First To Go
WR-Seeking Birds Can't Keep Reagor Now
The Eagles tried to trade for Calvin Ridley and were apparently very close, but that deal fell through.
The Eagles tried to sign free-agent Allen Robinson, but came up short.
They had interest in Christian Kirk, but who in their right mind would go toe-to-toe with Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke on the overspend of the offseason?
At one point, the Eagles checked in on Juju Smith-Schuster before promptly checking out.
Instead of focusing on receivers they didn’t get, turn your attention to the concept that the Eagles are truly chasing another wide receiver.
They’ve spent plenty of time checking out prospects for this month’s NFL Draft, going to pro days, conducting NFL Scouting Combine interviews, and arranging for visits to the NovaCare Complex.
Wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead personally led the pro day workout for Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks, a potential first-rounder, and spent plenty of time getting to know North Dakota State’s Christian Watson, a raw vertical threat with major upside.
Howie Roseman, the team’s executive vice president of football operations and man in charge of making the team’s draft picks, appears bent on strengthening his team’s vanilla passing game with another dynamic pass catcher.
So what’s that mean for Jalen Reagor, the team’s 2020 first-round pick?
Reagor, who hasn’t caught more than 35 passes or exceeded 400 receiving yards in any of his first two seasons since being picked 21st overall out of TCU, has to be wondering the same.
The team’s offseason actions combined with simple economics would indicate that the Eagles have already decided to move on from him.
Reagor is signed through 2023 and carries cap charges of about $3.5 million and $4.2 million, respectively, over the next two seasons, which aren’t prohibitive in this era of teams absorbing individual cap hits in excess of $25 or more million.
But if he’s on the team come September, Reagor’s paycheck won’t come close to matching his role, which is why finding a new location for the embattled receiver appears to be the most prudent option for both Roseman and for Reagor.
The coaches have already labeled 2020 sixth-rounder Quez Watkins, who reeled in over 600 yards last year, as the team’s No. 2 receiver behind DeVonta Smith, last year’s first-round pick at 10th overall who went over 900 yards as a rookie.
Head coach Nick Sirianni even claimed that Watkins could be the best second option he’s ever coached, high praise from a man who once presided over a Chargers receivers room that included Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams.
After striking out on some of those household names in free agency, Roseman added Sirianni’s pet from the head coach’s days as an offensive coordinator for Indianapolis, signing slot receiver Zach Pascal to a one-year deal.
If you’re counting, that makes Smith, Watkins and possibly Pascal as ahead of Reagor in the pecking order – and that’s before the NFL Draft. If Roseman uses any one of his five top-101 picks on a wide receiver, he’d only be pushing Reagor further down the depth chart.
Surely, an Eagles receiver trio of Ridley, Smith and Watkins – had they been able to land Ridley – would’ve left few snaps for Reagor. Same if the team had signed Robinson.
Teams don’t pay receivers in the multi-millions to be fourth or fifth on the depth chart, a role usually reserved for special teams and backing up.
Keep in mind: The cap hit is considerably less for the Eagles if they trade Reagor than releasing him.
Other teams will be interested in acquiring Reagor. Sources have told Inside The Birds that teams have already called to check on the third-year receiver’s availability.
The optics of having Reagor reporting to OTAs or training camp buried deep down the depth chart wouldn’t be great, for Reagor and for the franchise. They’d be worse if Reagor remained on the roster headed into the season.
Any chance Reagor has at rescuing his career would have to come elsewhere.
Some will say Roseman is too hard-headed to part with an early draft pick, using another underperforming receiver – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – as an example.
The problem with that parallel is that Arcega-Whiteside, as a 2019 second-rounder, was far more cost-efficient to keep around and excelled on special teams.
The 225-pound Arcega-Whiteside even served a small role on the offense, as the interior blocking receiver on run plays from 11 personnel (three wide receiver) formations.
Reagor, who hasn’t even showed enough value in punt return, would serve almost no role for the Eagles, outside of maybe the occasional 10 personnel (four wide receiver) grouping.
Even the stubborn Roseman would have to think hard about turning down a mid-round pick for Reagor given that his offseason moves have already determined the team’s plans to Reagor out of the offense