It still doesn’t feel real.
The fact that the Philadelphia Eagles have some actual NFL wide receivers now is just so ... refreshing ... after watching a painfully disastrous wide receiving corps each and every week last year.
PROJECTED 2017 EAGLES WIDE RECEIVER DEPTH CHART
1 - ALSHON JEFFERY!
2 - Torrey Smith
3 - Jordan Matthews
4 - (Rookie?)
5 - Nelson Agholor
Total career receptions combined = 854
Total career yards combined = 12,391
Total career touchdowns combined = 85
Now let’s compare this 2017 group to 2016’s depth chart.
ACTUAL 2016 EAGLES WIDE RECEIVER DEPTH CHART
1 - Jordan Matthews
2 - Nelson Agholor
3 - Dorial Green-Beckham
4 - Bryce Treggs
5 - Paul Turner
Total career receptions combined = 364
Total career yards combined = 4,468
Total career touchdowns combined = 28
Here are some more thoughts on Eagles wide receivers in bullet-point form.
- 2017 is already sooooo much better that it’s not even funny. And we don’t even know the final picture yet because there’s still a lot of offseason left.
- The Eagles still pretty much have to draft a wide receiver at some point this year. Smith and Jeffery are on one-year deals. They need to have long-term insurance. That’s why I listed a rookie in the 2017 projection.
- Players fighting for a roster spot in 2017: Dorial Green-Beckham, Bryce Treggs, Paul Turner, Rasheed Bailey, Marcus Johnson, David Watford, Dom Williams. The Eagles will also add some draft picks and/or undrafted rookie free agents receivers to this mix. Philadelphia also might not be totally done signing pass catchers in free agency. They could still look to take a flier on a very cheap option at this point.
- 2015 first-round pick Nelson Agholor isn’t fighting for a roster spot because the Eagles will lose $2.3 million in cap space by cutting him. He’s virtually a lock to be on the roster unless a team trades for them, which doesn’t seem likely. If the Eagles trade him, they can save a very small amount of cap space ($17,000) as opposed to taking a significant loss.
- Agholor might be on the team but that doesn’t mean he’s going to play a lot. He should be at the bottom of the depth chart. It’s possible he might not even be active on game day. And if he is, he’ll need to pull his weight on special teams.
- It would take Agholor approximately 26 more seasons at his current pace to catch up to Jeffery’s current career production. Sad! (Stat via @nvuono.)
- Speaking of production, Jeffery has more receiving yards in his five-year career than the Eagles’ five 2016 receivers have in their entire careers combined. So does Torrey Smith.
- DGB doesn’t really project as a special teams player so it’s going to be pretty hard for him to make the team if he’s getting pushed down the depth chart.
- Matthews could potentially be playing his last season with the Eagles. The starting slot receiver is a free agent after this season. There was talk from the weekend that the team is open to hearing trade offers for him.
- It’ll be interesting to see how Matthews (and tight end Zach Ertz) perform now that the Eagles actually have a legitimate deep threat and a stud No. 1. One would think the presence of Smith and Jeffery will open up the underneath passing game.
- Smith isn’t necessarily a lock to make the team. He reportedly received only $500,000 in guaranteed money. With that said, I do think he’ll make it and be a starter. He’s struggled in San Francisco the past two years, yes, but he might rebound here.
- And lastly ... Wentz is going to be so happy to finally have some legit targets to work with.