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February 02, 2020

Mailbag: A look at potential Eagles wide receiver trade targets

Eagles NFL
020220OdellBeckham Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

No, not Odell Beckham.

In our Eagles chat on Friday, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow.

Question from I’m Ron Burgundy???: I know you have mentioned several free agent WR's the Eagles could target, but what do you think about a potential trade for a WR? Any thoughts on which players could be available or how much you'd be willing to give up for one if you were Howie?

The big name this year in the wide receiver trade market, like other years, is Odell Beckham Jr. Back in December, I gave my thoughts on whether or not the Eagles should pursue him in a trade. Spoiler: The answer is no, but the reasoning holds up a few months later so go read that too, thanks. :)

Beckham aside, CBS' Dave Richard put together an initial list of players who could become cap casualties or trade candidates this offseason. The following is his wide receiver menu, with my analysis of whether or not the Eagles should have interest:

Sammy Watkins, Chiefs, 27: He's scheduled to count for $21 million on the cap next season, $14 million of which the Chiefs will save if they cut him. Any team trading for Watkins will acquire his $14 million in salary and workout bonuses. Nobody is trading for him. I do think he makes some sense in free agency at the right price. 

Tyrell Williams, Raiders, 28: The Raiders have to decide by February 5 if they want to keep Williams on the team at $11,100,000 this season, as his salary becomes fully guaranteed at that time, per OverTheCap. The bet here is that they let him go. Williams makes some sense for the Eagles as a downfield threat, as he has had at least 15.3 yards per catch in every season he has been in the league. However, he's more of the big, 50-50 ball variety of receiver, as opposed to a speed demon. The Eagles would probably prefer the latter.

Will Fuller (26) and Kenny Stills (28), Texans: This one is interesting. Fuller has 4.32 speed, and the Texans' offense was notably more potent when he was on the field in 2019. The problem is that he's not durable. Stills has 4.38 speed, and he was productive in 2019 in his first year in the Texans' offense, and is reasonably paid.

The Texans do have some high costs at receiver:

  1. DeAndre Hopkins will count for $14,000,000 on the cap in 2020.
  2. Fuller will count for $10,162,000 on his fifth-year option.
  3. Kenny Stills will count for $7,000,000.

At the same time, they have plenty of cap space. I would just keep all three if I were Houston.

Albert Wilson, Dolphins, 28: Wilson is scheduled to count for $10,833,334 on the cap in 2020, $9,500,000 of which they'll save if they cut him. That is a no-brainer. Doug Pederson coached Wilson for a couple of seasons in KC, so they're some familiarly there. He makes some sense as a slot receiver, but only at a low cost.

Marvin Jones, Lions, 30: Jones will count for $9,195,883 on the cap in 2020, $6,500,000 of which the Lions will save if they cut or trade him. I don't see why the Lions would cut him at that number. I can absolutely see why they would want to get a draft pick in return for him. The Eagles shouldn't have interest in continuing to plug these voids with old guys.

Mohamed Sanu, Patri*ts, 31: What a dumb trade the Patri*ts made for Sanu at the trade deadline. Again, old, no thanks.

On a side note, you know who the worst fans in sports are? The morons who go, "Uh, I think Bill Belichick knows more about football than you," if you ever criticize any Patri*ts front office moves, as happened repeatedly in the replies when we pointed out that the obviously bad Sanu trade was obviously bad back in October.

Marqise Lee, Jaguars, 28: Pass.

Marquise Goodwin, 49ers, 29: Goodwin is one of the fastest players in the NFL, so his skill set fits the Eagles' biggest need, but he has chronic knee issues. If the Niners cut him, and his price is reasonable, I would take a flier on him if I were the Eagles.

Golden Tate, Giants, 32: Lol, no.

And then Richard threw in a couple of players who absolutely won't be cut, but maybe traded, in the Rams' Brandin Cooks and the Vikings' Stefon Diggs. The Rams are stuck with Cooks. I don't see that, and Diggs would require a steep price, which would be ill-advised in such a deep receiver draft.

So I guess I just went a long way to say that I don't like the looks of the wide receiver trade market, for now. We'll see if some reports emerge of players who can be had in a trade as we continue on with the offseason.

Question from Nate: Any player on the Eagles you think could be surprisingly traded this offseason?

