In case you haven’t noticed, the NFL news cycle is currently moving at a glacial pace. Things have been especially quiet with the Philadelphia Eagles, who haven’t really made any news since announcing their coaching and front office changes last week.
So, forgive me if you think I’m reaching here, but I thought this recent Dave Spadaro column published on www.PhiladelphiaEagles.com was interesting. In an article focused around “characteristics needed for 2020,” the subject of team chemistry came up. Read the section for yourself below:
Interestingly enough, the mentions of “leaks” and “anonymous sources” in that middle paragraph were quickly scrubbed from the article. Here’s how the current version reads:
Since then, well, the swimming has not been as simple. The injuries have mounted. The Eagles have had to change the roster on the run. It [hasn’t] been ideal, but the team has been able to adjust and make the postseason in each of the last two seasons.
Hmmm. Kind of a big difference!
The assertion in the original paragraph sure wasn’t wrong; there have been too many leaks over the past couple seasons. And it’s hard to ignore that they’ve originated from a certain national reporter who happens to have a close relationship with a prominent player on the Eagles.
Of course, Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin definitively named Alshon Jeffery as the source behind the leaks. The Eagles did nothing to deny Eskin’s claim despite his very close relationship with the team (travels with the organization for road games, got awarded a Super Bowl ring, etc).
Some remain skeptical that Jeffery was behind the leaks. Some may even acknowledge as much but still believe he’ll be on the team in 2020 due to the fact cutting him would account for $26.1 million in dead money. Not to mention his injury recovery could complicate matters.
Others believe the money won’t impede the Eagles from cutting ties. Former Eagles president Joe Banner said he doesn’t expect Jeffery to be back in 2020. Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice (and also of BGN Radio) has consistently expressed that he doesn’t believe Jeffery will be retained.
In fact, Jimmy went as far to put “Cut Alshonymous” as the first slide in his annual Eagles calendar stick figure prediction that’s “based mostly on logic, and mayyyyybe a little inside knowledge here and there.”
It’s not so fun to rush Jeffery out the door considering his contributions to the Eagles’ Super Bowl success in 2017. But it’s also difficult to ignore how both the team’s offensive production and team chemistry improved down the stretch in 2019 once Jeffery was out of the picture.
Even with the dead money to consider, is it so crazy to think the Eagles would want to move on from a 30-year-old wide receiver who was having the worst season of his career prior to suffering a significant foot injury? Especially when that player doesn’t have a great connection with the starting quarterback? And may have been the source of leaks?
My reaction upon reading the now-deleted portion of Spadaro’s column is that he was kind of setting the table for a Jeffery departure. Maybe I’m reading into that too much.
Or maybe Spuds really was dropping a hint, as he does from time to time. The idea that he doesn’t know anything just isn’t true. (See: Foreshadowing Jordan Matthews not being on the team in 2017 and Jeffery’s contract extension as just a couple examples.)
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Will Alshon Jeffery be on the Eagles’ 53-man roster in 2020?
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