• September 27, 2022

Eagles 2012 Wide Receiver Situation Hinges On DeSean Jackson Decision

The Eagles will face a series of decisions as soon as head coach Andy Reid returns from his vacation. One of the first orders of business will be the contract situation involving wide receiver DeSean Jackson. If they decide to let him test the free agent waters, where he will surely get a lot of interest, his void will need to be filled. If he is resigned, there is still some areas of concern in the Eagles receiving corps.

Jackson’s status with the Philadelphia Eagles is unknown. So, as fans, the Eagles faithful must start to look at a life without him. Luckily, this is a good season to fill a void at wide receiver in free agency. Three big-bodied receivers will hit the market, all of which could potentially fit the Eagles offense.

Vincent Jackson will become an unrestricted free agent on March 13th at 4:00 PM. He will certainly generate a lot of interest and his phone will be ringing off the hook on that Tuesday afternoon. After receiving the franchise tag from the San Diego Chargers for the 2011 season, Jackson produced over 1,000 yards for the third time in his career and caught nine touchdown passes.

Vincent stands 6’5” tall and weighs in at a strong 230 pounds, which will make him the tallest receiver on the team, an inch taller than Brent Celek. With the size that Jackson possesses, he is a aserious red zone threat. Four of his nine touchdowns of the season came in the redzone, three of them being five yards or less. LeSean McCoy became the Eagles go-to guy in short yardage, goal line situations but having a receiver to throw it to would be a good addition to the playbook.

Marques Colston of the New Orleans Saints is another option the Eagles could pursue. One of Drew Brees’ favorite targets, Colston caught 80 balls this season for more than 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns. The 6’4” Harrisburg native also caught four redzone touchdowns from Drew Brees. With Jimmy Graham having his breakout season, the Saints may look to keep him as the focal point of their offense and move on without giving Colston the hefty contract he so deserves.

Reggie Wayne is entering his 12th NFL season and has only played for the Indianapolis Colts for his first 11 seasons. After seven consecutive 1,000 yard receiving seasons, without Peyton Manning, Wayne fell 40 yards short of his eighth straight 1,000 yard season. Wayne has the exact frame as Jeremy Maclin but plays like a 6’5” receiver in a 6’0” body. The former Miami Hurricane can fight for any ball that is put in his general vicinity, a feat that was rare in a season that had Kerry Collins, Dan Orlovsky, and Curtis Painter as his starting quarterbacks.

Clearly, all of these receivers will be looking for big contracts. Other big receivers that are set to hit the market like Braylon Edwards, Plaxico Burress, and Maurice Stovall will provide size for a much smaller price. With a smaller price, though, comes less production.

If the Eagles do decide to let DeSean walk, Alabama receiver Marquis Maze could be available in the later rounds of the draft to keep a speedy receiver on the field. Maze, who injured his hamstring in the BCS Championship Game, is 5’10” 182 pounds. He returns punts and kicks and has a 4.42 40-yard dash speed. While DeSean ran a 4.35 officially at the NFL Combine, Maze is one of the fastest receivers to be entering the draft this year.

On January 5th, the Eagles signed receiver Mardy Gilyard, who was drafted in 2010 by the St. Louis Rams. Gilyard was a 2009 All-American after having almost 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Cincinnati Bearcats. Gilyard, who was a two-time All-American at kick returner, will be a name to watch when training camp comes around. Maybe the Birds have already found their answer at kick returner for next season.

What may seem too good to be true, the possibility of keeping Jackson and getting a big redzone threat, is entirely possible, and for a cheap price. Assuming that the Eagles fill needs at safety and linebacker in the early rounds, there are some options to draft a big receiver in the middle rounds of April’s draft.

At 6’3”, Wisconsin receiver Nick Toon could be had in the third round. Toon caught nine touchdowns in an offense that relies heavily on the run. On many occasions, Toon was relied on to block for the running back and he did so very well.

Standing one inch taller than Toon is LSU receiver Rueben Randle. Randle is a big redzone threat and is projected to be drafted in the late second or early third round of the draft. With two picks in the second round and a pick in the third, the Eagles have the chance to fill that void halfway through the draft.

