Pro Bowl WR Headlines Free-Agent Fixes for Jalen Reagor

Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is always a top option. (Getty)

The Eagles are expected to place Jalen Reagor on IR after the rookie receiver suffered a UCL tear in his thumb.

The team hasn’t announced the injury or any injury designation to this point, but several reports have confirmed it. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport thinks the Eagles will put him on short-term IR (at least three weeks of missed time) and predicts he’ll be back for the “second half of the season or earlier.” Remember, Reagor rehabbed hard to get back ahead of schedule from a torn labrum and tweeted out that this is just another “bump in the road.”

Still, the Eagles are down to four receivers with their number one draft pick on the shelf: DeSean Jackson, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, John Hightower — and maybe Alshon Jeffery if he makes a miraculous recovery. The Eagles will likely turn to even more 12 Personnel in Reagor’s absence and let their two stud tight ends run roughshod, something they did on 80-percent of the snaps against Los Angeles.

“We are comfortable in 12 personnel,” head coach Doug Pederson told reporters prior to Reagor’s injury news. “We feel like we have some matchup advantages with our tight ends in situations like that. There are some things we can do to get a little bit more production out of that personnel group.”

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Eagles Have Options at WR: Free Agency or In-House

Philadelphia has a plethora of options at their disposal to survive a stretch without Reagor. For starters, they can look to the practice squad and then move on to another team’s practice squad for options. The Eagles can always dip their toes in the shallow pool of available free agents, too. Let’s take a look.

In-House Candidates

Deontay Burnett: The team protected the 6-footer who saw 15 offensive snaps for the Eagles in 2019 and made two catches for 48 yards. Burnett had an excellent training camp in Philly and obviously knows Doug Pederson’s system very well. He’s the most likely candidate to be called up and activated on Sunday.

Travis Fulgham: Another guy who spent the summer in Philly and looked sharp in practices. Fulgham played in three games last year for the Lions but never recorded a catch. He’s a long shot to make an impact, but his bulky frame (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) has to be intriguing.

Marcus Green: While not officially added to the roster yet, the speedster from Lousiana-Monroe was in town for a workout on Wednesday and adds extra value as a kick returner. Green is another receiver with extensive experience in Philly having spent time on their practice squad in 2019.

Quez Watkins: The sixth-rounder is due back from short-term IR in Week 4 after sitting out the first three weeks with an upper-body injury. Watkins was a quick study in the early days of camp and looked to be carving out a niche as the team’s fifth option, ahead of fifth-rounder John Hightower, before he got hurt.

Free-Agent Options

Jordan Matthews: Carson Wentz’s favorite security blanket is always waiting for his phone to ring. The Eagles brought him back last year for a two-week stretch before waiving him on Nov. 25. He had four catches for 33 yards in three games, along with 249 career receptions for 3,006 yards and 21 touchdowns in five years in Philly.

Taylor Gabriel: The Texas native hasn’t played down since the Bears released him last February in a cap-saving move. However, the 29-year-old former high school track star has all the tools the Eagles value: speed, speed, and more speed. Gabriel is a hybrid player who can run it out of the backfield and contribute on kick and punt returns.

Demaryius Thomas: It’s hard to believe that a five-time Pro Bowler (and Super Bowl champion) is out there on the open market, huh? Thomas was traded from the Patriots to the Jets for a sixth-round pick in 2019 and couldn’t latch on in New York despite making 36 receptions for 433 yards. The 32-year-old is well accomplished: 724 career receptions for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns, mostly from Peyton Manning in Denver.

Shelton Gibson: The Eagles’ fifth-round pick in 2017 was released by Washington on Sept. 17 and owns built-in chemistry with Wentz. Gibson won a Super Bowl ring in Philly after hauling in three catches for 59 yards in two seasons wearing midnight green. Better known as a special-teams ace, the 25-year-old would comfortably fill a need.

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