Alshon Jeffery upgrades Philadelphia receiving corps
Just like that, the Philadelphia Eagles went from one of the league’s worst wide receiver groups to one of the better with the free agent signing of Alshon Jeffery. The Eagles and Jeffery agreed to terms on a one-year pact worth a reported $14 million. This is a great get by Eagles GM Howie Roseman that will have a ripple effect across the Philadelphia offense.
Arguably this year’s top free agent, Jeffery is coming off an up-and-down 2016 season in which he was suspended for four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. In 12 games, he managed a solid 821 yards on 52 catches, but his fantasy numbers disappointed thanks to just two scores. Shaky quarterback play was at least partially at fault.
In his three previous years, Jeffery was a target monster, averaging 9.5 targets per game from 2013-2015. Over that span, he was a frequent WR1 fantasy option with two 1,000-yard seasons and double digit scores in 2013. A hamstring injury limited his 2015 campaign, but he did average over 10 targets per game in his nine games played. Provided he can stay on the field, Jeffery slots in as an immediate WR2 fantasy option with top-10 upside at the position.
The addition of Torrey Smith gives the Eagles an ideal trio of receivers with Jeffery as the prototype No. 1, Smith as the field stretcher, and Jordan Matthews as the slot. In other words, Carson Wentz’s arrow is pointing up. The former first-rounder got off to a hot start in his rookie campaign, only to flounder down the stretch. However, the post-Chip Kelly Eagles were woefully ill-equipped at receiver. Philly receivers combined for 36 drops, which tied for the second most in the league.
Wentz gets a massive upgrade in surrounding cast, which will certainly help his development as a player. That being said, it may be a bit premature to suggest a Year 2 breakout for Wentz. He’ll certainly put up better numbers than he did in 2016, but he still should be considered more of a QB2 option.
The Eagles also signed former first-rounder OG Chance Warmack. The Alabama product failed to pan out with the Titans and spent most of last season on injured reserve. Warmack adds depth to the Eagles line and could compete for a starting job at left guard.
Chicago is now left with Cameron Meredith and Kevin White atop their wide receiver depth chart. There’s certainly upside with both players, though White has yet to make it through a whole season as a pro. Neither player is especially appealing if the Bears do in fact roll with Mike Glennon at quarterback.