Tommy Streeter, Miami’s number one receiver of 2011 stands 6’5”. Streeter is a big play threat and can catch the 50-yard bomb or the 5-yard fade. One negative on Streeter is that he could possibly be a one year wonder. As a freshman, Streeter only caught four passes and in 2010 as a sophomore he only caught one pass for a touchdown. Breaking out in his junior season of 2011, Streeter had 46 catches for 811 yards, but played consistently well.

All three of these receivers, expected to be available in the middle rounds of the draft, are eligible for another season of football at their respective schools. If all three choose to enter the draft, the Eagles will be in a gold mine of potential draft picks. If all three choose to return to school, the Eagles may have to look towards free agency to get their need of a big receiver.

What the Eagles receiving corps looks like next year will rely heavily on what DeSean Jackson’s future status with the team will be. That being said, expect Jackson’s new contract situation to be figured out early in the offseason, if there is a new contract situation, that is.

Brenden Peddigree

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January 16, 2012 7:40 am

The Eagles always lock up young talent that they want.

They would have locked up Jackson if that wanted him.

Most players have a career year when they know they are about to enter free agency.

Jackson was garbage.

He now runs backwards and sideways on every punt return.

People have figured him out. Rough him up and he’s done for the day.

Mr. Softy Maclin looks for a comfy blade of grass to fall down on also.

The Chicago bears scouting report on the Eagles was that they had the fastest and softest wr’s in the league.

All of it is a mute point anyway.

If you gave “Self Destruct” Andy Larry Fitsgerald he would he would have a revelation and make Jason Avant the number 1 WR. Almost as dumb as not running Shady McCoy when you have a 4th quarter lead.

I can’t wait to see the doosie that Andy is going to lay on the philadelphia fans at this years draft. It will have to top hiring a sorry offensive line coach to be a defensive coordinator, but I have faith in Big Red.

After all he did draft a run blocking AARP offensive lineman for a passing team.

January 16, 2012 7:44 am

An under the radar Receiver in the Draft is Brian Quick a 3 year Starter at
Applachian State University where he broke many reciving Records in catches,yeards and Td..s He’s 6-4 225 lbs and runs a 4.55 or so.. Pretty much a straight down the field Reciever (like Plax Burress/B Edwards type) and need to workd in and out of his break and route running but with good Coaching could be a steal in the late3rd/4th Round or so..
Another one to look for is Joe Adams from Arkansas who at 5-11 190lbs run a 4.38 time and is also an excellent Return man who ran 4-5 Punt returns for TD’s in his career while playing ni the tough SEC. He would make a great full-time Return man plus a 4th/5th WR and could even run some end-arounds like the Eagles have done with D-Jax.. Should be on the board come 4th Round and the Eagles have 2 4th Round Selections (1 from TB Bucs and their own)
As far as Free-Agents, I see other big Recivers like D Bowe, Steve Johnson and Robert Meachem..
I like the combo of a Robert Meachem and one of these 2 in the Draft that mentioned (Quick or Adams) from the Draft to more than make up for D-Jax’s production..

January 16, 2012 12:40 pm

I could see them inking Jax and using there 2nd or 3rd pick on a bigbody wide-out. Like the Toon kid,he would push Cooper.

January 16, 2012 12:52 pm

Reggie Wayne is too old & on the downside, & isn’t a better option than D-Jax.
These are my preferences- V-Jax, Bowe, Colston, Johnson, Wallace, Meachum.

January 16, 2012 1:30 pm

V-Jax,Bowe,Colston will command more $$$ that the Eagles will be willing to spend for the WR psotions .
Robert Meachem, Steve Johnson or even a short-term player like Braylon Edwards plus a Draft seletion in the 3rd/4th Round for a WR will make up for lost production with D-JAx leaving..
remember the Eagles signed Returnman/WR Mardy Gilyard who can handle the Punts/Kick-offs and could be that 5th WR who plays 10-15 snaps a game and runs the straight deep route and maybe runs a reverse or 2 .. This Gilyard was pretty darn good for 3 Season at the Univesisty of Cininnati with over 3,000 Yards in receiving and 25 Career TD’s almost 200 Pass receptions.

