Howie Roseman using the phrase “elephant in the room” last month to describe Alshon Jeffery’s status with the Philadelphia Eagles was apt. It’s not perfectly clear what the future holds for the 30-year-old veteran.
While some interpreted Roseman’s comments — combined with the team’s inaction at wide receiver — to mean that Jeffery will be back with the Eagles in 2020, there are still signs that indicate otherwise.
The latest development in the Jeffery saga comes from The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, who reports the Eagles have been trying to trade him since last season (October 2019).
It didn’t take long before Howie Roseman realized that he had made a mistake when he guaranteed Alshon Jeffery’s salary for 2020 just before last season.
The Eagles general manager began actively shopping Jeffery about a month later, NFL sources told The Inquirer, as the wide receiver’s production waned, his injuries mounted, and he became implicated as the anonymous source behind disparaging comments about the team to ESPN.
Jeffery had become aware that he was on the market and was troubled by the mixed messages he had received from the team, a source close to the receiver said.
McLane also notes that Jeffery still “remains available to other teams.” This sentiment lines up with a report from earlier this offseason that stated the Eagles are “looking to move Jeffery.”
Of course, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles being able to trade Jeffery. There are multiple deterrents that are suppressing his value. In addition to the concerns listed by McLane, there’s also the matter that the 2020 NFL Draft is perceived to be loaded with receiver talent. Why trade an asset for Jeffery’s albatross contract when you can take a shot on a rookie with upside?
The thinking here is that Roseman is holding out hope that Jeffery will have value at some point. Maybe such a scenario will materialize as Jeffery recovers from the Lisfranc injury he suffered last year. I have my doubts but Roseman has previously extracted value in some unexpected ways (see: the DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell trades).
Some have argued the Eagles should just keep Jeffery since cutting him doesn’t offer the Eagles a financial benefit. Designating him as a post-June 1 clears $0 in cap space and creates over $15.4 million in dead money.
But it seems like the Eagles just don’t want Jeffery around anymore.
Think about it. There have been multiple indications about how the Eagles want to make this Carson Wentz’s team. Can you really see them keeping the guy who’s undermined the franchise quarterback on multiple occasions?
And, please, spare me the “How do we even know if it was Jeffery who criticized Wentz?!” nonsense. Jimmy Kempski said the following on BGN Radio episode 113:
“I know for certain that [Jeffery] has trashed [Wentz] to other media folks over the last couple of years.”
McLane’s report also states that “many players and team officials believe [Jeffery] to be the source.” This shouldn’t be hard to believe considering Jeffery was reportedly involved in a locker room confrontation last year.
Given how the Eagles have been trying to move on from Jeffery dating back to six months ago, I find it hard to believe he’s seriously in the plans for 2020. Just because they haven’t cut ties yet doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen eventually.