should you buy: The minute he signs a contract extension. But go ahead and get a shirsey, you’ll get at least two years out of it, which is a fair return on investment.
Risk: Low. Buying a rookie’s jersey is always a gamble, but Nelson Agholor seems like as safe a bet as there is. Chip Kelly’s offense is very productive for wide receivers, and Agholor looks like he could be a very good player right away. But there's no guarantee he will hit the ground running even if he emerges as a starter from the Eagles murky WR depth chart. As safe of a bet as he may be he’s still a risk, as all rookies are, until we see him in action.
When should you buy: Like Jordan Matthews was, we’ll know for sure if he’s a safe player around Thanksgiving, making him prime candidate for your holiday wish list while you’re gathered with your family watching the Eagles play the Lions.
Risk: Low. He’s young, he’s good, he’s a favorite of Chip Kelly so he will be here for a while… Kiko Alonso seems a good choice. But he too has risk, coming off missing an entire season due to injury. ACL injuries aren’t what they used to be, thanks to advances in medicine players are better able to recover from them, but they’re still no sure thing. Factor in that playing time for Alonso, Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans is still up in the air, and you might be rushing to judgment with a summertime purchase.
When should you buy: Like Agholor, give him about half a season before deciding to splash the cash.
Risk: Medium. The reason to wait on purchasing a Sam Bradford jersey is obvious: he’s on the last year of his contract and the Eagles haven’t shown much effort to extend him yet. And those sleeves...
I can't keep supporting Sam Bradford if he continues to wear those long sleeves. Cmon, man. pic.twitter.com/OWsA97Rwqo— Tyler Steege (@EaglesFanTalk) May 21, 2015
Has anyone told Sam Bradford that his sleeve cut makes him look like a kid in his dad's jersey— Dave Searles (@DaveSearles) May 27, 2015
When should you buy: Wait until he’s got a new contract or you might have to save space next to your Kevin Kolb jersey.
Risk: Medium. Heading into the 2014 season it seemed that Zach Ertz was going to have a big year. It wasn't to be, partially because the coaching staff felt his blocking wasn't good enough. If he can improve that, he should have a breakout season. And just as Jordan Matthews was an early favorite of Mark Sanchez last year, Ertz is an early favorite of Sam Bradford, which should bode well for his production. But if he doesn't improve his blocking and/or Chip Kelly favorite Brent Celek eats up red zone opportunities, you're stuck with the jersey of a part time player.
When should you buy: Because he's going to share a good deal of playing time with Celek, you might need to wait until the end of the season. If you're feeling lucky, go with a shirsey.
Risk: High. Vinny Curry has two very attractive reasons to buy his jersey. One, he’s a good pass rusher, and everyone likes that. Two, he’s a diehard Eagles fan. That alone is reason enough to buy it. But he carries enormous risk because he is in the last year of his contract and there’s a real possibility he could be playing elsewhere in 2016.
When should you buy: Like Cox, as soon as he signs a contract extension.
For everyone else, your mileage may vary.