The Eagles are in desperate need of help at wide receiver. Their top outside options -- Dorial Green-Beckham and Nelson Agholor -- rank 111th and 132nd in receiving yards, respectively. It is a top priority within the NovaCare Complex to provide quarterback Carson Wentz with better weapons, and Jackson, who ranks eighth in the NFL at 16.5 yards per catch, would give the group an immediate talent boost while providing a legitimate deep threat the current team desperately lacks. The big question is how much longer Jackson will be able to provide that service given that next season will be his 10th in the NFL.
Jackson caused his share of headaches during his six seasons in Philadelphia, and it's fair to assume that the idea of revisiting that relationship would not be met with universal approval in the building. But, per Schefter's report, he has an admirer in head coach Doug Pederson, and the decision-making is ultimately in the hands of a select few, including executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman, who was part of the management group that re-signed Jackson to a big deal in 2012 and might not mind reversing another one of Kelly's moves.
For both sides, it will come down in large part to the price tag, obviously. That will drive most conversations to a large extent. But Jackson is also expected to weigh other factors, including quality of the quarterback situation and the level to which he will be featured in the offense.
“I could have maybe got in his way, impeded his progress a little more to ensure that he didn’t get near Carson by any means. But like I said, there was a thousand things going through my mind on that play and there’s a million reasons why I do stuff on each and every play,” Ertz said. “I understand all the criticism and stuff.
“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play. I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past. I understand how it looks on the film, but I’m not going to get into the minute details of what I saw on the play and what I didn’t see on the play and how it impacted the play and vice versa.”
Raising Questions About Howie Roseman - Philly Mag
The issue of talent brings us back to Roseman. And Kelly, too. Kelly left the Eagles in a bad spot by getting rid of some of the Eagles’ best offensive players in recent years. Kelly had a large role in cutting DeSean Jackson. He also traded LeSean McCoy away and he failed to re-sign Jeremy Maclin. Kelly didn’t draft a single offensive lineman after selecting Lane Johnson in 2013. And so on.
So far, Roseman hasn’t been able to replace that talent. In fairness, it would be hard to expect him to fix all of the Eagles’ needs in one offseason. He certainly needs more time to do that. But he might not be the right man for the job. Some of Roseman’s moves since getting the job back haven’t been great.
The in-house contract extensions Roseman handed out earlier this year haven’t been slam dunks. Zach Ertz still hasn’t broken out. Vinny Curry plays 43% of the team’s snaps despite being paid like a starter. The tape shows Fletcher Cox has played well but the $100 million man has gone eight straight games without recording a sack. Johnson, set to be the left tackle of the future, is now one failed drug test away from being suspended for two years.
Roseman’s free agency signings went a little better. Brandon Brooks has been a solid starting right guard and safety Rodney McLeod has made some big plays this year. But the signings of veteran wide receivers Rueben Randle and Chris Givens, despite being low-risk deals, turned out to be total flops at a position where the Eagles desperately need any help.
"Facts of life," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Tuesday. "Our corners aren't playing very well right now."
What do you expect when the starters are second- and third-tier free agents, and the third corner is a seventh-round draft pick? The Eagles used to consider cornerback a premium position. And while some of those evaluations were off the mark, the acquisitions reflected a belief in concentrating your defensive strengths at the edges.
But this offseason the Eagles seemingly adopted a new philosophy when they spent significantly more at safety by extending the contract of Malcolm Jenkins (four years, $35 million) and adding free agent Rodney McLeod (five years, $35 million).
He became UNLV's first College Hall representative with some impressive and varied credentials from 1982 through 1985. He's still the school's career leader in passing yards and touchdown passes, as well as in punting average (45.6).
In fact, at times, Cunningham's punting overshadowed his passing. He was a first-team all-American only once at UNLV, as a punter in 1983.
"When I got there, they didn't even know I could punt," he said. "We were struggling with our punting, and one day, a really windy day like you get a lot in Las Vegas, I was just messing around and I was getting an extra 30 yards in the wind, booting the ball way down the field. Our coach then [Harvey Hyde] wasn't the one who recruited me and he was a little surprised. He said, 'I didn't know you punted.' "