Alshon Jeffery shouldn’t play for the Eagles in 2020
Alshon Jeffery: Carson Wentz has had a lot of difficulty in his passing options this past season, so Howie Roseman made it a point to help him. With that in mind the Eagles went all out this offseason and changed the offense completely for Carson, giving Wentz speed with Marquise Goodwin, Jalen Reagor and so many more, with the thought of replicating the Kansas City Air-Raid deep passing game.
Jeffery is the 70-foot tall elephant in the room for many reasons. From causing a near locker room mutiny over his rumored comments about Carson Wentz (reported by Josina Anderson), to his play type as a receiver, Alshon is no longer the right fit for the Eagles. He is the complete opposite of what Philly is looking for in their wide receivers. Personally, I don’t think Jeffrey should see a down of football for the Eagles in 2020.
For a 30-year-old receiver, Alshon has battled injuries and will almost definitely keep him out the first part of 2020. Two years ago, Jeffery tore his rotator cuff in the Super Bowl and was out until week 4 of the following season. The year following that, in late December, he suffered a broken bone in his foot and had to get Lisfranc surgery likely delaying his debut this season to mid-October. These injuries at this age show his body is wearing down. The Lisfranc surgery is a tough one to recover from and being a wideout in his 30’s does not help the fact at all either.
As mentioned above, we have seen what the Eagles are looking to do with their passing game this next season. Surrounding Wentz with all of these speedy weapons across the board shows what they want to do with the passing game and that isn’t what Alshon’s game brings the offense. Jeffery is a slow, possession receiver. While this isn’t a bad thing for a receiver, it just doesn’t fit what the Eagles want in their guys. You already have short-range guys who are able to bring in the ball at the tight end position with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Alshon on the field means benching one of your 3 speedsters and I just don’t see a reason to do that with the way the offense is shaping up to be.
If you only have 2 deep threats on the field you can run a cover 2 zone and let the safeties take care of it if a guy breaks loose. But with 3 deep threats, you can force the secondary into a cover 3 before even knowing what the play is. This could allow the Eagles to run some short routes and play underneath that deep zone and make the defense guess when they’re going to go deep with the football. With Alshon, they don’t have that element of surprise anymore and the defense can sit pretty in the cover 2 set. That changes a lot about what the Eagles can do with the passing game and having 3 deep threats who can also work on all 3 levels is important to have as well.
Locker Room Controversy:
Did the city of Philadelphia forget that it was likely Alshon who went to a reporter to complain that he wasn’t getting the ball last season? He was supposedly making comments about Carson Wentz and how his passing game was off in 2019. Jeffery was not getting the ball much at that point and was linked in the previous history to the reporter Josina Anderson who published the report. While it was publicly denied, the comments and allegations remain suspicious. If that is indeed the case, there is no need to have a negative presence like that in the Eagles locker room. Also with rumors of him being shopped since October of 2019, he likely does not want to be here either. Having someone who doesn’t agree with the rest of the locker room and is upset themselves can be a recipe for disaster for any team. The Eagles are no exception.
Don’t bring him his money:
Alshon is locked into a horrible contract, paying over $21 million over the next 2 seasons taking up a lot of salary cap room. For a wideout that likely won’t play much between his injury and scheming, that is a massive overpay. Instead of having him ride the bench, I’m sure there are many teams out there that would be happy to take him on his contract. Like mentioned earlier, Alshon isn’t a bad NFL wideout, he is a bad fit with the Eagles. If you can take a late pick from a team in agreement they take all or most of his salary leaving you with little dead cap space that is a major win for the Eagles. This will leave you with a lot of space to better improve the team you have and bolster up some other positions. Allocating that much money towards a player who is not a good fit with what you have is not efficient and should be taken care of.
The combination of injuries, bad fit, negative locker room interactions, and high contract is the perfect recipe for disaster for the Eagles, and Jeffery is likely to find a home very quickly if the Eagles shop him well enough. Even if they have to retain some of his salary having him away from the team is a benefit within itself and can help Philadelphia blossom to where they can be this upcoming season without any dead weight attached.