A look through 10 possible free-agent WR targets for Eagles

A look through 10 possible free-agent WR targets for Eagles

There have been plenty of reports already this offseason linking the Eagles' to soon-to-be free agent wide receivers. 

Not a big shocker. 

The Eagles, thanks to an unbelievably inadequate group of receivers in 2016, will continue to be linked to anyone with a pulse who can catch footballs. Already, we've heard Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Kenny Stills. There will be more. 

While talking in Mobile, Alabama, last month at the Senior Bowl, Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman hinted toward his preference to signing a free agent rather than trying to draft one, but it doesn't mean the Eagles won't do both. 

"I think if you take out the 2014 wide receiver class and you look at this, it's really been historically a tough position to acclimate in the National Football League," Roseman said about the class in 2014 that included Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks. "It hasn't been a plug-and-play position. And I think that class changed everyone's thoughts a little bit, but the reality is we have years of data that it's a hard position to come into the National Football League and contribute at, that it's a developmental position and you have to look at it when you're drafting guys in that perspective."

That doesn't necessarily mean the Eagles won't draft a receiver; it just means they won't rely on filling the hole by only drafting. They're very likely to sign a receiver in free agency. 

Here's a look at 10 options, in no particular order: 

Alshon Jeffery
Jeffery (6-3, 218) just turned 27 on Tuesday and seems to have a lot of really good football ahead of him. In 2013-14, he caught 174 passes for 2,554 yards and 17 touchdowns. Since then, Jeffery played just nine games in 2015 and missed four games last year with a PED suspension. But forget all that. He's the best receiver on the market and he's going to get paid this offseason. 

For the Eagles: Sure, Jeffery would be a great fit on the field, but the price might drive the Eagles out of contention. 

Pierre Garçon
Garçon is 30 and will turn 31 in August. He's been a pretty good receiver throughout his career, with a peak in 2013. In 2016, he had another solid season, with 79 catches for 1,041 yards and three touchdowns. Not bad. 

For the Eagles: Not sure this would be a home run for the Eagles. Sure, he would make them better in 2017, but he's not the explosive type of player the team desperately needs. 

Victor Cruz
Give Cruz credit. It looked like his career might be over until he returned in 2016 to catch 39 passes for 586 yards and a touchdown. Not great numbers but certainly better than what the Eagles had last year. Cruz is 30. 

For the Eagles: Doesn't make much sense (see story). Cruz doesn't appear to have much left and is a better fit in the slot. That's where Jordan Matthews has already established himself for the Eagles. 

Kenny Britt
At 28, Britt is coming off his first 1,000-yard season in 2016 just in time to hit the market as a free agent. Britt had some off-the-field troubles early in his career but seems to have moved past that. He posted highs in receptions and receiving yards last season and is a pretty good deep threat. 

For the Eagles: Sure, Britt should be on their radar. He can stretch the field some and is somewhat of a proven commodity, although they shouldn't expect the type of season he had in 2016 again. 

DeSean Jackson
Yeah, you're already pretty familiar with DeSean. The most amazing thing about him is he's 30 now but hasn't lost his big-play ability. The speed is still there. In his three years in Washington, he's averaged 19.0 yards per catch. In his six years in Philly, he averaged 17.2. He's actually getting better as a deep threat as he ages. 

For the Eagles: Yeah, a reunion makes plenty of sense. Jackson is aging but is also the type of big-play receiver the Eagles have missed since they had … DeSean Jackson. It also seems like he wants to come back. Again, price might get in the way. How much will the Eagles be willing to pay a 30-year-old speed receiver and what type of deal will Jackson be offered elsewhere? 

Kamar Aiken
Aiken (6-2, 213) is coming off a season where he caught just 29 passes for 328 yards and a touchdown. That's a disappointment after a 75-catch, 944-yard season in 2015. His 2016 season was bad for him, but could be good for teams who want a bargain. 

For the Eagles: Aiken is a lesser free agent compared to others and his 12.0 yards per reception average isn't great, but there's some potential there and a bargain could be something the Eagles are interested in. He was forced to play the slot in 2016, but I'm not sure that's where he fits best. 

Terrelle Pryor
Pryor, the 6-4, 223-pound former quarterback, had an impressive 2016 season, establishing himself as a real threat as a receiver in the NFL. He caught 77 balls for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. He's 27 but appears far from reaching his potential. He's among the top available receivers. 

