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

Watch: The Phillies hit rare back-to-back-to-back home runs

Watch: The Phillies hit rare back-to-back-to-back home runs

The Phillies completing a sweep of a division rival at Citizens Bank Park is a pretty rare occurence these days.

But it happened over the weekend.

An even rarer feat took place in the 8th inning when the Phillies went back-to-back-to-back jacks to give the Phils a comanding lead that really allowed the fans to bring the brooms out.

In case you missed it, it's worth giving Cesar Hernandez, Aaron Altherr, and Odubel Herrera another look.

Jim Salisbury has the full story on the exciting win.

 

The complete Eagles guide to the first round of the 2017 NFL draft

The complete Eagles guide to the first round of the 2017 NFL draft

It’s difficult to say who the Eagles will take with the No. 14 choice in the 2017 NFL draft. With needs at just about every position on the roster, and trading up or down always a possibility, almost nothing is off limits. There doesn't seem to be a great deal of consensus on how to rank the prospects, either, so even narrowing the list is difficult.

Still, after many months of arduous debate and bluster, there is at least some sense of what the Eagles' options will be. We've pared our list down to 23 names, which seems like a lot, but a case can be made for anybody who's made it here. And if you click through, we've taken a more in-depth look at 16 of our prospects and explored why they may or may not be a fit.

This handy guide eliminates the prospects who are expected to be gone well before the Eagles pick, or are extreme long shots in the first round, whether there's a trade or not. In other words, while 23 players presents about the broadest view possible of the draft, we're fairly confident one of these names will be on the roster in less than a week.

 

RUNNING BACK

Dalvin Cook, Florida State (Stats, measureables and profile)

A true dual threat and perfect fit for the West Coast offense, Cook is a risk nonetheless. Issues with ball security, and multiple injuries and arrests are not easy to overlook. Otherwise, there may not be a more gifted running back in the draft.

Leonard Fournette, LSU (Stats, measureables and profile)

A devastating, downhill, between-the-tackles runner, Fournette is not a prototypical West Coast back. Can become a weapon in the passing attack with work, but is not uncomfortable catching passes or in protection as is. May be off the board before Eagles pick.

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (Stats, measureables and profile)

Arguably the best all-purpose back in the draft. McCaffrey has a smooth, patient running style, tremendous vision, and is an elite receiver out of the backfield. Returns kicks and punts. Concerns over durability raised, though it’s unclear why.

 

WIDE RECEIVER

Corey Davis, Western Michigan (Stats, measureables and profile)

The most prolific receiver in NCAA Division I/FBS history, Davis possesses prototypical size and strength, isn't afraid to go over the middle, and can make a defender miss or break a tackle. Polished route-runner who doesn't drop many passes.

John Ross, Washington (Stats, measureables and profile)

Set the all-time record for fastest 40-yard dash in NFL Scouting Combine history. Defensive backs better give a cushion, or they'll get burned. Dangerous kickoff returner, too. History of injuries -- especially lower body -- and diminutive size are concerns.

Mike Williams, Clemson (Stats, measureables and profile)

Big, physical receiver who's at his best when the football is up for grabs. Williams is dangerous at every level of the field, but especially deep and inside the red zone. No issues going over the middle and making contested catches.

 

TIGHT END

O.J. Howard, Alabama (Stats, measureables and profile)

With receptions for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns in two national championship games, Howard dominated on the big stage. Rare combination of wide receiver-running back athleticism in a tight end's body. May be off the board before Eagles pick.

David Njoku, Miami

Outstanding production in 2016, but limited body of work overall. Njoku possesses the size and athleticism to be a receiving threat, particularly in the red zone. Drops are an issue and needs a lot of work as a blocker.

 

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Garrett Bolles, Utah

Tremendous athleticism for an offensive lineman and flashes a mean streak, but play strength is an issue. With just one season in the FBS, Bolles still has room to develop, although he also turns 25 this year.

Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin (Stats, measureables and profile)

Successfully made the jump from Division III to Wisconsin, earning first-team All-American distinction in lone season. A sound technician, Ramczyk projects as a left tackle, though he lacks ideal length. Passion for football also a question mark.

 

OFFENSIVE GUARD

Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

Likely to move inside after starting at left tackle. Lamp has experience at guard as well, so the position change isn't difficult to project. Dominated the competition in the C-USA conference, but the NFL might be a different story.

 

DEFENSIVE END

Derek Barnett, Tennessee (Stats, measureables and profile)

One of the most productive pass rushers in NCAA history, Barnett wins at the point of attack with a combination of strength, motor and sophisticated technique. Big frame and impressive agility and bend, but lacks explosion or high-end straight-line speed.

Taco Charlton, Michigan (Stats, measureables and profile)

At 6-foot-6, 277 pounds, Charlton's size is a huge draw. Difficult to move off of the line of scrimmage and can collapse the pocket, but only a one-year starter who was inconsistent and doesn't possess great speed off the edge.

Charles Harris, Missouri

While not especially physically imposing or explosive, Harris was a disruptive force in 2015, finishing second in the SEC with 18.5 tackles for loss. Numbers dropped off last season after scheme change, but he can still make plays in the backfield (12 TFL, 9.0 SK).

Takkarist McKinley, UCLA (Stats, measureables and profile)

Only one 4-3 edge defender timed faster than McKinley in the 40-yard dash at the 2017 scouting combine. Needs to add strength and more pass-rush moves to his repertoire, but his speed could be especially enticing in the wide nine.

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Malik McDowell, Michigan State (Stats, measureables and profile)

Intriguing combination of size and speed for an interior lineman, but production dipped in 2016. While an ankle injury may have been to blame, McDowell’s effort has been called into question. Could line up at end from time to time.

 

LINEBACKER

Reuben Foster, Alabama (Stats, measureables and profile)

Known for hard hits, Foster combines physicality with the athleticism to run sideline to sideline. Shows potential as a run defender and pass rusher, but did little in coverage. Injuries, poor tackling form and a string of off-field incidents are concerns. May be off the board before Eagles pick.

Haason Reddick, Temple

Ridiculous production last season with 22.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 1 interception and 3 forced fumbles. Shift to linebacker in a 4-3 would be an adjustment, but at 6-foot-1, 237 pounds with 4.5 speed, there’s no reason Reddick couldn't.

 

CORNERBACK

Gareon Conley, Ohio State (Stats, measureables and profile)

A two-year starter, Conley has the size and speed to match up against and run with receivers on the perimeters. Quality tape and solid numbers backed up by combine performance. Experience with man and zone coverages. Needs improvement in run support.

Marlon Humphrey, Alabama (Stats, measureables and profile)

Physical corner with a broad frame to jam and re-route receivers at the line of scrimmage. Humphrey maintains tight coverage beyond the five-yard window. Aggressive in run support and knows how to finish. Could track the ball better in the air.

Kevin King, Washington (Stats, measureables and profile)

There may not be a more impressive physical specimen at corner. King is 6-foot-3, with the quickness, balance and agility to turn and run with receivers. Aggressive in run support. Intelligent and versatile, with experience outside, in the slot and at safety.

Tre’Davious White, LSU (Stats, measureables and profile)

Unrivaled experience with four years starting experience in the SEC. Durable, productive, and a leader on and off the field. Played outside and in the slot, in addition to returning punts. Decent size, though not ideal.

 

SAFETY

Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

Maybe more of a sub-package specialist than a pure safety, Peppers is an intriguing prospect. Lined up all over Michigan’s defense, including linebacker and nickel cornerback. Production wasn't impressive, indicating potential jack of all trades, master of none.