Alshon Jeffery should allow Carson Wentz to turn the Eagles' offense loose
- Alshon Jeffery should the be centerpiece of a Philadelphia passing game that should look completely different in 2017 if the Eagles want to take the next step.
The Eagles’ offense is finally in a position to fly again.
Carson Wentz, lover of the horizontal passing game, now has Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery to throw the ball to, and Philadelphia finally has a complete passing offense.
Jeffery signed with Philadelphia on a one-year, $14 million deal, which will mark his second straight year playing on a one-year deal. It ostensibly works out to another franchise tag with another franchise—if things go well this year, perhaps the Eagles have their No. 1 receiver of the future.
Jordan Matthews can now be a secondary option, which fits him much better than the WR1 role he was thrust into in 2016. Zach Ertz can breathe more at tight end. And Philadelphia can stop throwing to Nelson Agholor so often just to see the ball hit the grass.
No doubt Jeffery is getting paid this year, but there’s also some risk involved here for him. By forgoing a long-term deal that was no doubt on the table for him from some franchise, Jeffery is banking on not getting another soft-tissue injury and not getting popped again for violating the league’s PED policy.
The addition of Jeffery and Smith should force the Eagles and Wentz to stretch the field more. While Wentz was being crowned by everyone from Philadelphia to the Vice President’s office early last season, he was throwing the ball east and west and barely across the line of scrimmage. His 3.3 air yards per attempt were 31st in the league. And when the field got shorter, Wentz wasn’t that great either: He finished 23rd in the league in red zone completion percentage at 49.5%.
If you believe Smith’s drops last season were an aberration and that Jeffery can return to the promise he had two years ago, the Eagles now have an offense that can legitimately compete with the Cowboys and Giants in 2017.