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Lombardi Leap: Three More Moves The Eagles Should Make To Catapult Them Further Into Contention

I think that we can all agree that the Philadelphia Eagles have had a stellar offseason.

Howie Roseman has pulled off a dominant April and May. He has made move after move to catapult the team into NFC contention. Moreover, the Eagles have shored up roster deficiencies such as the receiving and linebacking corps, as well as added valuable youth in the aging trenches.

In this article, we take a look at three moves that could further propel the Eagles into an outside chance at the Lombardi Trophy. To be clear, I am not suggesting they will have a high chance. These deals may take their puncher’s chance to one of a dark horse, yet ill-advised, bet.

Without further ado, let’s put on our GM hat and get to it:

Acquiring Jesse Bates III

The Eagles enter the season with a much-improved secondary, thanks to the recent signing of former divisional rival cornerback James Bradberry. The cornerback group is now deep and has a high ceiling.

Superstar Darius Slay mans the outside across from Bradberry. With the contract extension of Avonte Maddox, the slot is taken care of. For depth, the Eagles have a litany of UDFA signings alongside 2021 fourth-round selection, Zech McPhearson, to compete for snaps.

The safety spot is unfortunately not as deep. The Eagles managed to retain Anthony Harris on a one-year deal, who had a solid year this past season. He was an absolute tackling savant, missing only two tackles for the entire campaign. Moreover, he held opposing quarterbacks to a 68.7 passer rating when targeted.

Across from him, the Eagles need certainty. After Rodney McLeod departed for Indianapolis, Philadelphia will turn to incumbents Marcus Epps and K’Von Wallace. They will jostle for the starting spot, which definitely leans toward the former.

The issue is, while Epps was sensational in run support last season, he was a liability in pass coverage, relinquishing an embarrassing 280 yards and two scores on just 28 targets and a passer rating of 117.3 when targeted. The Eagles will hope that a larger sample size shows natural improvement in this metric, as well as development in the offseason.

Alternatively, they can go get a big fish.

Jesse Bates III is an absolute monster. He was rated by his peers as the 90th best player on the Top 100 Players of the 2021 season. He was perhaps his least productive last season yet is still considered an elite safety in the NFL. He had season lows in tackles (88), passes defended (4), and interceptions (one) in 2021. That being said, he is just one year removed from a ridiculous 90.1 overall grade by PFF and having 109 tackles, 15 passes defended, and three interceptions. He received All-Pro Second-Team honors in that season also.

Bates III will be an incredible addition to round out this stout defensive rotation.

Move 2: Sign Julio Jones

Seven 1000-yard seasons. Seven All-Pro seasons. 61 total receiving touchdowns in his career. Over 13,000 receiving yards. Closing in on 1000 career receptions.

With that illustrious resume full of some of the most incredible statistical production of any receiver in history, why in the world is Julio Jones still on the free agent market?

Simply put? Two. Age and Injuries.

The 33-year-old receiver is coming off two seasons that saw him suit up in just 19 total games. Furthermore, his production dipped in those games, totaling 1,250 yards and four touchdowns. While still solid, they clearly show a regression from the perennial Pro Bowler’s early career.

That considered, Jones can provide mentorship to a young wide receiving corps that could benefit from his precise route running and superstar experience. He is a future Hall of Fame pass-catcher who can impart wisdom on the likes of DeVonta Smith, AJ Brown, and Quez Watkins. He may even be able to unlock Jalen Reagor from disappointment.

Jones shouldn’t cost an insane amount and would likely serve the most value on a one-year deal. His presence alone could catapult the development of the receiving corps whilst providing a productive low snap receiver that can take over big games and be a weapon in the playoffs.

Move 3: Get More Snaps For Reagor

Wait.

Wait one second.

I hear you already. I can already hear the comments. For some people, Reagor is way too far gone. Okay, most of us. All of us?

I get it, I do. Reagor has been a stark disappointment in his two seasons as a Philadelphia Eagle. And the man picked with the next selection? Well, let’s just say Reagor has been a little disappointing, shall we?

I’d just like to apologize to all of us that feel the sting of this. It does feel like I am dousing the wounds with the world’s harshest salt. And while I am sorry, I beg you to hear me out on this one.

My argument is this. What’s the alternative? Trade him for a sixth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft? Maybe coax a team into a fifth? Cut him?

So Why Reagor?

I am not saying at all that we should not have substantial criticism of Jalen Reagor. Furthermore, I am not even asking for us to excuse his mistakes or lack of production. For example, his playoff performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he muffed two punts and caught one of his three targets for just two yards is inexcusable. Sorry, salt again.

That considered, Reagor is entering his third season as a pro and has been through a lot of adversity. He had battled through multiple injuries throughout his brief tenure with the Eagles. The team hopes to see him come back with a clean bill of health this season.

Furthermore, Reagor has suffered two significant tragedies in his short career. Entering his second season in the NFL, the TCU prospect despaired over the murder of a dear childhood friend. Undoubtedly, this affected him significantly on and off the field.

Once again, the Eagles receiver was touched by tragedy just days ago. Former TCU teammate Jeff Gladney died at just 25 years of age in a tragic car accident that shocked the NFL. The two played three seasons together in college. Reagor described the horrific event by declaring that “I just lost my best friend”.

Thus, we must contend with the reality that Reagor has suffered significant adversity on and off the field in his short NFL career. He came into the league recovering from an injury, struggled mightily through tragic adversity outside of football, and is constantly compared to the Pro Bowl superstar picked just behind him.

Thus, Reagor should be given another chance. As a football player, he possesses the potential that can prove worthy of continued development and investment. Furthermore, the presence of AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith will allow him to gain less attention from defenses and could lead to some enhanced production. If they are able to bring Julio Jones into the fold, that will further his skill acquisition and refinement to the point that he may be a solid rotational piece for years to come.

If it doesn’t work, they can cut or trade him in the offseason. If it does, they get a four (or five with Julio) receiver rotation that keeps offenses off balance at all times.

Let me know what you think of the moves we proposed in the comments below!

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