There’s some good news and some bad news regarding Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
The good news is the 28-year-old will reportedly avoid beginning the 2018 NFL season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list (PUP). This means he won’t automatically be out for six weeks.
The bad news is Jeffery will not be ready to play when the Eagles begin their regular season schedule on Thursday, September 6.
More from NFL insider Adam Schefter:
Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery is expected to miss at least the first two games of the season, but the team will activate him to the 53-man roster this weekend with optimism he could be back by week 3, per @mortreport and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 28, 2018
This news isn’t totally unexpected. Jeffery began training camp on the active/PUP list and hasn’t been able to practice all summer after having offseason surgery on a torn rotator cuff that he played through in 2017. His projected return was always somewhere around Week 1.
If Jeffery only misses two games, the Eagles will be without him in their machups against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. Then he could potentially return against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3 on Sunday, September 23.
With Jeffery set to miss some time, the Eagles could look to keep six receivers on their 53-man roster. Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson are the five locks. The sixth guy could be DeAndre Carter, who has impressed in preseason action, or a veteran like Markus Wheaton or Kamar Aiken.
It’ll be interesting to see who starts in Jeffery’s place. One would figure it’ll be Hollins, who was taking first team reps in his stead throughout the offseason. Hollins has missed the last three preseason games due to an undisclosed lower body injury, however. Doug Pederson did say on Tuesday that he “expect[s] him back going into the regular season.”
Hollins did not look super impressive while filling in for Jeffery this offseason. It’s not that he looked bad by any means; he just didn’t do a ton to stand out in a good way. The reason for this could be related to Hollins reportedly having offseason sports hernia surgery.
But back to Jeffery. Pederson had the following to say about him earlier on Tuesday:
Well, first of all, he’s doing well in this rehab. He’s working every day. He’s progressed up to about 75 throws a day and really doing a nice job with that. We’re just going to continue to monitor him and we’ll see where he is at next week and make a decision. But right now, he’s progressing well; we just got to see his day by day.
The Eagles will hope Jeffery’s progression continues to go well. It’s not like Philadelphia’s offense will be devoid of capable weapons with him out but the Eagles are certainly counting on him to be a key contributor. The four-year, $52 million contract extension he signed last December indicates as much.