Freddie Mitchell loses mind over Nelson Agholor's having better stats

Freddie Mitchell loses mind over Nelson Agholor's having better stats

Nelson Agholor's first two seasons in the NFL haven't been very good by any stretch of the imagination, but Eagles legend-in-his-own-mind Freddie Mitchell wasn't any better, as he will try to claim. In fact, Mitchell was far worse, and when confronted with this reality, the retired wide receiver responded with every excuse he could think of — even if it wasn't true.

Mitchell seemed to be set of by an unfavorable graphic that appeared on Thursday's edition of Breakfast on Broad which made a statistical comparison to Agholor, a fellow first-round draft pick. Spoiler alert: as poorly as Agholor's career has started, he practically doubles Mitchell's production in years one and in two in the league.

Naturally, the physical evidence wasn't enough to convince Mitchell that he is anything less than the greatest receiver in Eagles history, and responded with what he no doubt believed to be a clever defense.

There's just one, tiny problem with Mitchell's argument. People keep track of both targets and receptions, and in case you don't want to do the math yourself, the catch rates are readily available. Mitchell caught 49.3 percent of the passes thrown his way, while Agholor hauled in 52.7. Again, neither figure is acceptable, but the advantage goes to Agholor.

But Mitchell wasn't finished. Then the numbers didn't matter at all, because this was by design in the offense under former Eagles coach Andy Reid, and Mitchell was just doing his job.

I guess nobody told him his job was to catch footballs.

It should go without saying that this defense was just as ridiculous as the first. Although Reid's system did spread the ball around — as most highly functioning offenses do — that didn't prevent wide receiver Terrell Owens from racking up 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2004, or even running back Brian Westbrook from racking up 73 catches for 703 yards and six scores that same season, Mitchell's second in the league.

I suppose Mitchell has Agholor beat in playoff receptions on 4th-and-26. Although I'd be hard-pressed to award Mitchell the title of "Better Team Player."

Come to think of it, how did Mitchell even find his way into this discussion in the first place? He wasn't tagged in it.

Oh, yeah. This all came about from another attention-seeking rant completely lacking in self-awareness.

2017 Eagles Cost Analysis, OG: An embarrassment of riches

2017 Eagles Cost Analysis, OG: An embarrassment of riches

Two offseasons ago, starting offensive guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans were cut by the Eagles in the same offseason, with no real plan to replace either one of them. After years of neglecting the position in the draft, the club was down to a couple of journeymen and some projects that weren't really working out. Allen Barbre. Andrew Gardner. Dennis Kelly. Matt Tobin.

Yet remarkably enough, guard has rapidly become an area of great strength for the Eagles, thanks to a renewed interest in the position. Barbre surprisingly panned out, which certainly helped speed up the rebuild, while the front office went out and signed veterans Brandon Brooks and Stefan Wisniewski, then invested a third-round draft pick in Isaac Seumoalo.

The best part: three of those four players are under contract for 2017, and two of them carry a cap hit under $2 million. Even if the Eagles do nothing, they are in great shape here.

At the very least, a decision must be made on Wisniewski, who is set to become a free agent again — that is assuming he doesn't make it for them. Teams weren't exactly beating down Wisniewski's door last offseason, which is why the Eagles were able to swoop in with a one-year deal, but it's a little strange. He's a solid interior lineman that can also play center and has five years of starting experience in the NFL. You would think he can fill a need somewhere.

If the Eagles can have Wisniewski back as a reserve, it might be a no-brainer. He doubles as a high-quality backup to Jason Kelce, plus Barbre has only the upcoming season remaining on his deal and is getting up there in years. Cost becomes an issue, as Wisniewski did not come cheap, but with six starts in 2016, there was some bang for the buck.

Or, if the Eagles really wanted to be competitve, they could accelerate Barbre's demise and entice Wisniewski with the promise of more work. The club stands to save all but $150,000 on the final year of Barbre's contract if he were to get the axe or is traded, money that could be put toward the younger alternative. That potentially opens up a job for Wisniewski at left guard, although Seumalo obviously is in the mix as well.

