Eagles Mailbag: A wide receiver splash, trade returns, Jeff Lurie

Eagles Mailbag: A wide receiver splash, trade returns, Jeff Lurie

We answered the first half of your Eagles questions yesterday, so we'll finish up today. 

The first mailbag of the week took on your questions about Alshon Jeffery, running backs in the draft and the real reason for the Eagles' offensive struggles in 2016. 

Plenty more good ones today: 

These two questions kind of go together, so I'll address them at once, as I remember back to last offseason. I didn't expect Howie Roseman to make a ton of big splashes, which seems comical now looking back. But if you remember, it really wasn't expected. Then Roseman cannonballed his way through the offseason. 

I'm tempted to say the Eagles won't splash this year either, but I know better. I'm not sure Roseman knows how not to splash. 

So here's what I'll say: Anything is on the table and I believe the Eagles really understand the importance of getting Carson Wentz some weapons. 

Now, will that mean Brandin Cooks? That would be tricky. He's just entering his prime and was a first-rounder in 2014. But don't rule out any trade from Roseman, who has consistently made more trades than most GMs in the league. He's at least going to explore every option. 

And if he doesn't trade for one, I'd be absolutely shocked if the Eagles don't sign a receiver the average fan has at least heard of. Even if they do, I still wouldn't rule out drafting a receiver with a high pick.

Along with corner, wide receiver was clearly the biggest weak spot in 2016. The difference between the two is the lack of receivers prevented the franchise quarterback from reaching his potential. I'd be shocked if the Eagles don't try to rectify that situation. 

The problem with trying to trade guys who would become salary cap casualties is that it doesn't leave much room for leverage. Why trade for a guy who will end up on the market in a week, especially if that guy makes a lot of money?

I don't think there will be much of a market for Ryan Mathews, especially coming off his injury. I fully expect the Eagles to cut him to save $4 million. 

While Connor Barwin probably has some good football left in him, that contract makes it tougher to trade him. Is it possible? Sure, but don't expect a great return. 

Kendricks is a pretty good trade candidate, but don't expect too much back for him, either. Jason Kelce is another guy who could probably be a trade candidate. 

Here's something I learned a while back: Draft picks and cars are the two things that instantly lose value when they're a day old. Draft picks are viewed as so incredibly valuable that a player's worth in relation, especially a player who makes money, just doesn't stack up. That's why oftentimes the return for a player in a trade isn't normally what fans would hope. But something is always worth more than nothing, so it's worth a go. 

I get a lot of Jeff Lurie hate on my timeline and I understand it. Ultimately, it's all on him. Every bad decision is on him because he's the guy who hires the decision-makers. 

There's one thing I don't get, though: the idea that he doesn't care about winning. I think he really cares about winning; he just doesn't know how to do it. 

In fact, recent reports about his becoming more involved in football decisions only reaffirm my belief that he desperately wants to win a championship but doesn't know how to get it done. 

The questionable moves have piled up. The most questionable in recent history was giving Chip Kelly complete control and basically saying it was done so that if it all went bad, he could fire him. Now, that's paraphrasing, but it’s kind of what he said last year at the owners' meetings after he had already put Roseman back in charge. 

I don't think Roseman is completely made of Teflon either. It looks like it now, but remember, Lurie once parted ways with his childhood friend Joe Banner (they haven’t been winners since). This is a results-driven business and if Roseman eventually doesn't produce, he'll be gone too.

Eagles 2017 training camp position battle: Safety

Eagles 2017 training camp position battle: Safety

We went through the cornerbacks Thursday and that position is clearly much more of a mess than safety (see story).
 
In fact, the Eagles have a really good starting safety duo in Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod.
 
But over the last couple of years, the Eagles have used Jenkins as their slot cornerback in the nickel package. It's a position that Jenkins really enjoys playing — he loves being closer to the action. Except whenever Jenkins plays up as the slot corner, the team is forced to bring an extra safety off the bench.
 
Last season, that extra safety was Jaylen Watkins. When Jenkins moved up, Watkins would take the field. A former fourth-rounder from Florida, Watkins ended up playing 38 percent of the team's defensive snaps in 2016. That's a heckuva lot, especially considering that Jenkins and McLeod, the two guys ahead of him, missed a combined seven snaps.
 
