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The Eagles Needed Receivers and They Just Signed the Best One Available

Despite missing four games in 2016, Alshon Jeffery had more receiving yards than anyone on Philly’s roster

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Deal

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, late of the Chicago Bears, has signed a one-year, $14 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Appeal

Various injuries limited Jeffery to nine games in 2015, then he missed four more in 2016 through suspension. But in the two seasons he played 16 games, Jeffery averaged 87 catches, 1,277 yards, and eight touchdowns. Far from an elusive burner, Jeffery is a lunar wide receiver: He’s 2,159 miles across and is capable of floating above the Earth forever. When he’s healthy, he doesn’t climb the ladder for the ball, he is the ladder. He plays like your friend’s older brother who ruins the pickup game because nobody can tackle him. He is the opening act, the headliner, and the afterparty.

The Fit

Jeffery is so big that he doesn’t fit many places a normal person would fit, but the Eagles could use a player like him.

In football, a forward pass is at least a two-party action, requiring both a quarterback and a receiver. In 2016, the Eagles went all in on rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, but surrounded him with a receiving corps that had been purged of its talented players (namely DeSean Jackson) by Chip Kelly, and the cost the Eagles paid in draft picks to move up for Wentz hampered their ability to re-build depth. Therefore, none of Wentz’s three most-targeted wideouts (Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Nelson Agholor) finished with a positive DYAR, according to Football Outsiders.

Suffice it to say, this is a position of need. Wentz gets a big, sticky-fingered target who can win jump balls, and between Jeffery and Torrey Smith (who signed for one year and $5 million guaranteed), Eagles GM Howie Roseman bought $19 million worth of competent receivers on Thursday. Jordan Matthews isn’t a no. 1 wideout, but he could be a decent no. 2 or no. 3, and all of a sudden Wentz’s menu of targets doesn’t look awesome, exactly, but it looks pretty deep.

On a one-year deal, Jeffery will be the no. 1 target for a developing Wentz, and that will allow him to re-establish his value and presumably sign a long-term deal next year. Finally, Jeffery now has the option of living in New Jersey, where it’s illegal to pump your own gas. So eat it, Lane Kiffin.

The Verdict

The only downside to this deal is that Wentz might die of shock when one of his passes gets caught. Otherwise it’s a perfect fit.