There's a reasonable possibility Wisniewski generates more interest on the open market this time around, so with Brooks locked in at right guard and Seumalo waiting in the wings, the Eagles wouldn't be a very attractive option. That's a nice problem to have, though.

OFFENSIVE GUARDS UNDER CONTRACT

Brandon Brooks
Age: 28*
Cap Number: $7,200,000

Money well spent. According to Pro Football Focus, Brooks scored the fifth-highest cumulative overall grade of any offensive guard in the NFL in 2016. Yet in terms of money, eight guards currently carry a higher cap hit for next season, so while he came at a high price, Brooks is paying dividends thus far. There is the matter of Brooks unexpectedly missing two games with issues related to anxiety, but he vowed to get that squared away, so hopefully it's not a problem going forward. As long as he's healthy, Brooks was quietly the best free-agent addition by the Eagles in 2016, a 6-foot-5, 335-pound mauler who should be around for a long time.

Allen Barbre
Age: 33*
Cap Number: $1,950,000

Barbre doubles as a swing tackle, starting three games at right tackle in '16, though he's much better inside. Still, that versatility alone might be enough to give the Eagles pause about about trying to save $1.8 million this offseason. As it turns out, Barbre is actually a pretty good guard, too, earning the 22nd-highest cumulative grade from Pro Football Focus for this past season. With all of that in mind, a case could be made the Eagles are getting a steal here. The real question is whether they should think about extending his contract, although that might be unnecessary with Seumalo in the fold.

Isaac Seumalo
Age: 24*
Cap Number: $764,966

Barbre isn't the only person who can kick out to tackle in a pinch. Brooks has done it in the past as a member of the Texans, and Seumalo lined up on the outside just this year. The rookie didn't embarrass himself, either, no matter what position he was playing. There's little question the Eagles view Seumalo as the left guard of the future, which could be 2017 if they let Wisniewski walk and part ways with Barbre as well. One departure might happen, but probably not both, as it would unnecessarily create a depth issue at guard. Still, the franchise has to be thinking very highly of Seumalo right now, so much so that you wonder if he'll get a chance to compete for a starting job even assuming Barbre remains.

Dillon Gordon
Age: 24*
Cap Number: $540,000

An undrafted free agent out of LSU, Gordon initially made the 53-man roster out of training camp, indicating the Eagles really liked him and wanted to protect him from the first run of waiver-wire pickups. He was eventually moved to the practice squad, then reactivated at the end of the season once injuries mounted, seeing the field for a grand total of two snaps. While listed at 6-4, 322 pounds, Gordon seems smaller than that, but maybe that's because he's so agile. Coach Doug Pederson was giving him a look as a part-time fullback during camp.

Darrell Greene
Age: 25*

Greene reportedly received a rather large bonus to sign with the Eagles as a rookie out of San Diego State, though wound up being passed on the depth chart by Gordon. Still, Greene was retained on the scout team and signed a future contract at the conclusion of the season, so he's being viewed as a prospect. Obviously, the front office will add more competition, but between the two of these guys, they can afford to lose a veteran.

EXPIRING CONTRACTS

Stefan Wisniewski
Age: 28*
2016 Cap Number: $2,760,000

Wisniewski had a higher cap hit as a backup in '16 than Barbre did as a starter, which is yet another complicating factor in a potential re-signing. The idea initially was Wisniewski would battle for the job, but a competition never materialized, and he became a highly paid reserve instead. Now if there are injuries, particularly to Kelce at center, he quickly becomes worth every penny, and he was. Regardless, the debate will be taken out of the Eagles' hands if Wisniewski catches on as a starter somewhere. Kind of a shame, but this is a situation where you probably can't keep everybody.

* Age as of 12/31/17

2017 Eagles Cost Analysis, OTs: Jason Peters still worth the money

2017 Eagles Cost Analysis, OTs: Jason Peters still worth the money

With a cap number in excess of $11 million, Jason Peters is currently the most expensive player on the Eagles roster for 2017 — and he's still worth every penny.

Peters is coming off of his ninth Pro Bowl selection, and unlike last season, it wasn't a token invite. He legitimately rebounded from a down year plagued by injuries and performed like one of the best left tackles in the NFL. Peters received the eighth-highest cumulative grade at his position in 2016 from Pro Football Focus, so while he wasn't as dominant as once before, the 13-year veteran was highly effective.

