Forums Dancehall Reggae Philadelphia Eagles: It’s the end of an era for Jalen Reagor

Posted September 1, 2022 08:32 AM

After two seasons with a few bright spots but far more disappointment, Jalen Reagor’s run with the Philadelphia Eagles is done, as the former first-round pick out of TCU has been traded to Minnesota for a 2023 seventh-round pick and a 2024 conditional fourth-round pick.

Surprising? You bet; while Reagor went from the Eagles’ WR3 to WR5 before camp even began due to the additions of A.J. Brown and Zach Pascal, he still received a ton of praise from both Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni for his efforts in training camp and ultimately made the initial 53-man roster over the likes of Deon Cain, Britain Covey, and Devin Allen. Still, once that trio all remained unsigned following the initial waiver wire period – Cain, as a vested vet, was never subjected to waivers – Roseman circled back to previous conversations about a Reagor trade with the Vikings and ultimately hammered out a deal.

On paper, getting back roughly comparable draft value for Reagor that Roseman gave up to acquire Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is pretty incredible; CJGJ is a certified baller who brings a sort of Allen Iverson-esque attitude to the field that will instantly make him a fan favorite at the back end of the defense. Still, it’s hard to look back on what Reagor was supposed to be and wonder why, oh why, he was unable to get there.

Jalen Reagor was supposed to be a long-time player for the Philadelphia Eagles.

When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Reagor 21st overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, it felt important.

Sure, some, including the Vikings’ front office, immediately questioned the decision considering LSU’s Justin Jefferson was still on the board, but recall, if you will, where the Eagles were at that particular time; after drafting their X wide receiver of the future the previous year in the now-similarly traded JJ Arcega-Whiteside, the Eagles had a need for speed. They’d tried and failed to land the next DeSean Jackson since they said goodbye to the genuine article all the way back in the spring of 2014, and even after re-acquiring him in 2019, it was clear his health wasn’t going to be a 70 targets per season sort of player again.

In Reagor, the Eagles saw an opportunity to add straight-line speed, explosivity, and a dynamic athlete who could turn nothing into something during his run at TCU. Though opinions at the time were mixed on Reagor’s exact on-field projections, with PFF being particularly high on his abilities whereas Lance Zierlein of considered him more of a fringe first-rounder, the general consensus was that Reagor had all of the tools to be the next great offensive weapon who could move across formations and attack defenses in a variety of different veins.

As comical as it may sound now, the idea of Reagor being used like Deebo Samuel was discussed by more than a few fans, and even if the two receivers don’t exactly have identical athletic measurables, surely a savvy offensive mind like Doug Pederson could deploy the former like the latter if he wanted to.

Unfortunately, it just never clicked.

While Reagor’s career started off with a bang, with the collegiate Horned Frog going for 55 yards in Week 1 and 41 yards in Week 2, he suffered a ligament tear in his thumb that resulted in a trip to IR and even after he returned, his game was just never the same. Reagor went from averaging 48 yards per game pre-injury to 33.3 over the final nine weeks of the season and finished out the year with a disappointing 396 receiving yards.

Fast forward to 2021, and things were supposed to be different; Nick Sirianni was supposed to be an offensive guru who specialized at wide receiver due to his own experience with the position. With DeVonta Smith in place at WR1 and fellow 2020 draft pick Quez Watkins providing speed out of the slot, it was only a matter of time before Reagor could feast on foes from a greater position of strength.

… except that didn’t really happen either. No, Reagor’s efficiency numbers dropped pretty much across the board, and he finished out the season with 97 fewer yards than the season prior. Sirianni tried him both in the slot and on the outside, and Reagor was even afforded a chance to return kicks and punts for Michael Clay’s special teams unit, but regardless of what opportunity was afforded to him, it never quite worked out.

Whether Roseman wanted to admit it or not, Reagor was never going to work out in Philadelphia, and keeping him around for another season was just going to lower his value and hurt his morale even more.

Look, saying goodbye is never easy; people make concessions and excuses for why things aren’t working instead of addressing the problem head-on, and will oftentimes stick around in a situation out of obligation even when it’s against their best interests. While the Philadelphia Eagles could have kept Reagor around for one more season and hoped that he would magically have a Nelson Agholor-esque come-up in Year 3 while deployed from the slot, it’s honestly better for all parties involved to move on now and finally look to the future instead of wrestling with a past regret of what could have been.

Philadelphia Eagles: 3 recently cut running backs to perfect the offseason

Roster cutdown day has come and gone, and the Philadelphia Eagles now sit with 53 players on their current roster. That 53 is temporary; however, there will almost certainly be movement between now and Week 1.

As the team was making moves to trim down their roster, general manager Howie Roseman solved one of the few holes on this Eagles roster by trading for star safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. With one of the team’s greatest needs answered, all that truly remains is for the team to complete the running back room.

Philadelphia was, of course, not the only team tidying up their roster, which has led to a series of running backs being set to hit the open market. Well-known names such as Phillip Lindsay, Marlon Mack, Sony Michel, and more are currently in search of new teams, and Philadelphia could easily become their new home.

The Philadelphia Eagles could perfect their offseason with another quality RB.

Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell are all nice pieces for a committee, but another quality back would be enough to give true confidence in the Eagles’ running attack. The one aspect noticeable missing from the Eagles’ rushing attack is a true downhill runner.

Kenneth Gainwell was surprisingly effective in short-yardage situations last season despite being projected as a pass-catching back. Philadelphia should not be fully certain about that remaining the case in year two.

Adding another low-cost weapon at running back is a no-brainer, and if any of these backs are involved, it just might be enough to secure the team a perfect offseason.

