The start of 2017 NFL free agency is still a month away, but the rumors have already begun. The latest one connects the Philadelphia Eagles to a popular free agent wide receiver target: Alshon Jeffery. NFL insider Jason La Canfora reports the Eagles will “be in on” the 26-year-old pass catcher.
This isn’t the first time the Eagles have been linked to Jeffery. There was talk (from La Canfora originally, interestingly enough) that Philly had interest in acquiring him in-season prior to the 2016 NFL trade deadline, but that unlikely scenario never materialized. Now that he’s expected to be a free agent, the Eagles’ chances of landing Jeffery are much more realistic.
Jeffery isn’t a slam dunk option for the Eagles. The concerns are apparent: he’s dealt with a number of soft tissue injuries over his career and he’s also one PEDs suspension away from missing 10 games (sup, Lane Johnson).
But there’s certainly intrigue with Jeffery as well. He has great size at 6-4, 230 pounds. He’s the best free agent receiver on the market and the Eagles badly need help at that position (in case you weren’t aware). Over five seasons with the Bears, Jeffery has amassed 4,549 yards and 26 touchdowns on 304 receptions. He’d give Carson Wentz a nice new target to throw to, which is a priority for the team this offseason, as La Canfora notes.
Another potential Eagles target in free agency is DeSean Jackson. There’s already been a lot of buzz about how Jackson and the Eagles have mutual interest in a return to Philly. But while La Canfora mentions Jackson coming back is “absolutely” possible, he cautions it’s far from a certainty. He expects the 30-year-old Washington receiver to have a big market.
“In the meantime, I'd say, there is a legitimate chance [Jackson] ends up somewhere besides Philadelphia, and, at age 30, I'd anticipate there being a good number of suitors for his services,” writes La Canfora.
It’s worth noting Jackson recently said in an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic that he wants to stay in Washington. That’s all well and good, but Washington has to be willing to bring him back, and there have been rumblings that the team is ready to move on.
Jackson returning to the Eagles would make sense because Philadelphia sure needs a deep threat. But he might not be the right fit the Eagles are looking for considering how Howie Roseman talked about signing younger free agents (such as 24-year-old Kenny Stills, perhaps?) who can contribute in the long-term.
Along with Jeffery and Jackson, La Canfora also brought up how the Eagles tried to trade for Torrey Smith prior the trade deadline. Smith isn’t worth trading for due to his contract but he could be an option for the Eagles if the 49ers cut him, as expected. Pierre Garçon wasn’t mentioned by La Canfora but a recent rumor connected the veteran Washington receiver to the Eagles as well.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Eagles do at the wide receiver position this offseason. They obviously need all the help they can get there. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the team make multiple signings at the position, but maybe a big splash (such as Jeffery) is the way they’ll go.