Even if he was only the eighth-best left tackle in the league last season, as it turns out, that's actually right in line with his salary. According to OverTheCap, Peters' cap hit for '17 ranks seventh among left tackles, while five come within a million dollars.

So while Peters is making a lot of money, it's neither an unusually large sum for his position or a player of his caliber. If anything, he might be able to ask the Eagles for MORE.

It is interesting that coach Doug Pederson and director of player personnel Howie Roseman both have said they would like Peters back but haven't spoken as if that's inevitable. Maybe they're simply allowing for the possibility he would retire, although there's no indication that's the plan. Maybe the Eagles intend to ask him to take a pay cut. Or maybe Peters' agent is making overtures about the need to renegotiate a contract that expires in 2018.

Whatever the case may be, having Peters back at or around his current rate makes sense for both parties. He's not overpaid, but given his age, he's not underpaid, either. There might be a case here for a short extension which gives him some financial guarantee beyond '17 — as of now, the Eagles could cut Peters next season and save all but $1 million against the cap.

So long as Peters isn't looking for a huge raise, there shouldn't be a problem. Regardless, it certainly seems as if something could be afoot with his contract this offseason.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES UNDER CONTRACT

Jason Peters
Age: 35*
Cap Number: $11,200,000

In case your concern is saving money in 2017 rather than providing Carson Wentz with the best protection money can buy, the Eagles could recoup all but $2 million of Peters' cap hit if he's moved. That cash isn't going to do a whole lot of good though when the franchise quarterback gets folded into a pretzel. Yes, Lane Johnson could move to left tackle, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai can take over on the right. Of course, that's a lot to entrust to Vaitai, a fifth-round draft pick who started six games as a rookie. Not only that, but such a move would instantly decimate the club's depth at tackle, which was suddenly beginning to look pretty good. It's probably a lot smarter to pay Peters now and continue drafting and restocking the talent pool behind him.

Lane Johnson
Age: 27*
Cap Number: $10,000,000

The Eagles' record in 2016 with Lane Johnson: 5-1. Without him: 2-8. Obviously, the reason for such a drastic switch is a little more nuanced than one player, but there's no question Johnson made a big difference, especially as injuries mounted and the offense began cycling through replacements. While that's a lot of money to be paying a right tackle — his cap hit is over $2 million more than the next player at his position — the plan is to move him to the left eventually. The Eagles might be hesitant to put too much stock in that happening, as Johnson's next suspension for performance enhancing drugs will cost him a full season. Then again, at least that latest ban gives the club financial flexibility, as it reportedly allows his guaranteed money to be avoided in the event of his release. Regardless, fingers are crossed upstairs that Johnson's troubles are behind him.

Matt Tobin
Age: 27*
Cap Number: $900,000

Matt Tobin wound up getting a two-year contract extension last offseason because it was cheaper than his restricted free-agent tender. Yet it was still somewhat surprising when he made the 53-man roster. "Serviceable" is about the best possible compliment you could give Tobin's work at either tackle or guard. He was also used as a third tight end quite a bit in power situations in '16, though he didn't make himself irreplaceable in that role, either. Tobin can get the offense by for a game or two in a pinch, but it might be time to look at younger options with more upside. All but $50,000 of his cap hit turns into savings in the event he doesn't make the team.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Age: 24*
Cap Number: $596,281

Vaitai got thrown to the wolves in his first NFL start against Washington in Week 6. Instead of giving the rookie right tackle plenty of help and easing him into the game with a run-first game plan, the Eagles came out throwing and left him singled up with the likes of linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Predictably, Vaitai looked lost and overmatched while Wentz got mauled for a good portion of the afternoon. Vaitai settled down as the contest wore on — though not before the Redskins built a decent lead — and gradually improved as the weeks went on until he was sidelined by a knee injury. It wasn't enough of a body of work to feel completely comfortable with turning the job over to him in year two, but the Eagles definitely appear to have a prospect and potential future starter on their hands here. Not bad for a fifth-round draft pick.