It won't be a surprise if the Eagles go after a big name wide receiver.
The team's receivers were a disaster last year. There's the fact that among the Eagles' receivers, Jordan Matthews' 11 yards per catch led the group (minimum 10 catches). Matthews' also led the receivers in touchdowns with four. The team dropped 24 Carson Wentz passes, the fourth-most for a quarterback last season.
So Alshon Jeffery or DeSean Jackson would be a no-brainer, right? Maybe not.
At the moment, the Eagles' cap situation isn't ideal. Surely they'll take a few more steps to clear space, but signing a high-priced receiver isn't the right way to allocate that money.
Jeffery and Jackson have their pros and cons. Jeffery had two elite seasons in 2013 and 2014, but his last two seasons have been mired by injuries and a PED suspension. Despite being 30, Jackson still has the ability to stretch the field, but his red flags are well-documented. According to Sprotrac, Jeffery is scheduled to become the sixth-highest paid receiver (LINK:http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/chicago-bears/alshon-jeffery-9855/market-value/), while Jackson will be the 19th-highest paid (LINK:http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/washington-redskins/desean-jackson-3690/market-value/).
Sure, there are other options. Veteran Kenny Britt enjoyed a renaissance season under new Eagles receivers coach Mike Groh in L.A. and he's still only 28. He's also coming off a 1,000-yard season and could cash in on that. There's also Kenny Stills, who is only 24 and coming off a season where he averaged 17.3 yards a catch and caught nine touchdowns for Miami. Terrelle Pryor is still learning the position but finished with 77 catches for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns for the Browns.
Any of those guys makes the Eagles' offense better immediately. But in reality, just about any decent receiver would make this group better. Howie Roseman is better off buying low in free agency and building the receiver corps through the draft.
CSNPhilly.com Eagles Insider Reuben Frank recently highlighted the lack of success the Eagles' have had in signing free-agent receivers (LINK:http://www.csnphilly.com/philadelphia-eagles/roobs-25-random-points-eagles-wide-receivers-flat-earth-truthers-mondo-cozmo-and). The list is basically Irving Fryar and a bunch of guys. While the occasional trade (Terrell Owens) has worked out, the Eagles have been better off drafting receivers.
Looking ahead to the draft, this receiver class is extremely deep. There may not be the elite talent of the 2014 receiver class, but there are plenty of intriguing players to explore. In the first round, Clemson's Mike Williams or Western Michigan's Corey Davis could be available to the Eagles. Oklahoma's Dede Westbrook or Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp could be there in the second. Even in the middle rounds, guys like Louisiana Tech's Carlos Henderson, Western Kentucky's Taywan Taylor and ECU's Zay Jones could be impactful.
As far as free agents go, the Eagles have other options beyond the big names. Kamar Aiken of the Baltimore Ravens is an intriguing name. The 27 year old had a breakout 2015 (75 catches, 944 yards, five touchdowns) followed by a disappointing 2016 (29 catches, 328 yards, one touchdown). He lost snaps to a healthy Steve Smith, free-agent signee Mike Wallace and former first-round pick Breshad Perriman. The Eagles can buy low on Aiken and hope his production is similar to 2015.
Kendall Wright, also 27, had a breakout season in 2013 (94 catches, 1,079 yards) but has fought injuries and inconsistencies over the last few seasons in Tennessee. Then there's Brian Quick from the L.A. Rams, another 27 year old who hasn't quite put it together. He had a career year in 2016, hauling in 41 catches for 564 yards under new Eagles receivers coach Mike Groh.
The Eagles' best bet would be to take a flyer and buy low on one of these receivers and dig deep on this draft. Aiken or Wright and two rookies could help overhaul the position and create serious competition.
Can the Eagles count on Roseman to deliver the next Irving Fryar? The safer bet is him delivering the next DeSean Jackson... instead of the actual DeSean Jackson.