Nelson Agholor

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Eagles face tough decision with Nelson Agholor

Eliot Shorr-Parks
February 20, 2019 - 8:20 am

As the Eagles continue along with their offseason, and prepare for the NFL Combine next week, they face the task of having to overhaul their receiving core. 

Among all the players that took a snap for them at receiver last year, really only one — Alshon Jeffery — is a guarantee to be back next year. Outside of Jeffery, it is possible that Mike Wallace, Golden Tate, Jordan Matthews, Shelton Gibson and Mack Hollins could all be gone. 

Perhaps the toughest decision the team has to make at receiver is one not many expected they would even have to consider — what to do with receiver Nelson Agholor. 

The easy answer is to simply do nothing with Agholor, as he is under contract for the 2019 season. The Eagles don’t have to trade Agholor. They don’t have to re-structure his deal. They can simply keep things status quo and bring Agholor back. 

During his time as general manager, however, very rarely has Howie Roseman let a player he values enter the final year of his deal. With a cap hit of $9.3 million in 2019, Roseman has every incentive to strike a new deal with Agholor, lowering his cap hit and keeping him beyond next season. 

The fact the two sides have yet to strike a deal is eye-opening, especially after Agholor’s big 2017 season. Coming off of a Super Bowl win, and Agholor playing a large role in helping to capture the trophy, extending Agholor at that point made all the sense in the world for both sides. Instead, Agholor played through the 2018 season on his rookie deal, a season many feel was a down one for the receiver. 

Perception doesn’t quite meet reality, however, when it comes to the 2018 season that Agholor had. 

The perception is that Agholor took a step back after a breakout 2017 season. The reality is that by the time 2018 was over, Agholor had more targets, more catches and only 32 less yards than his breakout season the year before. He even had the longest catch of his career — an 83-yard touchdown — in 2018. The major difference was the touchdowns, as Agholor found the end zone just four times in 2018 as opposed to 2017.

So on paper, keeping Agholor makes sense. He is still a productive member of the offense, he has been with the team for four years and he has plenty of experience playing with Carson Wentz. There is an argument to be made in terms of pure skill — speed, hands, route running — Agholor is the more talented receiver on the team. 

The issue with Agholor is the $9.3 million cap hit. If the Eagles don’t feel Agholor is in their long-term plans, trading him now as opposed to watching him walk as a free agent next offseason makes the most sense. It would free up cap space and land the Eagles an asset in return. It would also make bringing back Golden Tate, a player they traded a third-round pick for, more realistic. The Eagles could also decide to move forward with Jordan Matthews in the slot, as he was extremely productive last season considering the limited opportunities he got. 

If the Eagles do feel Agholor is a player they want in their receiving core for years to come, then they should try to extend him, lowering his cap hit for this season and locking him in beyond 2019. It would free up much needed cap space and would give them one more sure thing in a receiving unit that doesn’t have many. 

What doesn’t make sense is keeping things status quo with Agholor — which is why the deciding what to do with Agholor is one of the toughest decisions the team has to make this offseason. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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