Should Eagles Add Controversial Free Agent for Wide Receiver Depth?

Denzel Mims is available, should the Eagles give him a shot?
Denzel Mims is available, should the Eagles give him a shot? /

People have strong opinions about Philly. And people who don’t like Philly always seem to be the loudest about it. That was certainly the case for then-rookie Denzel Mims when he made instant enemies with Eagles fans by saying “I didn’t like that dirty a**, trash a** city.” After that, the Philly faithful didn’t like Mims any more than he liked their city.

But what says “brotherly love” more than giving someone a second chance?

The New York Jets are set to cut the former second-round pick (they’re shopping him around for a seventh-round pick in trades but have yet to find a taker), and that means he’s going to land on waivers and potentially become a free agent. Is it worth the Eagles time to give him a shot?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Why the Eagles Should Sign Mims

The Eagles wide receiver room is pretty thin. Of course AJ Brown and DaVonte Smith are a deadly combination at the top of the depth chart, but things quickly get pretty ugly after that.

Olamide Zaccheaus was an intriguing addition and Quez Watkins has shown some flashes, but neither one of them is an especially scary No. 3 threat.

Mims has, of course, had a disappointing start to his NFL career, not living up to the hype as a second-round pick. But there’s a reason his draft stock was that high. The potential looked like it was there. And the Jets are not exactly an organization known for fostering players’ development and helping them reach their full potential.

The Eagles organization may be able to turn things around for Mims and help him get back on track with his development, where he could thrive as a No. 3 option on what would likely be a pretty inexpensive contract.

Why the Eagles Should Avoid Mims

Obviously, there are his comments from 2020. And while a couple stupid comments from a 23-year-old probably aren’t enough to write him off altogether, that isn’t his only off-field red flag.

Mims made a very public trade request last year, blaming the coaching staff for his lack of production.

Was he given many great opportunities? Probably not, but it’s also not like he showed any reason that he should be getting more run than the guys ahead of him. Last season he only caught 44% of the targets sent his way, which was the lowest mark for any player on the team.

And of course, that’s the other “why not” for Mims. He just hasn’t been very good. If his development doesn’t ramp up and showcase why he was a second-round pick, then he just doesn’t seem like he’ll be a worthwhile contributor at the NFL level.

That 44% catch rate last year was horrendous, and it’s also right in line with his career average of 45.7%. As a deep threat he’ll naturally tend to have a lower catch rate than guys who work on short yardage routs, but in that case you’d sure like to see more than 0 touchdowns on the 42 passes he did catch.

Is the Risk Worth the Reward?

Every roster move is going to have pros and cons, so the real question is how to balance those and whether the move is worth it. And to me, the potential reward is absolutely worth the risk here.

It’s not going to take a big contract, and especially not much guaranteed money to land Mims. Heck, even trading for him before he’s released would only cost a conditional seventh-round pick. So the downside of signing him and having to cut him before the season even starts is pretty minimal. All you’re losing is one training camp roster spot, which would go to someone else likely to be cut as well.

And if he does cause any off-field issues, the Eagles’ organization and locker room are strong enough that it’s not like he’ll be able to tear things apart or ruin team chemistry.

Do I think he’s going to suddenly develop into a star in his fourth season? I don’t think it’s very likely, but the off chance that he does live up to his potential makes him worth the gamble.

Jalen Hurts doesn’t even crack the top-10 in the odds to league the NFL in passing yards next season, but with a legitimate No. 3 wideout to go with Brown and Smith complementing the elite rushing attack, this offense could verge on unstoppable.