Breaking Down Alshon to the Eagles

No more than twenty minutes after the 4:00 start of the NFL’s free agency period earlier today, Howie Roseman pulled off one of the biggest signings many fans wanted to happen but also thought wouldn’t happen. The same headline popped up in my Twitter feed about a thousand times, “Alshon Jeffrey to @Eagles for 1yr $14M.” Widely accepted as the top wide receiver on the market this time around, was the signing the right move for the Eagles? What about for Alshon?

A quick look at the numbers tells you all you need to know about the talent Alshon Jeffrey brings to the field. His 4,549 yards and 26 touchdowns is 287 yards more and only 2 touchdowns less than the top 3 receivers the Eagles fielded in 2016 combined. Numbers aside, it’s the eye test that tells me all I need to know about this guy. Jeffrey seemingly comes down with every ball thrown his way, whether he’s covered or not. The 2016 Eagles corps couldn’t come down with a 50-50 ball if their career depended on it. Oh wait, it does.

Alshon 50-50 catch
Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The 1 year $14M deal is great for both sides. Jeffrey gets a contract, at least for the year, very much in the range of top talent like Demaryus Thomas and Dez Bryant. What’s more is he’s betting on himself to return to the dominant level of play he showed in 2013-14 that led to the Bears letting Brandon Marshall walk. If he can get there and stay healthy along the way, there’s little doubt he gets a long term deal as one of the top paid wideouts in the league.

The Eagles benefit from getting a reliable and legit WR1 for Carson Wentz to throw to for at least his sophomore season. If Jeffrey can’t shake his injury woes or slips up with banned substances again, leading to a 10 game suspension a la Lane Johnson, the Eagles can comfortably part ways with him after the season without any worry of salary cap ramifications. There are very few downsides for either party and honestly, it’s Alshon taking most of the risk on this one based on what Ian Rapoport reported earlier today.

With the most glaring deficiency on the team filled through free agency, Howie Roseman and the Eagles set their sights of the NFL draft they’ll be playing MC to at home in Philly. It remains to be seen whether they’ll address their next largest hole at cornerback in one of the deepest defensive back drafts in recent memory or if they’ll look to push the offense from good to scary by adding a versatile workhouse running back like Dalvin Cook.

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