Philadelphia Eagles: Nate Herbig sticks around in New York

When the Philadelphia Eagles released Nate Herbig earlier in the offseason, it felt like a mistake.

Sure, the Birds had solid depth at the position, which was made all the more impressive with the addition of Cam Jurgens in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but Herbig had experience playing multiple roles across multiple positions, with 17 starts and 1377 snaps over his 33 game resume. Even if he couldn’t really play center and his cap hit of a little over $2.4 million is a luxury for a team with more linemen than roster spots, losing him for nothing was certainly a choice.

What if someone suffered an injury? What if multiple players suffered injuries? Why let him go in May when he could have stuck around until the penultimate day of August?

Well, as it turned out, the decision worked out pretty well for all parties involved. The Eagles had so much depth that they could say goodbye to Jack Anderson and still feel confident in their ability to field a championship contender. And as for Herbig? Well, he just made the New York Jets roster coming out of camp and appears destined for a valuable role as a utility interior backup for Robert Salah’s squad.

Nate Herbig is making it work in a non-Philadelphia Eagles shade of green.

When Joe Douglas claimed Herbig off of waivers, it wasn’t to fill one specific role on his team’s depth chart.

The Jets already had a pair of tackles they liked in Mekhi Becton and George Fant, a second-year, second-round USC tackle turned right guard named Alijah Vera-Tucker, and a pair of high-end free agent linemen in Laken Tomlinson and Connor McGovern manning the left guard and center positions respectively. At best, Herbig would compete with Vera-Tucker for the right guard spot, and at worst, he’d be a camp body looking for a third team in as many months.

Fortunately for Herbig, his opportunity fell somewhere in the middle. Though he largely spent his summer with the Jets’ twos, he was at least firmly with the two and looked solid enough against his former team when New York took on Philadelphia in the preseason opener. He remained a fixture of the team from that point on, and when the roster had to be trimmed down to 53, Herbig ultimately stuck around without issue, marking his fourth-straight summer with the same result.

Whether he starts none, one, or all 17 games this fall, Herbig suddenly finds himself an injury away from serious on-field action, which is a whole lot higher on the proverbial pecking order than he would have been in Philadelphia.

Will the Philadelphia Eagles ultimately come to miss Herbig? Frankly, probably not; the Birds have more linemen than they know what to do with and I’m firmly convinced that with a week of preparation, Jeff Stoutland could have Jordan Davis playing guard at a serviceable level if need be. No, in the end, the decision to waive Herbig back in May worked out for all parties involved, which certainly can’t be said about every move in the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles: New scenery, same results for JJ Arcega-Whiteside

When the Philadelphia Eagles traded JJ Arcega-Whiteside to the Seattle Seahawks for Ugo Amadi, it felt like one of the more improbable moves of Howie Roseman’s career.

Mind you, it wasn’t because the Eagles’ GM was able to get an incredible return for a player he was planning on releasing or because Amadi was a diamond in the rough performer who would go on to start for years to come. No, the reason Eagles fans the world over were shocked in the best way to see JJAW traded away was because Roseman actually found a team willing to give something up for his services.

Now granted, Amadi was probably headed for the waiver wire before he landed in Philadelphia. Despite playing a ton of meh snaps as the Seahawks’ slot cornerback, Seattle replaced him with Justin Coleman in free agency and Coby Bryant in the draft and thus wasn’t all that eager to keep him around. But still, the Eagles jumped on the opportunity to get something for nothing and were able to then re-route Amadi to Tennessee for a conditional sixth-round pick that may be included in the Chauncey Gardner-Johnson trade.

All things considered, things worked out pretty darn well for the Eagles. They have great depth in their defensive backfield thanks to the Gardner-Johnson acquisition and actually had to say goodbye to a few wide receivers and tight ends who would have made the team in the past; players like Noah Togiai, Deon Cain, and Greg Ward.

But what about Seattle’s side of the equation? Did JJAW work out in the Emerald City? Well, considering he was waived in the trimdown to 53, the answer to that question appears to be a resounding no.

The Seattle Seahawks learned the same lesson as the Philadelphia Eagles about JJAW.

On paper, the Seattle Seahawks could use a wide receiver like Arcega-Whiteside. Sure, they have top-end talent in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and opted to keep four more wide receivers, including one-time Eagle Marquise Goodwin, but only one of those four other receivers, Dareke Young, is taller than 5-foot-11, and the rookie seventh round pick out of Lenoir Rhyne isn’t exactly expected to make a huge impact this fall.

Considering the Seahawks are a run-heavy team who will likely lean into that identity with Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock under center this fall, having a big, blocking receiver who can contribute on special teams and cross-train at tight end could be incredibly valuable.

The problem? JJAW just didn’t show up for the Hawks.

After receiving two targets in his Seattle preseason debut against the Chicago Bears – neither of which he caught – Arcega-Whiteside didn’t log a snap against the Dallas Cowboys in the team’s preseason finale and was quietly waived shortly thereafter. While this decision may have been tactical in order to sneak the former second-round pick onto the practice squad, it’s just as likely Pete Caroll realized what Philly fans know all too well: Arcega-Whiteside just isn’t very good.

In the NFL, every team misses on draft picks now and again. All of the tape, measurables, and interviews in the world can’t perfectly predict how a player will perform going from the NCAA to the NFL, and that will remain the case no matter how advanced analytics metrics become. While trading away Arcega-Whiteside for what effectively amounts to a sixth-round pick is a pretty significant loss on investment, it’s better than losing him for nothing, which is the situation Seattle finds themselves in.

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