Once viewed as the “next Alshon Jeffery” when it came to being the Philadelphia Eagles starting “X receiver,” former second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside has not had the smoothest of starts to his NFL career. In fact, you could make the case for him being one of the bigger “busts” in Eagles team history. Not only was he selected with the goal of developing him into a starter by as soon as 2020, but he was drafted over the likes of DK Metcalf and Terry McLaurin – two certified number one options. Had Howie Roseman selected one of those two instead, we could be looking at a much more successful Eagles offense over the past two seasons.
Instead, JJAW never really got out of “development mode” in Philly. He spent the majority of his rookie season bouncing around different roles within Doug Pederson’s offense, and then barely saw the field in 2020, despite the before mentioned Jeffery missing a good chunk of the year. Travis Fulgham, who wasn’t even on the active roster for Week 1, took a majority of those X receiver snaps instead.
While it’s obviously rare for teams to part ways with high draft picks before their rookie contract expires, it appears Roseman and the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles front office/coaching staff have reached a breaking point. According to NFL insider Adam Caplan, JJAW’s roster spot is not guaranteed this summer. The former Stanford product will have to earn his way onto the depth chart:
Former second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside will have to fight for a roster spot on the Philadelphia Eagles this summer.
With a brand new coaching staff now in the building, this isn’t the most surprising of news. Nick Sirianni and his crew are going to invest in guys that they like or see potential in, and if JJAW isn’t apart of that group, then there’s little attachment there to justify keeping him around.
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The Eagles WR room is also looking rather deep moving forward when it comes to young talent. DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor are guaranteed roster spots, Greg Ward will likely be retained due to his experience, John Hightower and Quez Watkins were both recently drafted, and the likes of Travis Fulgham has a pretty good case to hang around due to the elite potential that he flashed last season.
The team also added undrafted free agent Jhamon Ausbon, another bigger bodied wideout who should push for some X receiver snaps during training camp.
If JJAW is unable to truly impress the Eagles coaching staff, a flat out release will likely be in his future. It’s pretty hard to imagine a team trading for him, especially with a better young WR like N’Keal Harry currently available.
A rebuilding team like Houston or Detroit may take a chance on JJAW if he is in fact released, similar to how the Jacksonville Jaguars scooped up Sindey Jones last offseason when he departed Philadelphia prematurely.