Cause for concern?
It’s a slow time in the NFL offseason, so ESPN put together a list of the Biggest Upcoming Roster decisions for all 32 teams. Here’s what the Philadelphia Eagles need to be concerned about, via In$ider.
Figuring out Wentz's long-term weapons. The Eagles have built an impressive stable of weapons for second-year quarterback Carson Wentz -- this season. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith were among the early additions through free agency, while Philly recently acquired LeGarrette Blount on a one-year deal. Jeffery's contract is also for only one year, while Smith's contract is a year-to-year proposition. Plus, Jordan Matthews enters the final year of his rookie contract. The takeaway? While the Eagles' offense should be much better this season, it's incumbent upon general manager Howie Roseman to identify which of Wentz's weapons are integral parts of the future beyond 2017 and get them locked into deals.
This is a good point. The Eagles did a good job of surrounding Wentz with some new weapons. But how many of them are here for the long haul?
Jeffery, who turned 27 in February, projects to be a long-term piece. He’s only on a one-year deal, yes, but the Eagles should be able to keep him if they want to after this season. He’ll likely be a priority re-signing barring and major injury issues or suspensions. Even if the Eagles can’t work out a long-term contract right now, Philadelphia can always use the franchise tag to prevent Jeffery from merely walking out the door.
Beyond Jeffery, the long-term pieces surrounding Wentz are up in the air. Smith can be cut after this season in order to save $5 million in cap space (with zero dead money). Smith would be worth keeping around if he plays well this year, but there’s no guarantee that will happen considering his struggles with the 49ers.
Blount seems like a one-year stop gap for the Eagles. Philadelphia seemingly had interest in selecting a lead running back in the 2017 NFL Draft but they ultimately missed on their guy(s). The Eagles will likely replace Blount in next year’s draft.
Matthews could easily be gone after this season. That is, if he isn’t traded away first. Last week I wrote about why it could be difficult for the Eagles to retain Matthews. It seems like his perceived value could be higher than his actual value. The Eagles won’t be able to spend money so frivolously next offseason since they’ll have some big decisions to make on other players (Jeffery, Tim Jernigan, etc.) and limited cap space to work with.
2015 first round pick Nelson Agholor has a chance to play himself into being a long-term piece. He’s still got a lot to prove despite having an encouraging spring. The additions of Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson via the 2017 NFL Draft gives Wentz some potential long-term options, though they’re not sure-fire studs by any means. Fellow rookie Donnel Pumphrey also figures to be a role-player weapon for Wentz.
Once again, keeping Jeffery will be the priority for the Eagles next offseason. As long as Philadelphia has him, Wentz should be in decent shape. What the Eagles do from there is up in the air. Maybe Smith plays well enough to stick around. Maybe Agholor and/or Hollins and/or Gibson steps up at some point. The Eagles don’t have a second round pick next year but they do have at least three fourths so they’ll be able to draft some more weapons as well.
At the very least, Wentz is set for the 2017 season. That’s all that matters right now. Wentz’s “supporting cast” in 2016 was atrocious. He has a much better group to work with this year. Now he needs to make the most of it. The Eagles can figure out the rest after this season.
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