Ask ITB: New WR For Carson Coming?
With the first week of NFL free agency in the books, we take an inside look at your questions…
From Twitter: @KJbrophy (Kenny): “With the NFL not suspending players for weed anymore what do you think about the Eagles possibly signing Josh Gordon?”
Adam Caplan: Eagles have an interesting history when it comes to Gordon.
The Cleveland Browns tried to trade him to the Eagles back, I believe, in 2014, but they had no interest simply because of his off-the-field history. The Browns thought they had a deal with the San Francisco 49ers that year, but Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, I believe, nixed it.
The problem with Gordon is not just the marijuana issue, but he has a history of not being on time for every practice and meetings.
A former Browns assistant coach told me that one of his jobs with the team was to pick up Gordon in the morning to make sure he showed up to practice on time.
Gordon is a terrific talent, no question, but can’t be counted upon.
We wish him well, but I don’t see the Eagles going in his direction or even a consideration. He’s actually a good teammate in terms of being supportive from what I’ve been told about him, but you just can’t count on him.
As we’ve noted on previous ITB shows, the Eagles want to add WRs in this draft that will play with Carson Wentz for years to come. They want guys who they can count on in every way.
From Twitter: @JustinKennedy87: “I know you previously said you don’t see Eagles going after Robby Anderson but market hasn’t seemed to pick up for him, you hearing anything?”
Adam Caplan: What we reported at the combine still holds true: They want to grow the WR position with their own players (think draft) and not someone else’s.
They want them to develop a strong relationship with Carson Wentz. Kind of guys who will travel to work out with him in future years. Guys who don’t take shots at him behind his back. You get my drift, I’m sure.
Eagles have had interest in him in past years, but based on what I was told last month, it sure seemed (and still does) that they want to go with their own players for the future.
Now, as you said, Anderson’s market has not been what he was expecting, but from talking to a Jets source, they really want him back. He developed really good chemistry and a good working relationship with QB Sam Darnold.
Now, as it goes around the NFL, everyone is a great value at a significantly reduced price, so I never say never…
From Twitter: @owlhero1: “Hey what about S Eric Reid for the eagles. Does his style match up with our D?”
Adam Caplan: Reid isn’t exactly young (turns 29 in December/just a little bit younger than Darius Slay, BTW), but you have to figure he has 2-3 good years left in him.
But with them spending like they have so far (they’ve made their big money signings–Slay and Javon Hargrave) and some minor money signings, I don’t see them going in his direction.
One of their starting safeties, Rodney McLeod, turns 30 in June, so the feeling here is that they would like to spend 1 pick on a safety in this draft and use Will Parks and Jalen Mills in the mix overall at the position.
InsideTheBirds.com submission: From CJ: “Wanted to know if the Eagles were going to be bringing a back similar to LeGarrette Blount & Jordan Howard? Seems they have found success with that.”
Adam Caplan: Great question, you’re 100% correct, and one we’ve thought about. A few guys with some size remain in free agency, but I don’t see them spending a draft pick on a guy who won’t be a big factor:
Ty Montgomery, Peyton Barber would fit as they have size and can catch the ball, but they aren’t true power backs. We reported weeks ago that Corey Clement probably wouldn’t be back and we felt they wouldn’t tender him as an RFA, which they didn’t wind up doing. It’s a shame that he spent the last 2 seasons on IR. He would be a perfect fit for that power role and he can catch the ball.
But the true power backs like you listed aren’t around. Eagles did have some passing interest a few years ago at the trade deadline in LeSean McCoy, but they didn’t want to give up anything but a late round pick.
InsideTheBirds.com submission: From Ray Cunningham: “Now that (Eagles GM) Howie (Roseman) traded for Darius Slay and signed him to a 3-year extension can we except Howie to sign more free agents now or make another trade to improve the team before the draft.”
Adam Caplan: Ray, I don’t see them doing much more in free agency.
They got Javon Hargrave, who was a priority for the DT rotation they want to have (more on him during future ITB shows), S Will Parks, who was someone they were targeting from the beginning. They could use, and probably will eventually add a swing OT/G, potentially a veteran QB for depth/competition.
I never say never to anything (surprises could always happen), but mostly everything I heard was in the works either has happened or a deal didn’t wind up happening (see Byron Jones, as we explained why in our 3/19 show) due to 1 or 2 reasons.
InsideTheBirds.com submission: “Would they consider trading on of their tight ends to move up to say number ten in draft along with number 21. To pick up one of the top wide receivers.”
Adam Caplan: My sense is, and we talk about this on Monday’s show (3/23), how long they’ve waited to get Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert on the field at the same time for their “12 personnel” sets.
We saw that once Goedert got over his lingering calf injury from late July (didn’t heal until mid season after a few setbacks), he became a big factor. As Ertz said once (paraphrasing) they added DeSean Jackson, “how are you going to cover us?” Outside speed opens everything open underneath. See the opening game last year vs. Washington Redskins.
They must get speed at WR for the future and this is the draft to do it. There are no excuses. What Wentz had to deal with last season can’t happen again. We can’t just blame injuries as the convenient excuse. It was a factor, but depth at that position was a major issue all season.
They’ll target a bunch of WRs at 21 who will come in and be a factor right away.
Stay tuned to our show in the coming weeks on the WR draft class, as we’ll have great intel on all of them.
InsideTheBirds.com submission: “Do the recent WR free-agent signings increase the Eagles chances of landing one of the top WR’s in the draft?”
Adam Caplan: As of Monday AM, there are still a few good ones left (Robby Anderson and Breshad Perriman--we explain what’s going on with them in 3/23 ITB show), but again, as we’ve outlined since our NFL Combine show, they weren’t inclined to get involved WR; they want to go with their own draftees. They were not interested in signing Amari Cooper this time around (they offered Raiders a 2nd 2 years ago).
InsideTheBirds.com submission: “If you can’t trade up to get 1 of the top 3 WRs, would you look for a CB or another position in Rd 1 or trade back and then grab a WR in Rd 2?”
Adam Caplan: I don’t get the sense, and I could wind up being wrong, that they are going to trade up unless 1 of the top-3 drops significantly, and quite frankly, we need to do more work on CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs III. We need to know: are they can’t miss like their reputation would suggest?
I see it, and Geoff Mosher and I discuss this in the 3.23 ITB, as WR (1st), CB (2nd), CB or S (3rd). They’ll select at least 2 WRs in this draft. There’s simply no way they don’t go with a WR at #21 and even if they trade back later in first, they’ll go with WR. There’s a drop-off. We’ll explain more in future shows.
Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) is a veteran NFL Insider and former ESPN NFL Insider and is currently a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
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