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June 14, 2024

5 Eagles thoughts: A.J. Brown's Hall of Fame trajectory, the quarterback market and more

A.J. Brown is on an early career path that, statistically, draws comparisons to all-time greats like Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald.

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AJ Brown Eagles Hall of Fame Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

Will A.J. Brown find himself in Canton one day?

Before the weekend kicks off, here are five Eagles thoughts currently on my mind...

A.J. Brown's Hall of Fame path

Terrell Owens had been the gold standard of wide receiver play in Philadelphia after his magical 2004 season. Two years into his Eagles career, however, A.J. Brown has cemented himself as one of the game's greats and, statistically, is leaping over what Owens did.

Let's look at Brown's two Eagles seasons and Owens' 2004:

PlayerYear RecYdsTDs

What had always stood out to me about Owens was how well he played in Super Bowl XXXIX while battling through injury, going for nine catches and 122 yards in that three-point loss to New England. Brown had his own elite Super Bowl performance two years ago in a loss as well, with six catches, 96 yards and an electric TD grab:

Forget about Eagles history for a moment. Brown is on an overall Hall of Fame trajectory. Sure, this is an era where there appear to be more great receivers than ever, but Brown's numbers speak volumes.

In five pro seasons, Brown has accumulated 5,947 receiving yards on 379 catches with 42 receiving touchdowns. He's just one of four players who've accomplished that in his first five years in NFL history, joining Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald and A.J. Green (via Stathead). Moss is a top-two wideout ever, Fitzgerald is firmly in the top 10 and Green's career is probably underrated in retrospect.

Don't start planning some trip to Canton in the late 2030s just yet, but, Lane Johnson aside, Brown is the one Eagle with the best shot at putting a gold jacket on one day.

Isaiah Rodgers looks like a legitimate starting cornerback

The most impressive player in Eagles OTAs and minicamp this year, relative to expectations, is cornerback Isaiah Rodgers. There's only so much that can be gleaned from 7-on-7 ball, but it's a drill system that showcases receiver and corner play the most. He's been good!

The assumption may have been that first-round rookie cornerback Quinyon Mitchell would walk into a role as CB2 opposite Darius Slay. Not so fast! Mitchell and fellow rookie Cooper DeJean have looked the part, but Rodgers, as a vet, has looked better so far. Kelee Ringo is making noise for that CB2 spot, too.

For a team with such a horrific pass defense in 2023, almost having too much cornerback depth is a welcomed development. 

Doug Pederson has a new quarterback on a gigantic contract

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is inking a five-year contract extension worth up to $275 million.

That's quite a lot for a QB who hasn't accomplished much at the NFL level.

His playoff history is a mixed bag. He threw four touchdowns in Jacksonville's historic comeback over the Chargers in the 2022 Wild Card round, but threw four picks in that game, which necessitated the all-time comeback to begin with. He then averaged under six yards per pass attempt in a very winnable game against Kansas City the next round that the Jags lost.

Based on pre-draft pedigree, Lawrence was billed as the next in line of the John Elways, Peyton Mannings and Andrew Lucks. He hasn't been any of those guys in the pros. His numbers are closer to Gardner Minshew than what Luck did early on in this modern football era.

Pederson, who guided the Eagles to the most impressive Super Bowl win of the 21st century, is likely in a make-or-break year in Jacksonville. The pessimistic viewpoint is that Lawrence feels closer to 2019 Carson Wentz coming off a huge extension who's closer to a fringe top-10 quarterback rather than a top-tier signal-caller.

Pederson will always be an important figure in Eagles lore, but working with Lawrence -- who hasn't lived up to his promise at all -- could spell doom for his future as an NFL head coach.

Howie Roseman gets his deals done early

Banking off the Lawrence topic, that monster contract showcases why Roseman was wise to get Jalen Hurts' new contract done as soon as possible even with his slight regression in 2023.

The market just escalates and escalates.

The Cowboys are paying Dak Prescott more than $55 million this year. Prescott is a great QB, better than the average Eagles fan would like to admit, but isn't such a singular talent that he can carry a squad to the Super Bowl on his own. He's great, but not quite great enough. Dallas will likely lose him for nothing next offseason, not wanting to go north of $60 million annually for him. The Cowboys really should've explored trading him this offseason, amicably working with Prescott to waive his no-trade clause and find a desirable locale for all parties.

Dallas will now likely lose Dallas for nothing next offseason. They'll be too good to have a high enough pick to land one of the best college QBs in the 2025 NFL Draft as well. Being "stuck" at 12 wins is a place most fan bases dream of being, but it's such a hilarious proposition from the outside for the Cowboys where they're good enough to dominate the news cycle 365 days per year, but not good enough to actually hoist the Lombardi Trophy in the post-VCR era.

That trickles down to Roseman's deals for Jordan Mailata, Brown and DeVonta Smith, as well. Roseman has locked an ultra-talented core into place. It's now on the coaching staff to maximize them and for the players to lay it all out.

Nick Foles' place in Eagles history

Hey, it's a Friday in June with little going on in the Eagles' world. It's a time for daydreaming about football. Nick Foles time? Nick Foles time.

Foles, the only Super Bowl MVP in franchise history, holds numerous statistical benchmarks for the team.

Most passing yards in a game? Foles.

Most touchdown passes in a game? Foles.

Highest passer rating in a game? Foles, tied with Donovan McNabb with a perfect rating of 158.3.

Highest career passer rating in an Eagles uniform (minimum 200 attempts)? Foles.

Foles remains unsigned as a free agent this offseason and it feels quite doubtful that he'll catch on elsewhere as a backup. He sat out the entire 2023 season, but has yet to officially retire. Foles' NFL career is pretty much ever. Throw that one-day contract in front of him to have Foles retire in midnight green.

Then you can plan to retire No. 9...

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