Howie Roseman has some tough decisions to make this offseason. The future of core pieces like Brandon Graham, Jason Peters, and Jordan Hicks, are up in the air.
While the Eagles can’t keep everyone that is looking for a new contract within the next two seasons, one player they should not let get out of Philadelphia is WR Nelson Agholor.
According to CBS NFL Insider Jason La Confora, the Eagles could be open to a trade involving Agholor if the two sides can’t agree on an extension that would lower the $9.5 million salary cap hit his 5th-year option has on the books.
The Eagles are rumored to be "open" to trading Nelson Agholor https://t.co/Yn9i5ag8jk
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) February 28, 2019
Even if the Eagles can’t lower that number significantly, they cannot afford to lose the former USC Trojan for a number of reasons.
The Eagles will have to spend money at WR regardless
Agholor at $9.5 million is what receivers of his caliber make in the NFL.
For example, Jets WR Quincy Enunwa, 49ers WR Pierre Garcon, Jaguars WR Donte Moncrief, and Packers WR Randall Cobb all are making $9+ million annually.
While Dolphins WR Albert Wilson, Redskins WR Paul Richardson, and Jaguars WR Marqise Lee all make $8+ million a year.
Lets take a look at Agholor’s stats over the past two seasons compared to the others.
2017-2019 Nelson Agholor stats:
126 receptions 1,504 yards 12 touchdowns
Average 2017-2019 stats of other $8+ million receivers:
84 Receptions 1,092 yards 5 touchdowns
Agholor has averaged more receptions, yards, and touchdowns over the past two years than the average of those receivers. If you asked any GM who they would rather have between Agholor and those receivers listed, Agholor would likely be the choice.
This also shows that #2 WR caliber receivers make more on the open market than they likely should. So if the Eagles don’t think Agholor is worth it and suddenly have a serious need at WR, they would likely have to replace Agholor with a free agent that would cost somewhere in the $7-$10 million dollar range anyway.
Receivers like John Brown, Golden Tate, or even Adam Humphries will likely get that money in an open market.
They can elect to draft a receiver but with the way receivers take time to develop, they will need a veteran to compliment Alshon Jeffery.
The roster needs to add youth and speed. Not lose it.
The Eagles core isn’t on its last legs. They also however aren’t the youngest team in the league. At 25 years old, Agholor has a lot of years left to grow with Carson Wentz (26 years old) as a core piece of the offense.
The former 2015 first round pick also offers something the Eagles offense needs to add even more of. Speed. Wentz has the big receivers to throw to and the technician route runners. The only player that has been able to use speed to get down the field on a consistent basis is Agholor.
Agholor had eight receptions of 30+ yards in 2018. He has 14 in the last two years. Unlike some one-dimensional burners, those plays have come off vertical routes on the outside, plays in the slot, play-action, etc.
That is a strength the Eagles need to add more of on top of Agholor. Not lose the deep threat Carson Wentz already has proven chemistry with down the field.
Agholor has gotten better every year
It isn’t fair to “box score scout” when determining Agholor’s value. On multiple occasions in 2018, Agholor was not targeted on potential big plays.
Stop using stats to define a WR.
Inconsistent QB play in 2018 is biggest reason Agholor’s numbers were meh. pic.twitter.com/WJMVCfmK4X
— Tyler Steege (@TSteegeNFL) February 12, 2019
While his career high in receiving yards was the 768 yard mark set in 2017, Agholor raised his reception total in 2018 from 62 to 64, surpassed 700 receiving yards again with 736, and had two more receptions of 30+ yards.
That was all despite Wentz struggling to make plays down the field after suffering a stress fracture in his back, and the addition of Golden Tate that limited Agholor’s role in an offense that already spreads the ball around.The Eagles used Tate in the role Agholor previously filled and the offense suffered because of it.
Pederson spoke about Agholor yesterday at the NFL Combine glowing about the receiver who never let his reduced role deter him.
“Love this guy — first in, last out,” Pederson says of Agholor. Says addition of Tate affected Agholor (negatively) pic.twitter.com/KRrVaR34RG
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) February 27, 2019
Nelson Agholor arguably had the worst start to an NFL career anyone has ever had. Seeing him come from being benched in 2016 to becoming the dangerous, versatile threat he is has been one of the best story lines on the team.
Hopefully the Eagles and Agholor can agree on an extension because the young play-maker is too valuable to lose.
Impact of paying a QB
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast:
Does paying a QB big money hold a team back from contention?
What does history tell us?
Is the concern about paying any player this amount of money or is it about Wentz himself?
Ranking the roster
On today’s Locked on Eagles:
Are the Eagles and Carson Wentz about to get a deal done?
Is Joe Douglas the next Jets GM?
Ranking the Eagles positions from strongest to weakest
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast:
Where do the starting quarterbacks in the NFL belong based on tiers?
Where is Carson Wentz among the other 31 starters?
How many “elite” QBs are there?