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Eagles mailbag: Finding a free agent WR to pair with DeVonta Smith


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Eagles mailbag: Finding a free agent WR to pair with DeVonta Smith


We’re in one of the slow parts of the NFL calendar but things are about to pick up in a major way.

I’ll be in Indianapolis next week for the combine and the new league year begins on March 16. So get ready for some Eagles news next month.

Until then, let’s get to your questions:


There are two guys who come to mind: Allen Robinson and Mike Williams. And if I have to pick just one, I’ll zero in on Williams.

Williams (6-4, 218) was a first-round pick back in 2017 and he’s still just 27 years old. So if they get Williams, we’re talking about a long-term deal, where Robinson might take a one-year prove-it deal after a down year in 2021. So it would likely be a more significant investment for Williams, but he’s worth it. In 2021, he had his second-career 1,000-yard season and has always been a big-play threat. He averaged 15.1 yards per reception in 2021 and has averaged 16.1 over his five-year NFL career.

I like the idea of pairing DeVonta Smith with a target like Williams or Robinson, a guy who can make a huge impact without feeling the need to feed them play after play. Williams can have a five-catch game and still be a huge difference-maker. Of course, he won’t be cheap. We’re talking about a contract that’s well over $15 million per season. But Smith is cheap on his rookie deal and if the Eagles run it back with Hurts, he’s still cheap too. So they can afford the luxury of paying a receiver a bit more if they choose.


I get what you’re saying here. But if the Eagles paid a big-money contract to a top-tier free agent, then they’re going to prioritize getting that player involved. It’s not like the offense would function the same way with Mike Williams as it did with Jalen Reagor. And if you’re looking for a reason a player might overlook some of those things, familiarity is one. Williams, for instance, was drafted to the Chargers when Nick Sirianni was there. Sirianni was his first position coach in the NFL.

Ultimately, though, money talks. If the Eagles are willing to put up the dough to get one of these guys, they’ll come here. And, remember, while there are plenty of external questions about Jalen Hurts, his teammates really seem to like and respect him. I wonder if that word will get around to prospective free agents too.


When you look at the list of Eagles’ needs this offseason, pass rusher should be right at the top of the list. Derek Barnett is about to leave in free agency, which leaves Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham as the top two without much depth behind them. As much as everyone loves Graham, he’s 34 and coming off an Achilles tear. So, yeah, the Eagles need to find pass rushers.

It makes more sense for the Eagles to prioritize this position in the draft and there will be a few good options when they’re on the clock with those three first rounders. If they come out of the first round with David Ojabo, George Karlaftis, Jermaine Johnson, Travon Walker or Kingsley Enagbare, they’d be in a good spot.

But you’re right; maybe they add pass rushers in free agency as well as the draft. The problem with free agency is that pass rushers get PAID. In fact, ProFootballFocus projects Barnett’s free agent deal to come in at three year, $37.5 million, an average of $12.5 million per season. That’s for an underwhelming former first-round pick who has never had more than 6 1/2 sacks in a season and is coming off a 2-sack season. So, yeah, edge rushers get overpaid.

There are some names that come to mind, depending on how the Eagles want to play this. If they want to sign a guy who will be here for a few years, Haason Reddick could come home to fill a hybrid edge rusher/SAM position. There are cheaper options, guys like Kemoko Turay from Indy. And then there’s the mercenary route. The one year deal with Ryan Kerrigan didn’t work out but maybe the Eagles try again with Jadeveon Clowney or Justin Houston.


For those unaware of this inside joke, on the Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and I stopped saying the name "Carson Wentz” a while ago. We don’t actually have any problem with Wentz; this was our smart aleck reaction to folks saying we should stop talking about him. At some point, we’ll get tired of the gag and use his name on the pod again. Honestly, the way things are going, Wentz is becoming less and less relevant with each passing season.

It still seems wild to me that the Colts are already considering moving on from Wentz after they gave up a ton to get him. But if they cut ties with Wentz, another team will scoop him up and hope to get him playing at a consistently higher level. There are a few teams that jump out at me. At the top of the list would be the Steelers, Panthers and (ugh) Commanders. Imagine Wentz back in the division.


I like a good cheesesteak, but it’s definitely not something I’m eating very often. When I lived away from this area for a couple years, the food items I missed the most were sandwiches. So we’re talking hoagies, cheesesteaks, roast pork, etc. If it’s not DeVonta’s thing, it’s not his thing. I do tire of the cheesesteak questions to and from incoming athletes. You know, when the athlete goes on social media to ask for recommendations and everyone in the Delaware Valley acts like they have stock in their favorite cheesesteak joint.


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There's no doubt Williams would be the outstanding pick... I mean sure Adams if he hits FA but I'm going to assume that he doesn't. So yeah Williams is the stand out there by some distance (in a good group).

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