With the 2020 NFL draft just days away, it’s exciting to dream about the new players the Eagles will soon add. However, there is one current Eagle stuck in limbo with fans and teammates. It’s difficult to watch a hero fall from grace, and sadly this seems to be the path Alshon Jeffery is taking. Following the huge signing that brought Alshon to Philadelphia, Eagles fans rejoiced that the team finally managed to grab a talented receiver. Jeffery shared this enthusiasm, as he seemed thrilled to be an Eagle and to work with sophomore QB Carson Wentz. The ultimate goal being to bring a championship to this city. In their first year together, the duo went 11-2 before losing Wentz to injury. Alshon, with Foles at the helm, would go on to lead the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl win. Thus fulfilling his promise made the year before.
The Downfall of Alshon
What seemed like a perfect fit for the former Bear, has been nothing short of disappointing ever since. After a promising 2018 season, which ended tragically through Jeffery’s own hands, the performance of Alshon has spiraled downward. This past season, more than just injuries surrounded the play of Jeffery. Conflicting rumors fueled by various reporters began to swirl, all putting Jeffery in the hot seat. It became unclear how his future in Philadelphia would pan out, with reports of a divide growing between Jeffery and Wentz. Rumors of a pessimistic locker room mole have also been tied to Jeffery. This has created a divide between him and the fan base. Though these rumors were never founded, and Jeffery recently has claimed to love this city, it is in the minds of many, including myself, whether or not he should be on the field in Midnight Green come September.
Pros of Retaining Jeffrey
There are certainly pros and cons to either decision regarding Alshon’s future with the Eagles. Keeping Jeffery gives Philadelphia a reliable receiver, slightly past his prime, with a strong skill set to get the job done. He is familiar with the system and has had success in it before. He played a crucial role in the Super Bowl Championship run. Jeffery, upon arriving in Philadelphia, spoke highly of Wentz, which makes the rumors even more bizarre. Maybe if the rumors are false, this could give the two time to mend their differences in the offseason.
Cons of Retaining Jeffrey
Keeping Jeffery takes a considerable chunk of the cap, with a $15 million hit in 2020 alone. This severely impacts the ability to make other offseason additions and potential extensions. Jeffery turned in his least productive year since his first season. On top of that he could not stay healthy for much of the season. The 30-year-old receiver is not getting any younger, and injuries will continue to loom as the season rages on.
Trading Jeffery could be very well worth it. This move would tap into an already drained and inexperienced receiving core. However, there are many receivers the Eagles have shown interest in the upcoming draft. Justin Jefferson, Jalen Reagor, or Denzel Mims have a chance to be called this Thursday. Trading Jeffery would not be an easy task, as his age and salary hit tie him to one of the most untradeable contracts of any player this season. Shipping him off to a team with extra cap space such as the Dolphins is the best bet. Unfortunately, decent draft capital would be needed to accompany a salary dump of that magnitude. Expect nothing better than Alshon and a 4th in exchange for a 6th to unload his contract.
What Should Philly Do?
Alshon Jeffery will always be a hero in Philadelphia. His efforts in the Super Bowl and dedication to the city will always be remembered in high spirits. Unfortunately, due to the drama that bloomed and the potential locker room collapse, it may be time to find Alshon a new home. I believe the Eagles should continue to explore possible trade partners, even up until the day of the Draft. In such a talented WR class, a wide receiver should be taken in the 1st or 2nd round.
Keep an eye on Wentz and Jeffery as we go through training camp. If the situation doesn’t improve, it would make sense to seek a trade. It’s been a fun ride, Alshon, and we’re grateful for everything, but barring a significant change, it may be best we part ways.