The Philadelphia Eagles need to stick with their young guns at WR.
Following the team’s third loss of the season, Doug Pederson revealed that veteran receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery would begin to ramp back up in practice. Jeffery has been out due to injury since last December, and DJax has barely made an impact since returning to Philly at the start of the 2019 season. While getting back your two highest paid weapons is normally a cause for celebration, the Philadelphia Eagles would very simply be better off without the problematic duo.
Staring first with Jeffery, this is a guy who likely would have been flat out released if it wasn’t for Howie Roseman foolishly guaranteeing the back-end of his contract. He hasn’t looked like a true WR1 since the team’s iconic 2017 postseason run, and he’s caused problem after problem within the team’s locker room.
He’s been singled out as the main voice behind the Carson Wentz criticism of last offseason, and he even reportedly criticized Roseman himself for not trading for Jalen Ramsey at last year’s deadline.
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Jeffery looked slow and lethargic prior to his foot injury last season, and there’s just zero logical reason to expect that he would come back in 2020 magically better. He turns 31 in February, and has had two major surgical operations in as many seasons. Not only is he currently the most overpaid WR in all of football, but he also wouldn’t even crack most team’s starting lineup.
The DJax situation is a little more frustrating, because he is genuinely a weapon when healthy. We all remember his Week 1 performance against Washington last season, and he was showing flashes of that vertical speed again here in 2020. However, coming off yet another soft tissue injury, the Philadelphia Eagles would be complete fools to try and restructure the offense around Jackson once more.
Even if he has the potential to explode for 100 yards on any given Sunday, the likelihood for re-injury is just too high. He’s missed 16 of the team’s last 22 games. Putting your faith into that is a recipe for disaster.
Now it’s not like the Philadelphia Eagles have the greatest group of replacements in store to warrant keeping Jackson and Jeffery on the bench, but at some point, the team has to start thinking about their future. Allowing Wentz to build chemistry with the likes of Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins should be of the utmost importance at the moment.
Fulgham genuinely looked special against the Steelers, becoming the first Eagles receiver since Jeremy Maclin did it in 2014 to record 10 catches and 150 yards in a game. Who knows if he’ll stick around as the team’s next “WR1”, but benching him for a 30+ year old would be a complete malpractice at this point in Philadelphia’s season. Fulgham deserves every chance in the world to prove that he’s a starting-caliber player after this past Sunday.
When looking at the team’s payroll, one would assume that Jackson and Jeffery should be an integral part in the Eagles offense. However, considering the fact that the team is being thrusted towards a rebuild, and AJ and DJax have been two of the least reliable players in all of football recently, there genuinely is zero logical explanation to get them on the field moving forward.