Philadelphia Eagles: Quincy Enunwa’s new deal is bad news for Philly

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

While it’s always nice to see a player like Quincy Enunwa get paid, it’s certainly not great for the Philadelphia Eagles and their receiving corp.

The Philadelphia Eagles are going to have some tough decisions to make this offseason.

With about 20 percent of the team’s roster set to become free agents, Howie Roseman is going to have to make tough decisions at a variety of different positions that could result in quite a few fan favorite players leaving the City of Brotherly Love for new homes.

One position to keep an eye on in particular has to be wide receiver.

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Of the five wide receivers left on the active roster in Week 17, only two, number one option Alshon Jeffery and seldom used slot Shelton Gibson are under contract long-term, with the remaining three, Mike Wallace, Golden Tate, and Nelson Agholor either set to enter unrestricted free agency or in the final year of their deal.

While it could be argued which of these players deserve a new deal, it’s clear the Eagles are going to have some tough decisions to make over the forthcoming months as to how they want to address the position both now and moving forward.

Sure, the Birds could once again opt to draft a sure-bet, uber-productive college receiver atop The 2019 NFL Draft, a move that would provide parody for their salary cap once Carson Wentz and/or Nick Foles receive their $20 million, but that’s clearly risky. If it doesn’t work out, the Eagles could be faced with the Dallas-esque situation where they once again return to the doldrums of a mismatched, bargain-bin receiving corps.

No, if the Eagles are going to remain offensively potent, retaining at least one of their impending starters has to be high on the team’s wish list.

However, if the recent deal signed by Quincy Enunwa is of any indication, it might come cheap.

After largely underperforming over the first four years of his contract, Enunwa, a 2014 sixth-round pick from Nebraska just signed a 4-year $36 million deal to remain with the New York Jets through the 2022 season.

While this is obviously great news for Enunwa, as it’s always nice to see a player get paid, his contract just set a new standard for the market that could have very negative consequences for the Eagles’ receiving corps.

Now don’t get me wrong, Enuwa isn’t a bad player, but he’s not even close to a number one option on a good team, and may never even consistently excel as a number two option.

Over his first four seasons in the league, Enunwa has hauled in 118 passes for 1,621 yards and five touchdowns. Now granted, those numbers are a bit misleading, as he didn’t catch a pass as a rookie, but that doesn’t exactly make things a whole lot better, as outside of last season where he hauled in over 800 yards, Enunwa averaged about 500 yards a season in 2016 and 2018.

If that trend continues, Enunwa will earn roughly $225,000 a catch in 2019.

Now granted, it makes sense as to why the Jets opted to extend the fourth-year Cornhusker for four more seasons, as he was injured off and on for much of the season and clearly has a rapport with Sam Darnold, but it’s also not hard to imagine the team finding a better way to utilize that $9 million a year in cap space.

Which brings us to the Eagles.

Unlike the Jets, who are projected to still have close to $80 million in available cap space post signing; the Eagles are in a tough spot both in 2019 and for the foreseeable future.

As things presently stand, the Eagles are currently about $10 million over the cap according to Over The Cap and will have to restructure some deals and let some players walk to even things out.

With supporting contributors like Jalen Mills, Jordan Hicks, Corey Clement, and a host of other players set to become free agents at some point over the next few years, the Eagles really can’t afford to be shouldered with a bad deal, which is unfortunate, because there’s no clear answer as to which of the team’s offensive weapons they should resign.

Sure, the smart money is on extending Agholor, as he’s the youngest of the three with the highest upside, but his production has come in spurts. Having never eclipse the 1,000-yard mark over his first four seasons in the league, Agholor will likely want a contract dwarfing that of Enunwa, as well as his USC teammate Robert Woods‘ five-year, $34 million deal that I’m sure the team would like to mirror.

Much like Agholor, Woods really didn’t do a whole lot before signing his extension, but has since caught on with the Los Angeles Rams and become invaluable as their slot receiver. While Agholor is on a similar trajectory, it’s anyone’s guess as to what his role could be with the team moving forward, be that in the slot, or as the team’s deep threat, a position he’s flirted with over the past few games with Foles under center. Handing him a four-year deal in the $48 million range is risky.

Can the team with a murky cap future really afford to gamble that kind of guaranteed money on a player without a clearly defined role, especially when players like DeSean Jackson could be had on a much shorter deal?

Theoretically, the Eagles have one more season to figure that out, but most players in Agholor’s position expect to receive an extension before their final contract, and it may cause ill will if the team instead allow him to play out the season as a lame duck, even on a very lucrative $9 million fifth-year option.

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But regardless of how Nelson Agholor plays in the final year of his deal, it’s abundantly clear that Quincy Enunwa’s new deal will serve as a new low water mark for a wide receiver two, a fact that his agent will certainly flaunt to the Philadelphia Eagles when contract negotiations begin.