I’ll admit, during the He Who Must Not Be Named purge of Eagles talented players, I was cautiously optimistic he knew what he was doing. I willingly accepted excuses like “he wanted too much money,” “he’s not a North-South runner,” and the even more pathetic “he has gang ties.” I’m embarrassed to admit I was willing to look past the incredibly horrendous moves made by the general manager/head coach/egotistical tyrant in the hope of something different. But we were all of us deceived.
Now, over a year removed from the tumultuous and short reign of He Who Must Not Be Named, the franchise has a lot of holes to fill. Even a successful offseason by newly reinstated general manager Howie Roseman, the Eagles are still in need of a few wide receivers, a cornerback, and some help at running back, offensive line, and linebacker depth. Inevitably, the Eagles will likely look to free agency to help fill at least one position.
If we are to believe Howie’s recent comments as the franchise’s plan for the future, it seems as though band-aid free agent signings aren’t of interest. Which brings me, albeit admittedly late, to the premise of this article:
Although I like the idea of resigning DeSean Jackson as much as the next guy, he isn’t an ideal free agent signing. But fear not, there is another.
Admittedly, Jackson would be an immediate fan favorite, considering he already was one. He’s fast, productive (56 receptions/1,005 yards/4 touchdowns), and can stretch the field, attributes that the Eagles are in desperate need of. But Jackson, for all his benefits, is 30 years. That fact alone, unfortunately, makes the definition of a band-aid signing. Pair this with the notion that Jackson will likely be considered one of the top free agent wide receivers on the market, and it seems less likely the Eagles should make him a top target.
Kenny Stills, on the other hand, would be a great free agent signing for the Eagles. The current Miami Dolphin, Stills had a productive season and postseason (47 receptions/808 yards/9 touchdowns). He’s significantly younger than Jackson (not quite 25), has the same deep threat ability (11 receptions of 20+ yards, 4 receptions of 40+ yards), and would likely be one of the second-tier wide receivers in free agency.
I’m sure there will be other suitors, but if Roseman is true to his word about building for sustained success as opposed to immediate success, Stills would be an ideal candidate. He’s young enough that he’d ideally have seasons to grow with Carson Wentz, and would be an immediate upgrade to the receiver corps. Pair him with another wide receiver in the first few rounds of the draft, and the Eagles have a much different look offensively next year (and for the foreseeable future).
An additional benefit to signing a young free agent wide receiver is the sudden flexibility the Eagles would gain in the draft, where they could use their first round pick to draft someone like Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, or a talented corner. Then, the Eagles could draft a talented Day 2 receiver.
Are the Eagles close to being a contender? Probably not, but strategic upgrades at the right positions, and a dedicated effort to help Carson Wentz develop, and they could certainly be competing for a Wild Card spot next season.