The 2017 off-season for the Philadelphia Eagles will be focused on improving their wide receiving core.
Philadelphia, who went 7-9 last season under first-year head coach Doug Pederson and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, ranked 24th in the NFL in receiving yards. Tight end Zach Ertz lead the team with 816 yards and wide receiver Jordan Matthews had 804, but no other wide receiver had more than 400 receiving yards.
Ertz provides Wentz with a reliable big body target, but once again Matthews’ dropped passes created frustration from both fans and management, leaving the need for a true number one target. The Eagles explored in-season trades last year to improve their core, but they will be turning to free agency and the draft this spring.
According to Jason La Confora of CBS Sports, league sources expect the Eagles to pursue free agent wide receiver Alshon Jeffery away from the Chicago Bears. Chicago franchised tagged Jeffery last off-season, and typically speaking, NFL players don’t generally like play multiple years under the one-year tag.
The Eagles have already began the process of creating money to use in free agency, as they just recently released cornerback Leodis McKelvin to free up $3.2 million in cap space. There is also a chance that offensive lineman Jason Peters will take a pay cut to create more money to use in free agency.
As for Jeffery and the Bears, the 2016 season was a struggling one. A 3-13 record at season’s end gave the Bears the 3rd worst record in the NFL, and Jeffery missed four games due to a PED suspension mid-season. Despite that, Jeffery still ranked second on the team in receiving yards behind Cameron Meredith.
One thing that remains clear: If Jeffery does indeed hit the open market this spring, he will more suitors than just the Eagles and the Bears. Teams that could look to add Jeffery to their core are the San Francisco 49ers and the Tennessee Titans.
Spotrac is projecting Jeffery to land a five-year, $61 million contract wherever he signs this off-season.
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