Philadelphia Eagles: Don’t discount Josh Perkins in 2020

Don’t discount Philadelphia Eagles’ tight end Josh Perkins

Josh Perkins is just a guy.

Since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2016, the University of Washington product has carved out a nice niche for both the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles as a change of pace tight end who can do a little bit of everything.

Measuring in at 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, Perkins is fast enough to go vertical, a willing blocker both in line or off, and stout enough to be a consistent option across the middle of the field when deployed out of the slot. In a post-Brent Celek, pre-Dallas Goedert world, Perkins would likely be a shoo-in tight end two for the Philadelphia Eagles. But with the 2020 NFL season right around the corner, many fans may forget he is even on the roster.

He is, by the way. Perkins is entering the final year of his contract, worth $825,000.

“Why should I care? With Ertz and Goedert under contract, why should the Eagles have to rely on a third tight end? Will they even keep a third tight end going into 2020?”

Good question. Objectively, there is some merit to that line of thinking, as the Eagles did only keep two tight ends for much of 2020, but as the season devolved into a mess of waiver wire signees and practice squad call-ups at wide receiver, Perkins developed into a viable pass-catching option.

Heck, after signing with the team in November and switching his number from 83 to 81, a distracted fan may have mistaken Perkins for ex slot receiver Jordan Matthews due to their shared number, size, and assigned short and intermediate route concepts. While his 2019 numbers may leave something to the imagination, as he only hauled in 9 catches for 87 yards, those numbers are actually pretty good when you consider that he only played 131 snaps and was targeted 13 times. As crazy as it may sound, Perkins is actually one of the Eagles’ most reliable pass catchers statistically speaking, an outcome that would remain relatively constant with an uptick in production. Will Perkins ever catch 100 balls in a season? Most likely not, but that doesn’t mean he can’t fill a viable role on the Eagles’ 53 man roster this fall.

Back in the Brent Celek, Trey Burton days, the Eagles used three tight ends more often than almost any other team in the NFL. This super heavy look, when utilized correctly, forced opposing teams to stuff the box and allowed the Eagles to take advantage of mismatches thanks to their three viable in line receiving targets. Objectively speaking, Goedert is a better receiver than Burton, and Perkins is a better receiver than 2016 Celek, so in theory, this look could be even more deadly in 2020.

Factor in Perkins’ ability to contribute on special teams, and it’s hard to argue the Eagles would be better off with Perkins on another team.

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Despite an expansive roster and diverse collection of players, the NFL is still a star-driven league. Very few fans tune in to see how a team’s third linebacker performs against the run, or how many yards a team’s kick returner averages per play. That being said, retaining Josh Perkins going into the 2020 NFL season simply makes the Philadephia Eagles better. For my money, I’d take a do it all tight end over an 11th lineman or sixth defensive tackle any day.

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