The NFL stretch run is about to begin, and several contenders are suddenly facing significant injury concerns heading into Week 11.
Meanwhile, major financial decisions loom for star players on teams across the league.
Heavy’s football mailbag series continues on Friday, November 18 — hosted by Heavy Sports NFL insider Matt Lombardo — to answer questions about your favorite team(s).
Q: Eagles looking at bringing in any tight ends? Obviously Eric Ebron makes sense there.
After losing Dallas Goedert to injured reserve, it would make some sense for the Philadelphia Eagles to go shopping for a veteran replacement to steady the ship and make up for his 544 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns of production.
However, after speaking with team and league sources, it appears the Eagles are content to elevate Jack Stoll into the starting role and are optimistic that Tyree Jackson can contribute meaningful snaps after being activated from the PUP list.
Stoll has caught 4 passes for 49 yards in five appearances through 10 weeks this season, and according to Pro Football Focus, is averaging 5.8 yards after the catch per reception.
Jackson, meanwhile, is an intriguing option added to quarterback Jalen Hurts’ arsenal.
A 25-year-old former quarterback, Jackson stands 6-foot-7 and 249 pounds, and is exactly the kind of big-bodied target with reliable hands the Eagles could use as a complementary weapon to receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Jackson is returning from a torn ACL suffered in the 2021 season finale against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Eagles are banking on Jackson contributing some quality snaps in Goedert’s absence.
Los Angeles Rams
Q: In the wake of Cooper Kupp being out, and OBJ not mentioning the Rams as a suitor, should the Rams pivot to T.Y. Hilton, Mohamed Sanu or pluck somebody from the practice squad?
The Los Angeles Rams are in the unenviable position of holding up the rear in the NFC West, with a banged-up Matthew Stafford, and even if Odell Beckham Jr. has L.A. high on his list of potential destinations, he’s likely not going to make the kind of immediate impact Sean McVay’s team needs him to just to make a push to qualify for the postseason.
Los Angeles, at 3-6, is at a bit of a crossroads. Especially after Kupp’s injury in Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals.
It doesn’t sound, from conversations Heavy had with multiple agents who represent the top wide receivers currently available in free agency, as if the Rams are placing calls at the top of the market. The belief among league sources is the Rams are content to elevate either Austin Trammell or Jacob Harris from the practice squad.
Trammell, 24, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Falcons in 2021 prior to being released on June 16, 2022 and signing with the Rams. Meanwhile, Harris was chosen by the Rams in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft, and the fact that he is a converted tight end could make him an able-bodied red zone target for an offense in need of production in that area of the field.
Green Bay Packers
Q: What is the general outlook for Aaron Jones beyond the 2022 season? He is signed through 2024, but his cap hit leaps to $20M (!) next year for a team that is already tight on cap space. Extension, cut, trade?
The Green Bay Packers invested premium draft capital getting younger at the wide receiver position during the 2022 draft, and given Aaron Jones’ contract situation might wind up taking a similar tact at running back in 2023.
Jones’ contract, a four-year pact worth $48 million, is essentially a two-year deal that the Packers can get out of in 2023 while creating $16 million in cap space by releasing him post-June 1. Cutting Jones would trigger a $4.02 million dead-money charge next season, but create spending flexibility to add a veteran wide receiver, offensive line help, or an additional defensive back.
Moving on from Jones wouldn’t necessarily be because of production; he’s currently the No. 5 leading rusher in the NFL, with 778 yards, and is averaging 70.7 rushing yards per game.
The feeling from conversations with sources around the NFL is that it is “doubtful” that the Packers would bring Jones back under his current deal. It is always possible that Green Bay and Jones restructure his contract at a lower cap number, but far more likely that the Packers get younger at the position by adding in 2023 NFL draft.