For the Eagles: If Pryor actually hits the market, the Eagles should be interested. But it seems kind of unlikely that's going to happen. The Browns should either franchise him or try to sign him long-term. 

Robert Woods
Woods, 6-0, 190, has been pretty consistent since entering the league as a second-round pick. In his four NFL seasons, he's averaged 50.8 catches and 612.8 yards per season. Solid, but not worth big money. 

For the Eagles: Woods has some talent but has been stuck in Buffalo. And after four NFL seasons, he's still just 24. Would be worth looking. 

Terrance Williams
The former third-round pick put together four good seasons in Dallas, with his lowest receiving yards-season coming in 2016. His best year was 2015 when he caught 52 balls for 840 yards. 

For the Eagles: It seems likely the Cowboys will let Williams walk and he wouldn't make a bad No. 2 option for the Eagles. Before last season, he had always been above 16 yards per reception, which should be enticing. 

Kenny Stills
Like Woods, Stills won't turn 25 until April, which is a good thing. The former fifth-rounder has 164 catches for 2,738 yards in his four seasons and is a legitimate deep threat. His 16.7 yards per reception is something to note. 

For the Eagles: A cheaper DeSean Jackson? Possibly. But even if Stills isn't much cheaper than Jackson, he at least likely has a lot more tread on the tires. The Eagles should definitely be interested. 

10 Eagles to watch during 2017 training camp

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USA Today Images/CSN

10 Eagles to watch during 2017 training camp

The Eagles kick off their 2017 training camp this week for a season with higher expectations than a year ago. 

A big reason for that is because Carson Wentz is entering his second season after an up-and-down, yet promising, rookie campaign. We're not going to list him as a player to watch because we're all going to watch him anyway. 

Another big reason for optimism is plenty of newcomers. Many of them are listed. 

Here are 10 players to watch during Eagles training camp 2017: 

Nelson Agholor 
We mentioned the newcomers, but let's start with a guy who has been here for a couple of disappointing seasons. Agholor will probably never live up to his draft status, but now it's just about making him a decent NFL player. This spring, he was the best receiver on the field, which was undeniable as it was infuriating to fans. Because it just hasn't translated into games and until it does, no one will care much. But it's worth watching to see if he can continue his impressive offseason. Maybe this year, with a reduced role, he won't be a headcase. 

Derek Barnett
The first-round pick showed some impressive signs during the spring, especially when he beat Lane Johnson a few times 1-on-1. But now the pads go on and the real football begins. Barnett has a real chance to not just earn playing time but also earn a starting job during this training camp. 

Ron Brooks/Joe Walker
We cheated a little here by lumping these two together, but it kind of makes sense. Both are coming back from serious injuries, which is why we need to see what they can do. Walker tore his ACL during the preseason a year ago. Before he did, he was set to be the team's backup middle linebacker. It wasn't until his injury that the Eagles went out and signed Stephen Tulloch. And Brooks was playing OK as the Eagles' slot cornerback before his ruptured quad tendon in October. Jim Schwartz seems to really like him, but many folks have seemingly forgotten about Brooks this offseason. 

Timmy Jernigan
Of all the newcomers, Jernigan might be the most overlooked, but could also make the biggest impact. He's here with just one year left on his contract but will get a chance to put up some serious numbers while playing next to Fletcher Cox on the interior line. 

LeGarrette Blount
Blount reportedly has language written into his contract that gives him bonuses based on staying under 250 pounds. Even if he's under 250, Blount is still a big back, about 20 pounds heavier than rookie Corey Clement. Blount is up there in age and had a huge workload for the Patriots last season. How much does he have left? 

Rasul Douglas 
Of all the Eagles' rookies, Douglas might need to have the most immediate impact. The third-round pick might be thrust into a major role this season just because of the lack of talent at the cornerback position. He was impressive in the spring but is bound to have ups and downs as a rookie. 

Alshon Jeffery 
The Eagles actually have a real No. 1 receiver. Jeffery made some spectacular catches during the spring, but he and Wentz need to build their rapport, which they had extra time to do when the receivers went to North Dakota. We'll see how far along he and Wentz are soon enough. 

Donnel Pumphrey
It's pretty shocking to see how small Pumphrey looks without pads, especially standing next to Blount. How will the Eagles use the tiny running back? Will he be more of a receiver out of the backfield and in the slot? And can his body really hold up in the NFL? 

Isaac Seumalo 
Yeah, we're telling you an interior offensive lineman is a guy to watch. Seumalo has a real chance to beat out Allen Barbre for the starting left guard position. Either way, Seumalo figures into the Eagles' plans for the future as a guard or as the center who eventually takes over for Jason Kelce. 

