Should Eagles Make Play for Antonio Brown or Julio Jones?

antonio brown

Getty Oakland Raiders WR Antonio Brown.

The best two wide receivers in football are going through some growing pains in their respective cities. Antonio Brown and Julio Jones are suddenly available — for the right (read: steep) price.

The ongoing sagas in Oakland and Atlanta are enough to make anyone sick. Brown has continually clashed with Raiders brass, specifically new GM Mike Mayock over his unwillingness to adapt to the league’s helmet policy. He wants to wear his tried-and-true throwback version, but he’s not allowed. Meanwhile, Jones has grown tired of waiting for a new contract from the Falcons, one that owner Arthur Blank promised him before training camp. There seems to be no end in sight for both dramas.

Of course, of course. The Eagles don’t need any more weapons as they are already loaded for bear. Or are they? Alshon Jeffery is now dealing with a biceps injury after colliding with a teammate at practice. He’s expected to be full-go for Week 1, but … an injury is an injury.

DeSean Jackson is dealing with a more serious injury: a broken left finger. Initially, the boo-boo was supposed to sideline him for three to four weeks but he has decided to play through it. He even joked about not being 100 percent for Sunday.

Sure, Brown and Jones may be divas and bring negative energy to the locker room. But imagine them catching passes from Carson Wentz. The Eagles already did when they attempted to sign Brown in the offseason.

Top 3 Reasons to Get Antonio Brown

1. He’s the Best Receiver in Football

This is not really debatable — or if it is, then the only other arguments are Julio Jones or DeAndre Hopkins. Since 2013, Brown has accumulated 9,145 receiving yards for an average of 1,524 per season. Read again: per season. He might not be as physically opposing or as fast as Jones, but he’s a better route runner. The best in the business. He finds ways to get open when no one else can.

2. He’s a Touchdown Machine

Unlike some of his peers, Brown has an uncanny knack for finding the end zone. He can fly off the line of scrimmage and outrace any cornerback in the league on a deep throw, or he can take a five-yard slant and duck and his weave his way for six points. He kind of resembles Terrell Owens in that regard. Unstoppable. Brown has 74 career touchdowns, including a league-best 15 in 2018 despite missing one game.

3. He Might Come Cheap

Brown is owed $29.125 million in guaranteed money after inking a four-year extension worth $68 million with Oakland. His salary is the antithesis of cheap. However, the way things have unfolded with the Raiders should cause teams to take great pause before doling out big bucks to a receiver now deemed a “problem child.” There has been talk of the Raiders suspending him for Week 1 and then flat-out releasing him to void his contract. Any team picking him up would have to decide what Brown would be worth. He could end up becoming a lot cheaper than people think.

Top 3 Reasons to Get Julio Jones

1. He’s the Best Receiver in Football

As stated above, there are really only about three receivers in this conversation and Jones is one of them. Since 2014, he has racked up 7,994 receiving yards for an average of 1,599 per season. He’s also more physically imposing than Brown and a whole year younger. The only real knock on Jones has been that sometimes he turns into a ghost in big games, particularly when it comes to scoring touchdowns. Jones still might be the very best, plus he’s a proven Philadelphia Eagles killer.

2. He’s Obtainable in a Trade

The Raiders are still deciding what to do with Brown, in terms of keeping him, trading him or releasing him. The latter seems most appropriate. But Jones is only obtainable via trade and the Eagles have some great assets to give up. If they were to send Alshon Jeffery — he’s due $11.75 million in 2019, $12.75 million in 2020 — and a combination of a draft pick and a young receiver (say Mack Hollins?), they would create enough cap space to keep Jones long-term. Do the deal.

3. He’s Not a Head Case

Unlike Brown, he doesn’t bring any real baggage to the table. In fact, Jones is damn near a saint in the unpredictable world of Twitter scandals and drug convictions. He owns a Twitter account but it’s set to private and he rarely posts. He’s considered low key and likes to fish in his spare time, never indulging in reckless nightlife. The drama over the contract comes out of one place: Jones earned a new deal.

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