I think the best candidate is Rasul Douglas, who Jim Schwartz clearly does not trust. Avonte Maddox (5'9, 183) started on the outside against the Seahawks in the playoffs, while Douglas (6'2, 209) seemingly would have been a better matchup against the 6'4, 229-pound DK Metcalf. At this point in his career on the Eagles' roster, Douglas is a backup corner, and only on the outside. 

He does have some ball skills and is a physical tackler, so I could see other teams around the league having mild interest in him (7th round pick?) if they think he can fit their scheme.

Beyond Douglas, Sidney Jones perhaps makes some sense, if another team out there really liked him as a prospect a few years ago. He could really use a fresh start, but the guess here is that the Eagles aren't quite ready to give up on him yet, given the draft and development capital they've invested in him.

And then there's Malcolm Jenkins, who the team was reportedly open to trading prior to the 2017 season. As you already know, Jenkins made it clear that he's not playing this season on his current deal, so if he and the Eagles cannot work something out, perhaps the Eagles would allow Jenkins and his agent to seek a deal (as well as acceptable trade compensation) from another team.

Question from Press T: What should we make of the lack of coaching hires so far? People don't want the job (unattractive with Doug calling plays) or they are waiting to get someone from KC or SF?

At this point, they're the only team left that has not yet filled their offensive coordinator vacancy, so what's the rush? There's no other competition. It can't hurt to wait until after the Super Bowl to at least talk to Chiefs and/or 49ers assistants, even if you already have another hire in mind.

Question from John: How do you choose the players for your Grocery Shopping series?

It's not super-complicated, but it is time consuming. I have an idea in my head of the players the Eagles seem to target at each position, and of course, I have my thoughts on which positions will be need areas either in the short term or the long term. 

Some players are obvious, just from casually watching the games on Saturday, but they make up a small percentage of the ones we profile. Like, maybe 20 percent?

The rest I'll find on various draft prospect sites, ideally ones that go at least 20-30 deep at each position. I'll watch players in game cut-ups, if available, to see what I like and don't like about them, and whether their positive traits fit the Eagles' scheme/preferences. In the posts themselves, I usually only show highlight reels, to appeal to a wider audience.

To expand on your question, I would say that each player takes around 30 minutes to an hour, and obviously, I won't profile some if I watch them and conclude that they aren't a fit. 

Those posts do terrible traffic numbers. From my perspective, they're probably the most inefficient posts I write, in terms of time spent vs. number of readers. A few years ago, five or so other Philly media outlets started doing the same types of posts each Saturday, and I remember thinking that they'd quit on them pretty quickly once they realized how badly they do, lol. 

For me, the value of those posts isn't publishing them each Saturday during the season. The value to me comes later, during draft season, when I at least have some idea about most players, and throughout those players' careers. I'm certainly not a scout or anything, but if I get asked a question about some Day 3 safety, it's nice to be able to answer it without sounding like a complete moron.

Question from Foment Agitation: We're getting into a pretty strongly-worded back and forth in the comment section on the podcast article about tattoos. So, any ink, Lord Jimmy? And any opinion about whether ink can enhance an already attractive person, or whether it absolutely ruins their appearance?

I think it really works for some people, and doesn't work for others. Personally, I'm not a big tattoo guy. If there were something I really believed in, and I wanted to permanently memorialize that thing on my body, then sure, I'd get that tattoo, but I wouldn't get a visible one just for the sake of getting one. What I think looks good now, I might not like in 10 years.

I do have one tattoo. I used to live in Hoboken, and my roommate's sister and a friend of hers were visiting. The sister/friend were going into Manhattan to get tattoos, and they were staying over that night. I had just met them the morning they arrived, but they asked me if I wanted to go into the city with them. The sister's friend was hot, so, uh, yeah OK, let's go.

We get to the tattoo place, and they both get cold feet. I starting busting their chops for chickening out, so they're essentially like, "Well why don't you get one if you're so tough?"

Uh, because when I woke up this morning, my plans for the day did not involve going into Manhattan and getting a tattoo? But, again, I'll reiterate that the sister's friend was hot, so I decided to prove my manliness. I quickly drew a symbol that looked like a J and K merged together, and had the tattoo artist get to work. I had him put it on the lower side of my heel, where it would not be seen.

It only took like five minutes, and didn't really hurt at all, probably because my skin there was tougher. Still, that pretty much forced the two girls to carry on with getting their tattoos.

Anyway, after a couple of months or so, the bottom half of my tattoo disappeared. Gone. My J/K was no longer a J/K, and looked more like an upside-down bird and a hook, which remains to this day.

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