Mack Hollins
Of the rookie receivers, Hollins was clearly more impressive this spring. I became convinced Hollins can play football in shorts and a helmet. Now, we'll get to see how he does when the pads go on. With his size/speed combo, he's certainly an intriguing prospect.

NFL Notes: As Cowboys prep for training camp, Jerry Jones backs Ezekiel Elliott again

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USA Today Images

NFL Notes: As Cowboys prep for training camp, Jerry Jones backs Ezekiel Elliott again

OXNARD, Calif. -- Jerry Jones interjected some bad-boy anecdotes from his youth, smiled at the thought of life before social media and even asked a couple of questions himself Sunday at his annual training camp opener with reporters.

When the topic is the multitude of off-field issues confronting the Dallas Cowboys -- headlined by star running back Ezekiel Elliott -- their owner, president and general manager can dance with the best of them.

"I can give you the same old excuses -- young, aggressive, got a lot of energy," Jones said. "Hard to paint that picture of the days when it won't be this easy, they won't be as pretty and they won't have the money. Somehow you've got to paint the picture."

Elliott is still waiting for clearance from the NFL on a year-old domestic violence case that prosecutors didn't pursue. The NFL rushing leader last season as a rookie, Elliott didn't help himself with his involvement in a bar fight a week before the Cowboys flew to California for camp.

Jones reiterated his belief that Elliott wasn't guilty of domestic violence in a dispute with his ex-girlfriend last summer in Columbus, Ohio, where he starred for Ohio State. But the Dallas owner still wouldn't speculate on whether Elliott will get suspended.

The Cowboys will have two suspended defensive players when the season starts in pass rushers David Irving and Randy Gregory. Two more could be: cornerback Nolan Carroll (drunken-driving charge) and linebacker Damien Wilson (aggravated assault charges).

Receiver Dez Bryant was late to report at the team's practice facility in suburban Dallas on Friday, a day before he was on the team flight to California. Irving decided to stay in California rather than report in Texas, and running back Darren McFadden missed the charter flight (see full story).

Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald motivated by quest for championship
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Training camp is a drag at this point in Larry Fitzgerald's long and accomplished NFL career. Of course, the quest for the ring is the main reason the 14-year veteran continues to play.

The longtime Arizona Cardinals wide receiver isn't sure what his future holds as far as retirement.

"That's the only reason I'm playing at this point," Fitzgerald said Sunday, the second day of Cardinals training camp. "From a personal standpoint, things I've accomplished, they're fine. But the thing that you will say is out of your control because you're in a team sport is a championship."

Fitzgerald said he feels good, and when retirement comes there won't be a podium or tears because "that's not who I am."

Yet it is important to him to still be productive as a player when he decides to step away. Fitzgerald admitted it would be a struggle to accept a diminished role due to not being able to give 100 percent.

"The end is never really pretty for elite athletes. It never looks good. You watch Michael Jordan in a Washington Wizards uniform or see Tony Dorsett playing for the Denver Broncos. ... It's weird because you're used to seeing them at their most dominant stage," Fitzgerald said. "For me, I really want to do things at a high level and be able to walk away and still be someone who can play at a high level."

Fitzgerald has asked others who are closer to retirement or have retired about their thought process going into it. He's been doing that for the last few years, checking in with the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tony Gonzalez.

For now, he still enjoys being around teammates and staff, asking questions in an effort to improve as a player and setting an example and providing leadership for young players (see full story).

Browns: Rookie Peppers signs, full class under contract
CLEVELAND -- Browns rookie defensive back Jabrill Peppers has signed and now Cleveland's entire draft class is under contract.

Peppers and the Browns had been haggling over guaranteed money on his four-year-deal, which is worth $10.3 million and includes a $5.6 million signing bonus.

The Browns chose Peppers -- one of Cleveland's three first-round selections -- with the No. 25 overall pick. The former Michigan standout played numerous positions for the Wolverines, but the Browns will try him at strong safety and as a kick returner.

Peppers may have been passed over by other teams after he had a diluted urine sample at the scouting combine. Peppers was placed in the first stage of the NFL's substance abuse policy, but he can be cleared from the program after 90 days if he has not positive tests.

Cleveland's rookies were scheduled to report to training camp Sunday night with the veterans arriving on Wednesday. The Browns will open their second training camp under coach Hue Jackson on Thursday.