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Eagles miss out on the top remaining free agent deep threats

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Cool, cool.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Well, the Philadelphia Eagles won’t be adding one of the top deep threat wide receivers available in free agency. Both of those players came off the market on Tuesday.

First, Robby Anderson signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Carolina Panthers.

Then the New York Jets signed Breshad Perriman to a one-year, $8 million deal ($6 million guaranteed) to be Anderson’s replacement.

It’s pretty disappointing that Howie Roseman didn’t sign one of these guys. Both players were logical fits in Philly. There was an especially strong case to be made for acquiring Perriman.

Here’s what’s left for the Eagles on the receiver market now (via Establish The Run):

Paul Richardson (28)

Rashard Higgins (25)

Demarcus Robinson (25)

Ted Ginn (34)

Tajae Sharpe (25)

Taylor Gabriel (29)

Demaryius Thomas (32)

Geronimo Allison (26)

Marcus Johnson (25)

Tavon Austin (29)

Jarius Wright (30)

Chris Hogan (31)

Justin Hardy (28)

Dontrelle Inman (31)

Dwayne Harris (32)

Cody Latimer (27)

Chester Rogers (26)

Ryan Grant (29)

Russell Shepard (29)

Jaron Brown (30)

Chris Moore (26)

Trevor Davis (26)

Jermaine Kearse (30)

Richardson is the player who comes closest to being a “burner.” But injuries over the past two years have limited him to 17 out of 32 possible games and a measly 10.4 yards per reception mark. Guys like Higgins (13.8 career yards per reception and 4.64 speed), Robinson (12.7 and 4.59), and Sharpe (12.7 and 4.55) are at least young, so there’s that, but they’re hardly vertical threats.

Perhaps Roseman has another trade up his sleeve. Brandin Cooks, perhaps? The problem with that route is the Eagles are down to eight picks in the 2020 NFL Draft after the Darius Slay deal. Are they really just going to keep trading those away after only making 10 selections in the last two drafts combined? If so, what happened to Jeffrey Lurie stating that the team needs to draft in volume?

Perhaps the Eagles are merely relying on getting some instant impact receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft. Such a strategy seems incredibly ... bold ... for an organization that has struggled to successfully draft and develop receiver talent over the past 10 years. I mean, it was just last year that the Eagles drafted JJ Arcega-Whiteside and he had a very discouraging season while plenty of other rookies flashed in a good way.

It’s hard to believe the Eagles haven’t been more serious about fixing such a glaring need to this point. They clearly had the worst wide receiving corps in the league last year. The current picture for 2020 isn’t much more encouraging with the follow players currently under contract:

Alshon Jeffery

DeSean Jackson

Greg Ward

JJ Arcega-Whiteside

Robert Davis

Deontay Burnett

Shelton Gibson

Marken Michel

Marcus Green

River Cracraft

Jeffery is expected to be designated as a post-June 1 cut at some point. Even if he isn’t, how good are you really feeling about a 30-year-old coming off both the worst season of his career and an Achilles injury? Not to mention the accompanying locker issues.

Jackson and Wentz appeared to have a great connection last offseason and into Week 1. Then the speedster suffered what became a season-ending injury and the Eagles had no viable replacement for him. How much can the Eagles rely on Jackson as he comes off core muscle surgery and turns 34 this year? And what’s the backup plan if he’s unavailable again? There currently isn’t one.

Ward stepped up and did some nice things down the stretch, no doubt. Still, he merely logged 9.1 yards per reception. He might be a viable slot receiver but that’s not a given and it’s not like he’s stretching the field.

History does not bode well for JJAW’s outlook. It’s obviously too early to write the book on his career but it’s entirely possible he’s just not very good.

Davis, Burnett, Gibson, Michel, Green, and Cracraft all have uphill battles just to make the 2020 roster.

This overall outlook should improve when the Eagles draft a receiver or two. We know they’re probably going to do as much. But will they pick the right guys? Will those guys really be able to contribute right away? There’s a lot of uncertainty here.

What we do know is that it’d be a real shame if the Eagles go through another season where Carson Wentz is working with one of the NFL’s worst receiving corps. One can only hope the Eagles find a way to get this right.