It appears now as if Eagles general manager Howie Roseman will rely on the draft to replenish a receiving corps that is thinner than a one-ply piece of toilet paper.
Some may not have known just how thin one-ply TP is until the unfortunate spread of COVID-19, but everyone knows just how underwhelming the Eagles group of pass catchers are.
Two potential free agent targets came off the board recently when Robby Anderson was signed to a two-year deal by the Carolina Panthers and Breshad Perriman went to the New York Jets.
Both players probably got more money than Roseman wanted to spend, with Anderson getting $12 million in year one and $8M in year two. Perriman landed a one-year deal worth $8M.
Relying on the draft is risky business for two reasons.
First, there may not be much spring work to get a draft pick or two up to speed in the offense. It took J.J. Arcega-Whiteside all year to learn to play the positions the Eagles wanted, and that was with the benefit of OTAs and a minicamp.
Second, the pressure on the pick or picks to produce from day one will be immense.
That’s the direction it looks like the Eagles will go, though, for better or worse, because all that’s left now on the free agent market are crumbs, unless Paul Richardson, Taylor Gabriel or Rashard Higgins get you all tingly.
Then there’s Josh Gordon. Let’s not go there, though.
Tajae Sharp (update: Sharp singed with Vikings on Wednesday) and Geronimo Allison are available.
Then there’s Jordan Matthews. Let’s definitely not go there, either.
Right now, Roseman is pinning his hopes to the oft-injured DeSean Jackson, now 33, crossing his fingers that J.J. Arcega-Whiteside can develop into a the player he had hoped he would be when he drafted him in the second round last year, and lighting a candle in the name of Greg Ward, who showed promise late last season.
And let’s not forget Alshon Jeffery is still on the team. He remains with the Eagles even though the new CBA made it a tad easier to release him. It would still hit the salary cap for more than $16 million.
It’s a good bet that if Roseman hasn’t released Jeffery by now, he probably won’t.
Even if Jeffery remains on the roster, he probably won’t be ready by September after suffering a Lisfranc injury on Dec. 9 and having surgery not long after.
It’s not as if the offensive cupboard is completely bare, though.
Quarterback Carson Wentz still has his two reliable tight ends in Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and two capable pass catchers out of the backfield in Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
Wouldn’t it be nice, though, to give the franchise quarterback a receiver who can at least threaten a 1,000-yard season?
Last year, Wentz became the first QB to ever throw for more than 4,000 yards – and the first in Eagles history to do that – without having a receiver surpass 500 yards.
Perhaps a trade will reveal itself. Problem here is that would likely require draft picks in exchange for a veteran receiver.
The strategy looks like draft or bust.
It also looks like Roseman is learning a lesson from last year when Wentz and a group of unknown receivers came together to win games. The GM looks like he prefers to build a group around Wentz that knows no other culture but the Eagles, and that is where the team’s poass catchers will come.
It can be mouth-watering prospect given the depth and potential of this year’s draft class.
Who wouldn’t want to restock the cupboard with the 1-2 punch of Justin Jefferson and K.J. Hamler or Denzel Mims and Jalen Reagor or Brandon Aiyuk and Chase Claypool or whatever two receivers you want to insert at picks No. 21 and 53?
It’s the young kind of talent Roseman wants to put around Wentz in order to let them grow together.