January 16, 2012 1:38 pm

Paulman, If I was the eagles I would pay Bowe in a heartbeat. Its funny when Eagles fans want to let Djax go because he can be an ass and because he can miss games and then want us to go after V-Jax. This guy makes Djax look like a girl scout and is 10X more injury prone..again its not all about size. some guys are just fragile and I think Vjax is.
Coston doesnt have the attitude but gets hurt just as much. further, who knows how good he is when he is not in that Saints offensive system with Brees putting balls on the spot for him.

If they don’t plan on having DJax here next year they better have a solid plan for his departure. I could easily see this FO feeding us Riley Cooper/Avant as capable replacements…and then it blowing up in their face when Vick looks even more terrible, shady gets boxed up, and Maclins numbers drop.

January 16, 2012 4:46 pm

i liek desean but vincent jackson and dwayne bowe are beasts and i have a hard time choosing between them .. I wish we could get either dwayne bowe or vincent jackson still keep desean jackosn and trade maclin but that cant happen i guess..or keep jackson and draft a big wide reciever the only thing holding the eagles back is size.. on both sides of the ball

January 16, 2012 5:26 pm

I think the Chiefs keep Bowe even if they have to Franchise him
V-Jax defintely bolts the Chargers, but probably stays out on the West Coast
Saints Re-Sign Colston but not Robert Meachem..

January 16, 2012 5:49 pm

Yeah lets get some project in the 3rd or 4th round and hope he is good. Yeah thats the ticket. While he is developing Riley Cooper can open up the field for everyone. Brian Westbrook was just on DNL and said if the Eagles let DJax walk and dont replace him with a stud recievr expect Vick, McCoy. Maclin and Celek to struggle. Westbrook said only in Philly do they want to get rid of young talent. Only in Philly. lol

January 17, 2012 1:14 am

Keeping DeSean Jackson and signing VIncent Jackson is doable and it’s the better option for a team that’s focussed on winning a Superbowl. Alternatively, I believe Pierre Garcon will be a free agent this off-season and in many ways I look at him as a running back playing WR. Would love to see that dude in midnight green.

January 17, 2012 1:16 am

More than a Running back playing WR I tend to see Garcon as a Lesean McCoy at WR.

January 17, 2012 2:28 am

To Butch.. Did you hit your head or something???
How is it possible for the Eagles to keep/sign D-Jax and then Sign WR V Jackson…Are the Eagles going to commit $20 Million for these 2 Players to play WR in 2012.. Which players are you then going to cut to open up this kind of $$$ and don’t forget, everyone wants to add a Free-agent LB/Safety and maybe a FB and Back-up QB…
I will agree with you about Pierre Garcon..I do think the Colts end up Franchising him and keep him while letting Reggie Wayne walk

January 17, 2012 2:50 am

Paul, I was thinking the same thing. I think he might have been half asleep, when he posted it! LMFBO!!!!

January 19, 2012 11:33 am

Re-signing Jackson is the Eagles’ best bet to move forward from 8-8 next season… we have seen, over the dozen-plus years of Andy Reid’s tenure, how it takes rookie wide receivers 2-3 years to learn Reid’s offense. Drafting a rookie in 2012 with an eye toward starting him makes no sense. If you think that the rookie can be the 3rd or 4th wideout while learning his routes, and how to block downfield, etc., that’s fine — but then who starts opposite Jeremy Maclin? Jason Avant is at his best in the slot, we have seen this. Riley Cooper has size, but didn’t make it onto the field in Maclin or Jackson’s absence in the past, so I assume Reid doesn’t think he can be a starter.

So we either sign a free agent, who will cost MORE than DeSean Jackson (see also: Vincent Jackson’s salary), or keep the guy who knows the offense, makes big plays, and is already here (and who is younger than the aforementioned free agents, as well).