Philadelphia Eagles: Does Alshon Jeffery have any trade value?

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

With very little incentive to cut Alshon Jeffery and his fully guaranteed contract, what kind of compensation could the Philadelphia Eagles recoup via trade?

Conventional wisdom would suggest that a team that struggled mightily to get production out of the wide receiver position isn’t going to suddenly get better by dumping their best player at the position.

But there’s the thing: There’s nothing conventional about the Philadelphia Eagles current situation with Alshon Jeffery.

Over the course of the 2019 calendar year, Jeffery dropped a Nick Foles pass that was ultimately intercepted by Marshon Lattimore in an ultimately losing effort to the New Orleans Saints, had his contract restructured to fully guarantee his $13 million in 2020, and then drew ire from fans across the Delaware Valley for being outed by Howard Eskins as the alleged locker room leaker that dished on everything from Jalen Ramsey to Carson Wentz.

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So needless to say, when news broke that Jeffery would happily accept a one-way ticket out of the City of Brotherly Love, many fans lined up to drive the disgruntled South Carolina Gamecock out of town.

But before we collectively tar and feather the Birds’ soon-to-be-former-WR1, a question has to be asked: How would the Eagles get rid of Jeffery?

Sure Howie Roseman could simply waive Jeffery outright and eat his $13 million cap hit, but that’s just not his style, man. Baring a second restructuring that makes his guaranteed money offset against his next contract, or some sort of cap relief, it feels borderline irresponsible to commit that kind of money to a player who won’t play in 2020.

No, the only realistic path to a conscious uncoupling between Jeffery and the Eagles has to come via trade.

Fortunately for the Eagles, the NFL does not require teams to have to jump through excessively complicated hoops to make money work in a potential trade like their cousins in the NBA, so in theory, any team could call up Roseman, offer a player/pick and have a slightly disgruntled wide receiver in their practice facility for the first day of camp.

That’s good news.

The bad news? There really aren’t that many teams looking to surrender a valuable asset for a 30-year-old wide receiver with a fairly well-documented history of injuries.

If, say, the New York Jets, a team that has been linked to Jeffery as of late, were to come calling about Jeffery, they would likely only be willing to surrender a Day 3 draft pick for his services, maybe even a conditional one depending on their confidence in his fit on the team.

Would the Eagles really trade away their top wide receiver, one of only two wide receivers on their roster who has ever had 1,000 yards in a single season, for a conditional sixth that turns into a five if he appears in 10 or more games? That’s selling low, right?

Jeffery is good, in some people’s eyes at least, but he isn’t going to get a second-round pick like Mohamed Sanu garnered last year, or even a third-round pick like Golden Tate two deadlines ago. His deal would probably look more like deal that sent Demaryius Thomas to the Jets last fall: A 2021 sixth-round pick for the former number one receiver.

No, the best way to surrender Jeffery and actually get something solid back may involve packaging his contract, along with draft compensation, to trade for a legit starting-caliber contributor.

Would the Detroit Lions be more willing to ship Darius Slay to South Philly for a second-round pick if they also got a season of NFC North stalwart Jeffery to sweeten the deal? How about flipping Jeffery and some pick swaps to the Minnesota Vikings for Stefon Diggs? Diggs is a fantastic wide receiver and could potentially be the best in the NFC East. If Jeffery can help to sweeten a potential deal to procure his services, even if it cost you as much as a first-round pick, it would undoubtedly make the Eagles better.

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As Philly fans witnessed first hand not too long ago, the New York Giants were massively under-compensated when they traded Odell Beckham because of his off the field issues. Alshon Jeffery’s locker room issues, health issues, and on-field issues don’t exactly make him untradeable but may leave Philadelphia Eagles’ fans with a similarly bad taste in their mouths over just how little he can garner from an outside team. Fortunately, Howie Roseman is a cap wizard, so maybe he can make something happen.