Eagles Goal with Agholor is Re-Worked Deal, Not Trade
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - On one hand you had Doug Pederson breaking out the effusive praise for Nelson Agholor in Indianapolis on Wednesday yet shortly thereafter CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora dropped the news that the Eagles are "open to trading" the former first-round pick.
Welcome to the league's silly season, one in which former NFL executive and current Villanova prof Andrew Brandt perfectly analyzed from a managemnet persepctive by noting NFL brass generally hit the podium in the Heartland with this sentiment: "I'm here answering your questions, but I'm not going to tell you anything."
So ask yourself why Pederson did tell you quite a bit about Agholor, the soon-to-be fifth-year receiver who has never cracked 800 yards in a season but is set to cash in on his fifth-year rookie option of $9.4 million if nothing changes?
“Nelson? Oh, yeah, man, love this guy. He’s the first one in, last one out. Can’t say enough good things about Nelson Agholor and what he’s brought in the table and what he will continue to bring," the coach gushed when Agholor was brought up.
What we do know is Philadelphia needs to make some changes in the receiving corps and of the contributors from last season only Alshon Jeffery is assured of being back in 2019 with Golden Tate, Mike Wallace and Jordan Matthews set to be free agents on March 13 and Agholor's contract muddying his waters.
Tate has already gotten the message and is looking for other suitors while Wallace is perceived to be one-and-done in Philadelphia after an injury-plagued season. Matthews, meanwhile, is well-liked by both Carson Wentz and the organization but would only return as a role player on a team-friendly deal late in the process.
As for Agholor, the Eagles certainly like him as a player but envision him returning to the slot role and certainly don't want to pay him the heavy cost of the fifth-year option.
Fans may believe Mack Hollins remains relevant in this conversation but he's now a bubble player as are Shelton Gibson and former practice-squad players and futures prospects like Braxton Miller, Dorren Miller, Johnny Holton, Marken Michel and Carlton Agudosi.
The logical path forward is Jeffery as the WR1, Agholor back to the slot with a re-worked deal, and a deep threat garnered from outside the organization either in free agency or the draft but the Eagles will be "open" to anything.
"I think last year, you look at the amount of guys we had, and of course we added Golden [Tate] midseason. Listen, I’m not going to stand up here and say it didn’t affect Nelson, because I think it did," Pederson said. "The question was asked earlier about trying to get everyone the ball, and it’s a challenge when you break down a game. Nelson didn’t complain, he came to work every single day, he put in the time, he put in the work, and it was a huge part of what we did, and getting us into the Divisional Round this year. I’m excited, I love working with him and I think there’s great things ahead.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen