Eagles 2022 Free Agency Preview: Wide Receiver
We all know what the Eagles biggest needs are this offseason.
Edge rusher, cornerback and receiver are probably 1-2-3.
I know that a lot of people, including myself, have been slating the Eagles to take a wideout in the 1st or 2nd round of their mock drafts. However, the argument has also been made by many that the Eagles need to sign a veteran receiver in free agency rather than draft another guy early in the draft. I see both sides of the argument, and realistically I think if you draft the right guy it won't matter which option they chose. Regardless, I think they have to choose one or the other, not both.
I thought it would be fun to look at the upcoming free agent wideout class, as it brings many interesting and talented players that could be wearing midnight green next season. Keep in mind, these are realistic and good fits to the Eagles so don't expect guys like Davante Adams to be on here. These aren't in any particular order.
2021 Stats: 98 Catches, 1,103 Yards, 5 TDs
Godwin ended last season tearing his ACL right before the Buccaneers playoff run, ending his season. I'm pretty sure that won't effect Godwin's market though, as rumors have already been circling as him being the potential highest paid wideout in this class. Godwin is still only 25 and has stayed relatively healthy besides the knee injury suffered last month. However, I'm guessing that this may be a little out of the Eagles price range. PFF projects him to get a 4 year contract with a 17.5m AAV, which is probably going to be tough for the Eagles to justify spending all their cash for this offseason on. But Howie Roseman's best skill is cap space, so if anyone can figure out how to best distribute the money it's him.
2021 Stats: 76 Catches, 1,146 Yards, 9 TDs
The guy who gained himself the most money in the 2021 season had to be Williams, who put up monster numbers as a WR2 in LA. Even while sharing targets with Keenan Allen, Williams went off. Some would argue that's the reason why he put up those numbers, but you would be foolish to think teams didn't focus on Williams even when Allen was on the field. He's the definition of a "go up and get it guy", which is the type of the receiver I really think the Eagles need in the draft or free agency. DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins focus their game more based off route running/speed, so pairing them with a veteran like Williams would be a great fit. He's probably my favorite choice for the Eagles this offseason, but again it seems like they'll get outbided by some other teams with more cap space. PFF projects his contract at 4 years with a 17m AAV.
Allen Robinson II
2021 Stats: 38 Catches, 410 Yards, 1 TD
Robinson had a really bad 2021 season, probably due to the inconsistencies of the Bears offense. Honestly, playing on the franchise tag after wanting a new contract all offseason couldn't have made him any happier either. I'm not concerned about Robinson's long term potential due to all the reasons I just named. It would be ideal if Robinson's value on the market has dropped due to his down season, since he still has a chance to be a really good wideout in this offense. PFF projects him to get a cheaper contract, 3 years 16m AAV.
2021 Stats: 35 Catches, 445 Yards, 2 TDs
Gallup is an interesting name, since he is another guy who suffered a late season-ending injury after a pretty productive season. He tore his ACL on January 3rd after catching a touchdown pass of all things. I think the concern over Gallup past the injury is if he can keep up the production he had in Dallas, an offense that features pieces like CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. I'd take a flyer on the potential though, especially since he would be cheaper than all the guys I've mentioned so far(PFF projects 4 years 13.75m AAV).
2021 Stats: 15 Catches, 129 Yards, 0 TDs
After testing the free agency market last offseason, Smith-Schuster ended up signing a cheap prove-it deal with Pittsburgh in the hope that he could gain himself some money in the 2021 season. Unfortunately, Juju suffered an injury in Week 5 and was out the entire season besides from a short stint in the playoff game against Kansas City. So now he hits free agency again, hoping a team will see the potential and be willing to pay him. The Eagles actually were one of the teams who were in the running for Smith-Schuster in 2021 free agency before he eventually signed back with the Steelers. I'm not sure I would sign Juju to a multi year contract, but if he is willing to sign another cheaper 1 year deal I think that could be really valuable for the Eagles. A guy who has been in the league for a couple years, has talent and could take the attention away from DeVonta Smith. Definitely one of my favorite choices on this list in terms of fit and contract.
2021 Stats: 7 Catches, 154 Yards, 2 TDs
Chark played in 3 games this season before suffering a season ending ankle injury. I usually tend to throw any stats from the Jaguars offense last season out the window, due to the incompetence from top to bottom. Obviously it doesn't really matter here, but I find it hard to believe that Chark would have any desire to go back to Jacksonville without some stellar contract offer. It's actually already being reported that the Eagles have already shown interest in Chark. I'm not really sure what his contract will look like, but if the Eagles swing and miss on the big names that I've already named I'm sure he would be a more reasonable option.