Watkins beat out Chris Maragos for that third safety spot in 2016. The Eagles seem happy letting Maragos focus on being the all-time great special teams force he's been since coming to Philadelphia.
 
So Watkins is the incumbent fighting for that third safety job, but the other guy was with the Eagles last year, too.
 
The Eagles claimed Terrence Brooks off waivers from the Ravens just before the opener in 2016. Brooks played in 11 games but was primarily a special teams player. He played just three defensive snaps (but he did pull in his first career interception on that late bomb against the Giants in Week 16). The only reason Brooks got on the field in that game was because Watkins suffered a concussion.
 
While Brooks never really made it with Baltimore, the Ravens did draft him in the third round out of Florida State in 2014. That rookie year, he played 234 snaps before tearing his ACL. He played minimally in 2015 and was cut before last season began.
 
With a full offseason, Brooks ought to have a much better grasp of the Eagles' defense, and Watkins certainly didn't play well enough to be handed that third safety job again.
 
So while safety might seem like a secure position, it'll be one to watch this summer.

NFL Notes: Dez Bryant throws huge BBQ, then reportedly late for camp

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NFL Notes: Dez Bryant throws huge BBQ, then reportedly late for camp

LUFKIN, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant returned to his East Texas hometown to thank supporters with free barbecue that drew several thousand fans to a park.

Bryant was in Lufkin on Thursday afternoon for the outdoor event that included games and a chance to meet the NFL star as temperatures reached the 90s. Lufkin police spokeswoman Jessica Pebsworth on Friday estimated the crowd at about 3,000 and said two people were treated for heat exhaustion.

Pebsworth says everyone was excited to see Bryant and he was a great host.

Bryant says he decided a couple of days earlier to throw the catered event in Lufkin, a city of about 36,000 located 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of Houston.

The Cowboys open camp next week in Oxnard, California.

However, it appears that generosity caused Bryant to be a bit tardy. According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, Bryant was late on Friday to report for camp with the Cowboys’ other veterans.

Bengals: Jones suspended 1 game for altercation
CINCINNATI -- Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones has been suspended for the regular-season opener against Baltimore for his role in an altercation at a downtown hotel earlier this year.

Jones had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the January incident, the latest in a history of off-the-field legal issues for the NFL veteran. The NFL said Friday that the suspension was for a violation of its personal conduct policy.

Police said Jones kicked and used head-butting as he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a hotel employee. He was arrested outside the hotel, and police video showed him protesting that he hadn't done anything to deserve it, loudly demanding, "Let me go!" and at times struggling with officers while yelling obscene insults. Video of Jones in the back of a police cruiser at one point showed him telling an officer: "I hope you die tomorrow."

Jones apologized in court for his behavior and specifically to Cincinnati police Sgt. Jarrod Cotton. His attorneys said he had been receiving treatment, including for anger management (see full story).

Chiefs: QB Mahomes inks rookie deal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Chiefs have signed quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a four-year rookie contract.

Kansas City traded its first- and third-round picks this year and its first-round pick next year to the Buffalo Bills to grab the Texas Tech quarterback with the 10th overall selection.

It was the first time Kansas City had taken a quarterback in the first round since Todd Blackledge in 1983.

The Chiefs sent the No. 27 and No. 91 overall picks in this year's draft to Buffalo in order to acquire a successor to Alex Smith. The veteran starter has two years remaining on his contract, though Smith becomes inexpensive to release after next season.

Jets: Top pick Adams signs 4-year contract
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets on Friday signed safety Jamal Adams of LSU, the sixth overall pick in the draft.

Adams gets a four-year deal worth about $22 million. As with all first-round contracts under the current labor agreement, the Jets have a fifth-year option.

All nine of the Jets' selections in April's draft have signed.

A versatile defender, Adams had one interception and four passes defensed as a junior last season, committing zero penalties as he rarely was thrown at. For his three seasons at the school, he played in 37 games (26 starts) with five interceptions, 14 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one recovery, 209 tackles and 17 1-2 tackles for loss.

Adams is expected to be a starter this season for the rebuilding Jets.