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Rating the Rumor: Eagles want Pierre Garcon

Rating the Rumor: Eagles want Pierre Garcon

While fans are tantalized by the mere possibility of signing Alshon Jeffery or trading for Brandin Cooks, it’s far more likely the Eagles will settle for a veteran wide receiver within their modest means. For that reason, Pierre Garcon is not at all an implausible target.

To take that thought process one step further, Mike Jones for The Washington Post has gone so far as to say the Eagles “are expected to want” Garcon. Expected. That doesn’t necessarily indicate the Redskins wideout is at the top of the free agent wish list, but it does strongly suggest there is going to be some interest is there.

The logical question here is, “Why?” Clearly, there are superior receivers available, Jeffery and Cooks being the tip of the iceberg. Garcon turns 31 before the season even begins, so his inevitable decline might be near. Plus, if we’re being specific about the Eagles’ needs, we’re talking about speed on the perimeters, which Garcon was never a burner.

Is Garcon the best, most logical fit for the Eagles? Probably not, but it does make some sense when you consider the organization’s situation and how events are likely to unfold in the coming days.

Once again, consider the Eagles’ financial situation. While moves are no doubt coming to free up some cash, the club is currently sitting at just $8.6 million under the salary cap. With a series of trades and releases, the Eagles will be hard-pressed to come up with much more than $20 million by the time free agency opens on March 9, and that might be generous.

Even if the Eagles have $20 million, signing any of the top-tier free agents will be a large drain on those funds. Jeffery made $14 million last season and could fetch a comparable amount long-term. Cooks is looking for a huge extension, too, plus is expected to cost a first-round draft pick. Kenny Stills of all people is said to be seeking $12 million annually on the open market. Any young, remotely high-profile receiver out there is going to get paid this offseason.

Which brings us back to Garcon. Because of his age and body of work, the nine-year veteran is unlikely to command anywhere near the kind of money being bandied about above, nor the commitment in contract length. What’s more, he’s an extremely reliable target.

Just last season, Garcon racked up 79 receptions for 1,041 yards, which were the second-highest totals of his career. Granted, 2016 might was a bit of an outlier, but it showed he can still play. And in the eight years since he became a starter, Garcon has averaged 70 receptions and 880 yards per campaign. Those are respectable totals, not to mention he hasn’t missed a game since 2012.

The downside is clear. Garcon is not a permanent fix and could decline at any moment. He doesn’t fill the Eagles’ need for speed, no is he a serious threat in the red zone with just 37 career touchdowns.

Then again, what do the Eagles need more from free agency: one of the brightest, young, most expensive stars available, or a credible receiver of any kind who can get open and will actually catch the passes coming from Carson Wentz?

This is the type of understated move savvy front offices will make. Sure, there are ways to structure contracts in such a way where the Eagles can be players for Jeffery, Cooks, Stills or DeSean Jackson. Then again, once the bidding begins, there are other NFL teams that have more to spend and will flex their muscles when the time comes.

That doesn’t mean the Eagles will be shut out of the market. It just means they may have to look at the advantages to making the less popular choice.

Rating the Rumor: Not ideal, but not at all unlikely

The Giants targeted Eagles CB Jalen Mills a historic amount

The Giants targeted Eagles CB Jalen Mills a historic amount

If it felt as though Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was involved in every other play against the Giants on Sunday, well, that’s actually not too far off.

We knew Mills saw a lot of action. He was shadowing Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for most of the afternoon, which is usually a sure sign a lot of footballs are going to come your way. One look at the box score can tell you Mills finished with a game-high 12 tackles.

That only tells part of the story. The Giants went after Mills so much, it made history.

Mills was targeted 21 times in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus — the highest number any cornerback has faced in over 10 years. PFF’s numbers only date back to 2006, but even if it’s only the most in the last decade, and not all-time, that’s still saying something in the increasingly pass-happy NFL.

To put that in perspective, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw 47 passes total, so nearly half went to Mills’ man.

And how did Mills fare? Predictably, it was a mixed bag. Manning completed 71.4 percent of those attempts for 119 yards. Thirteen of those targets alone were for Beckham, who finished with nine receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns.

When you put it like that, it sounds bad. However, the Eagles — Mills included — were playing a lot of off-man coverage and conceding routes underneath. So while Mills allowed a high volume of completions, those plays only amounted to 5.7 yards per attempt.

Granted, Beckham found the end zone twice. More often than not, Mills was limiting Giants receivers to short gains. In fact, the longest completion the second-year defensive back allowed went for 14 yards, as well as only 23 total yards after the catch.

"Besides those (two touchdowns), you always want them back in the red zone," Beckham said. "Both were contested. Both were short. For the most part of the game, I think I played pretty well."

PFF described it as “death by a thousand paper cuts,” but it wasn’t Mills’ death at all. All things considered, he did pretty much what the banged-up Eagles defense needed him to do to secure a victory.

Giants WR Brandon Marshall allegedly spit on Eagles fan

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USA Today Images

Giants WR Brandon Marshall allegedly spit on Eagles fan

Odell Beckham Jr. pretended to urinate on the Eagles’ home field, but it was Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall who may have crossed the line with his use of bodily fluids Sunday.

A video shows the unidentified Eagles fan accuse Marshall of spitting on him amid a heated verbal exchange during pregame warmups. It’s unclear what compelled a six-time Pro Bowl selection to have words with some guy wearing a Randall Cunningham throwback jersey, but if Marshall did spit, it was after he was repeatedly challenged to a fight.

There is no visual confirmation as to whether Marshall spit on the man, either, as the footage appears to be shot on the first smartphone ever made. Marshall’s head does make a forward motion as if he were spitting. Then again, some people just have trouble controlling their saliva when they’re yelling, too, leaving open the small-percentage chance this was accidental spittle.

You be the judge.

Spit or not spit, it will be interesting to see if the Eagles and Lincoln Financial Field rethink their policy on allowing fans on the field before certain games after this little — ahem — spat.

(h/t Sporting News)