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Eagles Fill Two Needs, Giving Carson Wentz Two New Weapons

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz will have some new toys to play with in 2017. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The NFL free agency opened with a bang for the Eagles, giving Carson Wentz a pair of new toys on the NFL’s first day of the new year.

First Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas, who was formerly with in Baltimore and Chicago, went out and signed a pair of prove it deals.

First inking speedster Torrey Smith, formerly of the Ravens and more recently the 49ers, to a team friendly, three-year, $15-million contract that is essentially a one-year deal with $5 million options each of the next two seasons.

“I know he had a terrible season last year,” NFL insider KC Joyner admitted on The Sports Bash on Tuesday.

San Francisco 49ers v Buffalo Bills
Torrey Smith provides the speed the Eagles were desperately lacking in 2016.

“That had a lot to do with that offense in San Francisco and he got injured. Assuming he’s healthy, this guy ranked second in the league in yards per catch in 2015, second in the league. He’s still that good and that’s all he does is run nine-routes.  He doesn’t do much of anything else, he’s only a nine-route guy.”

I’m predicting a huge year for him.

Adding Smith was nice for a bargain-basement price, but the next move maybe tied the wide receiving core together, landing maybe the most prized free agent wide out on the market – signing former Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to a one-year, $14 million contract. The 6-foot-3 playmaker had back-to-back 80+ catch, 1000+ yard seasons before injuries and suspension derailed his totals the past two years.

“He’s an all-around receiver,” Joyner explained. “But when you look around at his metrics, you don’t see any elite areas, where this guy is just great at doing one particular thing. He’s a guy who also has some wear-and-tear on him, at 27-years old.”

The one thing about Jeffery that you do have to like, his his size and ability to go get the ball. He is the kind of wide receiver that you don’t have to throw a perfect pass to, and he can still make the catch.  However, as I cautioned on The Sports Bash, while I love his talent, he is the kind of player I can envision Philly fans becoming very frustrated with. Jeffery has a history of nagging injuries, and even missed four games last season due to a PED suspension.

Taking the injury history, other risks and production all into account, and you have to like the move from the contract stand-point. The Eagles took a flyer on a potentially great player for one-season. In the event that he his hurt, gets into trouble or isn’t productive – you move on and look for someone else.

But as a player alone, Jeffery is exactly the player Carson Wentz needed, a sure-handed, big-target, that can help turn some of his incompletions into completed passes.

These two moves should help two incumbent players, both Wentz’s and Jordan Matthews should prosper from these additions. Adding a speed guy to the outside should free some room for Matthews to roam underneath in the slot, and having Jeffery on the other side will take away the double teams, meaning Matthews and Zach Ertz should have plenty of room to roam in 2017.

But don’t rule out moving Matthews at the draft.

In a scenario where either Mike Williams of Clemson,  Corey Davis of Western Michigan and John Ross of Washington are on the board when pick No. 14 comes around, don’t be surprised if the Eagles are tempted to go that route, while moving on from the free-agent to be, Matthews and adding more picks for later in the draft.

My dream scenario for the Eagles would be one of those three mentioned receivers at No. 14, followed by corner, corner, corner in rounds two, three and four.

That possibility became a reality based on the two moves the Eagles were able to make on the first day of free agency.

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