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. 

Former Eagles personnel exec Tom Gamble leaves 49ers

Former Eagles personnel exec Tom Gamble leaves 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Longtime San Francisco 49ers personnel executive Tom Gamble is leaving the organization after a front-office overhaul this offseason.

General manager John Lynch announced on Wednesday that he and Gamble decided it would be in the best interest for the team and Gamble for him to leave the team.

Lynch was hired as GM to replace Trent Baalke late last month. Lynch then hired former Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew as a senior personnel executive and Adam Peters as vice president of player personnel to be his top personnel executives.

Gamble has 29 years of experience in the NFL, including 10 years with the 49ers. He was assistant general manager for San Francisco this past season.

Eagles Mailbag: Bennie Logan, top WRs in draft, Jeremy Maclin return?

Eagles Mailbag: Bennie Logan, top WRs in draft, Jeremy Maclin return?

There hasn't been much Eagles talk recently. The last few weeks have been pretty dead. 

That's about to change soon enough. Next week, the football world will take over Indianapolis for the combine and just after that, free agency will begin on March 9. After that, the draft isn't too far away. 

So let's jump into your mailbag questions: 

Yeah, I think there's a real chance Bennie Logan isn't an Eagle next year. Howie Roseman has been pretty consistent in saying he wants Logan to return, but it's fair to wonder about the price. Logan has now proven that he can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme, so there will be plenty of teams interested. 

If the Eagles lose Logan, their defense will take a big hit. There's not really a way around that. He's a good player and has been an important part of the line. But with a ton of money devoted to the defensive line over the next few years -- even assuming Connor Barwin isn't back -- will the Eagles pay another? I'm not so sure. 

And I agree that Logan was really good against the run last year. But I think his real value is in being great against the run while also being able to generate some pass rush. I think Beau Allen can be a decent run-stuffer, but he's clearly not the same player as Logan. 

I can't give a real answer here. Sorry. While I don't wholeheartedly agree with the best player available notion, the Eagles also can't prioritize one need over the other in this scenario. There will be either 13 or 14 picks before the Eagles are on the board. 

Really, it's going to depend on which players are left. Are Mike Williams and Corey Davis on the board? How about the top corners? There's a lot of them. If the player the Eagles really want at one of those positions is off the board, they could look elsewhere. And it's not automatic they'll take a receiver or a cornerback. What if they opt for an edge rusher? 

But getting back to corner vs. receiver, there are a couple thoughts: 

1. They'll pick a corner because receivers are far from a sure thing. Roseman made it a point to talk about how the 2014 draft changed expectations for rookie receivers. And the Eagles haven't had much luck recently drafting receivers in the first round. And Roseman has also said that while it might make sense to grab a first-round corner in the second round because of depth, there's often a run at positions where a draft is strong. It would be better to just get the best one. 

2. On the flip side of that, maybe they'll pick a receiver with the idea that at least one really good corner will be on the board in the second round. That would maximize value, especially if they get the receiver they want in the first round. 

That's a long way to say: I don't think it'll be about position as much as it will be about the specific player at 14 or 15. 

This is a tough one. I really think the margin separating these two is so close that the combine could flip them for me. But for now, I'm going with Mike Williams. 

Clemson listed him at 6-3, 225 and I think he's going to come close to that at the combine. And he might not have Corey Davis' speed or quick twitch, but he makes up for it. I really want to see how he performs at the combine; I expect it to confirm my belief that he's the top receiver in the draft. Davis will reportedly not run at the combine because of an ankle injury. 

It's possible a team like the Eagles could fall in love with Davis' deep threat ability. That's clearly what they value right now. But ultimately, I think Williams is the top guy. 

I don't think Ryan Mathews will be back next season. He's 29, coming off a serious neck injury and is way too expensive. The Eagles can save $4 million by cutting him. I expect that to happen and for the Eagles to try to find some younger, healthier talent. 

Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy! Let's get the band back together! 

I understand why the Maclin questions are rolling in. An ESPN column recently suggested that the Chiefs could cut the former Eagle. Maclin is familiar with the Eagles' offense and Doug Pederson, which means the move would make some sense. 

But from a football standpoint, Jackson would give the Eagles what they need more than Maclin. Over the last couple years, Maclin has really been utilized in the slot, which happens to be where the Eagles' only decent receiver plays. Sure, Pederson will move around his receivers, but there are probably better fits out there for the Eagles than Maclin. If he does become a free agent, though, it's at least worth inquiring.