As the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for an important offseason in a few weeks, they will also have to make a few tough decisions when it comes to free agents.
Other than veteran quarterback Nick Foles and defensive end Brandon Graham, the Eagles will have to decide if they want to bring back wide receivers Mike Wallace, Golden Tate, or Jordan Matthews.
Out of three, Matthews would be the best bet to come back as Tate and Wallace could get better deals on the free agent market.
While the idea of keeping Matthews would be solid, losing Wallace would force Philly to look for another vertical deep threat at wide receiver.
Last offseason, the 32-year-old wideout was signed to a one-year deal to complement Alshon Jeffery and help stretch the field. However, that never came to fruition as Wallace suffered a season-ending leg injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2.
Would Wallace come back to Philly on another one-year deal? If he decides to not come back, then the Eagles can turn to the free agent market for a few under the radar deep threat options.
1. John Brown
Brown had a bounce-back season with the Baltimore Ravens, after being hampered by injuries and the sickle cell trait last season with the Arizona Cardinals.
This season, the veteran speedy wideout racked up 42 receptions (97 targets) for 715 yards and five touchdowns.
With Joe Flacco under center, Brown became his top receiving option, scoring three touchdowns in Baltimore’s first four games. He also had two games of 100 plus receiving yards (134 vs. New Orleans in Wk. 7, 116 vs. Pittsburgh in Wk. 4).
However, when Lamar Jackson took over as their quarterback, Brown’s targets and production took a dramatic dip. In Baltimore’s last five games, he only had six receptions (22 targets) for 66 yards and a touchdown.
With that being said, Brown might feel like he can have better production in a more pass-happy offense, rather than the Ravens’ run-heavy offense.
According to Spotrac.com, the 28-year-old’s calculated market value is a two-year deal worth $12.3 million with an average annual salary of $6.1 million. If this is the going rate for Brown, then the Eagles should definitely inquire.
2. Tyrell Williams
After an impressive second season in the NFL, where he had 69 receptions (119 targets) for 1,059 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, many people expected Williams to continue his ascension through the wide receiver ranks.
While he did not take that leap in his third season, he stepped up big time, helping the Chargers make the playoffs this season.
In a talented wide receiver core, which featured both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, the 6-foot-4 wide receiver had 41 receptions (65 targets) for 653 yards and five touchdowns. He also had an impressive receiving yards per catch average of 15.9.
However, unlike Brown, Williams will cost a bit more, especially since he can stretch the field at his size. According to Spotrac, they predict that his calculated market value will be a three-year, $29 million deal with an average salary of $9.6 million.
As it stands, the Eagles are projected to be $14 million over the cap for the 2019 season.
Even though the 26-year-old Williams might be too rich for their taste, imagine having him playing opposite of Jeffery? That would make life easy for Carson Wentz.
3. J.J. Nelson
Last but not least, Nelson is a player that I thought the Eagles should have traded for before the trade deadline back in October.
The speedy wideout out of UAB was sparingly used this season as the Cardinals featured rookie Christian Kirk more often. It also did not help that Nelson fell behind Chad Williams on the depth chart to begin the season.
This season, the 26-year-old Nelson only had seven receptions for 64 yards in 14 games. This is a far cry from the previous two seasons, where he averaged 538 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Nelson only made $622,450 this season, which means he is due for a change of scenery and a pay raise. If the Eagles want to a take a flier on a flyer, then the former UAB Blazer would be a good bet.