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Grading the Eagles’ moves: WR Alshon Jeffery

Grading the Eagles’ moves: WR Alshon Jeffery

While I’m still trying to figure out how the Eagles can possibly afford to do this, there is very little not to like about signing Alshon Jeffery to a one-year deal.

Sure, $14 million is a steep sum, although Jeffery is worth every penny if he returns to the Pro Bowl form he displayed in 2013 and ’14. Even if it doesn’t work out, this is a one-time payment. It’s $14 million less than could’ve been spent on another player or carried over into 2018, yet the opportunity to sign a true No. 1 receiver in free agency and test drive him for one season doesn’t come often.

And make no mistake, Jeffery absolutely has the ability to be a No. 1. This guy has it all. At 6-foot-3, 218 pounds and 33-inch arms, Jeffery possesses tremendous catch radius. That size makes him a weapon inside the red zone, as evidenced by his 17 touchdowns over the ’13-14 seasons, but he can also stretch the field, his career 15.0 yards per reception good for 11th among active NFL players.

Jeffery is coming off of a pair of seemingly ordinary campaigns that maxed out in 50-reception, 800-yard range. Still, his career 72.2 receiving yards per game ranks 10th among active players and 18th all-time.

The down years are certainly a cause for concern, although the Bears have been terrible, too, winning nine games during that span. Jeffery also battled injury in 2015 and was only able to play half a season, while a suspension over performance-enhancing drugs cost him a quarter of the ’16 campaign.

If you take Jeffery’s production over the past two years and project that over a full 16-game season, it works out to 81 receptions and 1,240 yards. That’s pretty much in line with Jeffery’s numbers in ’14, when he posted 85 receptions and 1,133 yards, and not far off of his Pro Bowl effort in ’13, with 89 receptions and 1,421 yards.

Can the Eagles get a full 16 out of Jeffery? Obviously, that is a larger issue than his play, which is tremendous. For a single payment of $14 million, the risk is minimal.

In fact, if there is a downside to this deal at all, it’s Jeffery becoming a free agent again in 2018. The Eagles, understandably, didn’t want to get locked into something super long-term after the suspension, injury and modest seasons. Still, there’s no guarantee that Jeffery won’t have a tremendous season and wind up in a different uniform a year later.

The Eagles aren’t entirely without protection, as they can always use the franchise tag to restrict Jeffery’s movement if need be. Of course, all of this is putting the cart before the horse. Jeffery has something to prove after the last two years, and if he’s able to, the Eagles are in strong position to capitalize, both in 2017 and beyond.

Grade: A

Previously: Grading the Eagles' moves: WR Torrey Smith

10 facts about Jake Elliott's unbelievable walk-off field goal

10 facts about Jake Elliott's unbelievable walk-off field goal

Reuben Frank has 10 facts you may not have known about Jake Elliott’s 61-yard walk-off field goal.

1. Jake Elliott’s 61-yard game-winning field goal Sunday broke the Eagles’ franchise record of 59 yards set on Nov. 12, 1979, by Tony Franklin against the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. 

2. It was the longest walk-off field goal by an Eagles kicker by far, breaking the record of 50 yards set by David Akers on Oct. 24, 2004, in overtime in Cleveland.

3. It was the third-longest walk-off game-winner in NFL history and the longest in 10 years — since a kick Eagles fans remember well. The longest game-winner ever is Tom Dempsey’s 63-yarder as time expired on Nov. 8, 1970, that gave the Saints a 19-17 win over the Lions at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The only other longer game-winner was Matt Bryant’s 62-yarder in Tampa against the Eagles on Oct. 22, 2006.

4. It was the longest field goal in NFL history by a rookie. The previous record was 60 yards set by Greg Zuerlein of the Rams, who made a 60-yarder against Seattle in a 19-13 win on Sept. 30, 2012. 

5. Elliott’s kick was also the longest field goal ever against the Giants. The previous record belonged to Mason Crosby of the Packers, who made a 57-yarder in a loss to the Giants in 2013.

6. Elliott is the first kicker in NFL history to make a kick from 60 or more yards before making a kick from 50 or more yards. Elliott’s previous long field goal was a 46-yarder moments earlier. Zuerlein and Dempsey each had one 50-yarder before their 60-yarder.

7. The kickers who made the longest and fourth-longest field goals in Eagles history are both currently on the roster. Franklin’s 59-yarder is now second-longest, David Akers’ 57-yarder in 2003 against the Patriots is No. 3 and Caleb Sturgis’ 55-yarder last October in Dallas is now fourth-longest. Sturgis is currently on injured reserve. Elliott was signed to replace him.

8. Believe it or not, Elliott is the first kicker in Eagles history to make two field goals of 46 yards or more in a fourth quarter.

9. Elliott’s kick was not the longest attempt ever by an Eagles kicker. Alex Henery missed a 63-yarder in the Georgia Dome against the Falcons in 2011, Tony Franklin missed a 62-yarder against the Colts in 1983 and Tom Dempsey missed a 61-yarder against the Cards in 1974.

10. Finally, this: Elliott, whose 46-yarder with 51 seconds left tied the game at 24, is the first kicker in 23 years to make two field goals from any distance in the final minute of a fourth quarter. On Christmas Eve in 1994 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Doug Pelfrey of the Bengals made a game-tying 22-yard field goal against the Eagles with three seconds left in the fourth quarter. Eagles fullback Brian O’Neal fumbled the ensuing kickoff and it was recovered by Adrian Hardy of the Bengals at the Eagles’ 35-yard line. Pelfrey ran back on the field and made a 54-yarder to win the game. Eagles head coach Rich Kotite was fired the next day. 

Watch Joel Embiid go crazy for Eagles' game-winning field goal

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Watch Joel Embiid go crazy for Eagles' game-winning field goal

Be honest, when Jake Elliott lined up for a 61-yard field goal, after missing earlier in the game from 52 yards out, did you think he was going to make it?

Well, he did and we all went crazy (see story). Even Joel Embiid, who was at the game with many of his teammates, went nuts.

In addition to the people in the stands going nuts, the folks across the street at Xfinity Live went wild.

Here’s the play again, in case you just want to see it again.

Here are the best of the rest and social reaction from Elliott’s amazing kick.