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March 01, 2017

What they’re saying: Carson Wentz has made the Eagles a free-agent destination

Eagles NFL

As the entire league gathers this week in Indianapolis for the 2017 NFL Combine, free agency is also right around the corner on March 9th. During both events, the Eagles are going to be rumored and linked with a number of wide receivers, a major position of need. News at 11.

The Birds receiving corps was the worst in the NFL in 2016, so there’s nowhere to go but up. The good news, according to a report from ESPN’s Tim McManus, is that potential free-agent receivers are specifically intrigued with the idea of catching footballs from Carson Wentz:

Carson Wentz's name keeps coming up. Speaking with league insiders in preparation for the start of free agency (March 9, 4 p.m.), it has become clear that there are several free-agent wide receivers drawn to the idea of playing for the Philadelphia Eagles because of Wentz, the second-year quarterback out of North Dakota State.

If true, that would be great news for the Eagles. Head on over to our detailed Eagles rumor and report tracker, and you can see that wide receiver is by far the most represented position. Names like Alshon Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Stills, and Torrey Smith have all been linked to the Eagles in one way or another.

Wentz had his ups and downs throughout his rookie season, but the ups were pretty good. And if free agents subscribe to the theory (every Eagles fan’s theory, specifically) that they can do much better than the Birds’ pass catchers last season, then you can see why they would want to play with Wentz and try to improve on the Eagles’ 7-9 record in 2017.

I mean, wouldn’t you want to have a cool celebration handshake?

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice

1. As the 2017 NFL Combine gets underway, catch our preview series: quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, centers, guards, tackles, and defensive end prospects

2. The Eagles gave up a lot of draft picks in the Wentz trade, but they got a little bit more than their QB of the future: Philadelphia will also receive a fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

3. There have also been some rumors and speculation about Jeremy Maclin getting cut by Kansas City. In the latest mailbag, Jimmy wrote he doesn’t believe that the move would make any sense for Andy Reid and the Chiefs, though.

Other Eagles news, notes and analysis from around the web:

The NFL Offseason Capital Rankings: Danny Kelly, The Ringer

Cool concept by Kelly here, combining the two major avenues for player acquisition in the NFL that we discussed above (draft, free agency). The Eagles rank 22nd in 2017 NFL capital mostly due to the 30th-most salary cap space.

As for the other NFC East teams, Washington (9th) and the Giants (21st are ahead of the Birds. Dallas is bringing up the rear in the entire NFL, ranking 32nd in capital. That could make the division race a bit more interesting next season:

The Eagles don’t have a ton of wiggle room given their cap space, but with just two starters (defensive tackle Bennie Logan and cornerback Nolan Carroll) hitting free agency, they don’t have to do a ton of contract gymnastics to hold on to a defense that finished last season fourth in DVOA. Philly can make its most noise in the draft: The Eagles hold eight picks, including no. 15 overall, where they could land a playmaking (and reliable) receiver like Corey Davis or John Ross or add a three-down back like Leonard Fournette.

2017 NFL Draft: Mayock's potential team fits for prospects: Chase Goodbread,

If you were on Twitter at all Tuesday afternoon, chances are you saw the news that it was Mike Mayock Marathon Conference Call Day. I love Mike Mayock Marathon Conference Call Day! And the NFL Draft expert brought up some of the names (Corey Davis, Mike Williams) that are going to rumored to the Eagles due to the positional need:

The first round should offer three good possibilities at wide receiver -- Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis, and Washington's John Ross -- and Mayock believes they could all be taken in the range of 10-20. Sitting squarely in the midst of that range are the Eagles, who have a need at the position and, if they want a receiver there, a style choice to make between the three. "Ross is intrigiung to me from the Eagles' perspective. He's the best vertical threat in the draft, and they desperately need speed. ... Williams creates his own space. I think he welcomes press coverage. In terms of red-zone scoring production, he's best because of his catch radius and physicality. All three bring different things to the table." If the Eagles don't go for a receiver at No. 14, watch for Washington CB Sidney Jones, per Mayock.

Bennie Logan: Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz

Logan is clearly the Eagles’ top free agent, and Lawlor discussed the idea of bringing their second defensive tackle back for the 2017 season. One name that he brought up if Logan does prove too pricy is the Giants’ Johnathan Hankins:

If Logan does walk, Hankins would be a player of interest for me. He had 7 sacks back in 2014 and we know that Jim Schwartz loves DL who can get to the QB. Hankins isn’t a great player, but he is talented.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann