Among the questions asked about Doug Pederson on Tuesday morning during his press conference was one about how (or if) Alshon Jeffery factors into the coach's plans.

The answer came back, "He’s a big part of our offense."

Pederson went on to state that Jeffery was, "a big part of the process moving forward and he’s a great leader and he’s going to be able to help the young players move along."

Pederson placed some emphasis on how well Alshon has been connecting with and contributing to the development of the young receivers through the virtual offseason program.

For some Eagles fans, the news might come as a shock.

Jeffery has been linked to leaks from inside the locker room criticizing Carson Wentz multiple times and the team has been reportedly been shopping him for months, something that the wide receiver said he wouldn't mind.

The whole scenario, combined with the fact that he is owed a good chunk of money and is still recovering from a season-ending injury all contribute to a scenario where it seemed the two sides would surely part.

The team has publicly maintained that Jeffery is in their future plans, however, so the shock is not too great.

While Coach Pederson did mention that Jeffery's rehab was going well, he also said that, "There's no timetable right now", so the veteran receiver may well start the season on the PUP list.

The Eagles will have some tough decisions to make on roster spots for receivers with DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor and JJ Arcega-Whiteside seemingly being locked in and John Hightower, Marquise Goodwin, Quez Watkins and the encumbant Greg Ward Jr. battling it out for the remainder of roster spots. Maybe the Eagles keep three on the roster with Jeffery on the PUP, but his return will create a roster crunch.

The team hopes that Jeffery can return and play more like he did in 2017, when his 789 and nine touchdowns helped an offensive juggernaut to the top seed in the NFC and eventually the Super Bowl.

Jeffery wasn't bad in 2018 though, adding another 843 yards and six touchdowns in just 13 games.

What the Eagles cannot afford is for Jeffery to take up a roster spot and then play in just half of their games while only being effective in about half of the games he actually played in like he did in 2019.

Jeffery being the leader for the young corps of receivers does seem a bit risky given the accusations against him, but it seems to have helped him secure a spot on the Eagles roster for at least one more season.

Paul Bowman is an Eagles contributor for 97.3 ESPN and Eagles editor for Follow him on Twitter @PhillyBallPaul.

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