The Philadelphia Eagles could benefit from adding a big name at wide receiver.
As Bleacher Report’s Jake Rill suggests, one of the free agents the Eagles “must pursue” is none other than ex-New Orleans Saints wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Rill’s key argument is that Philadelphia opted to keep only four receivers on its 53-man roster, with two of them — Quez Watkins and Olamide Zaccheaus — having dealt with injuries during the preseason.
Eagles’ Receivers Dealt With Injuries During Preseason
“Quez Watkins (hamstring) and Olamide Zaccheaus (shoulder) were slowed a bit in the preseason,” writes Rill. “Philadelphia doesn’t have any other WRs on its 53-man roster, as it opted to keep only four for the time being.”
Rill then mentions Landry — who is a five-time Pro Bowler and served as a full-time starter his entire career until the 2022 season — as an option that makes “sense.”
“It could make a good bit of sense for the Eagles to add an experienced pass-catcher to the group,” writes Rill. “Perhaps somebody like Jarvis Landry, a nine-year NFL veteran who remains a free agent after spending the 2022 season with the New Orleans Saints.”
Jarvis Landry is No Longer an Elite Receiver
However, as Landry enters his age-31 season in 2023, he’s a shell of the receiver he once was. While starting the entire season with the Cleveland Browns in 2020, Landry produced 72 catches for 840 receiving yards and three touchdowns. While those numbers are solid for most starting receivers, it was a stark decline from the 83 catches, 1,174 receiving yards and six touchdowns he posted during the previous season.
By the time the 2022 season rolled around, Landry’s production dipped to a career-low 25 receptions, 272 receiving yards and one touchdown in just nine games.
For perspective, Landry ranked fifth in the NFL in target share (26.6%) and seventh in target rate (29.6%) during the 2019 season, according to Player Profiler. Target share measures the percentage of all team passing targets directed at a particular wide receiver while target rate measures targets per route run.
During Landry’s 2022 season with the Saints, his target share had declined drastically to 14.5% (ranked 66th) and his target rate to 20.2% (ranked 56th). That’s despite the fact that Landry entered the season with the expectation he’d be a starter.
With that being said, there wouldn’t be any expectations if he were to sign with the Eagles. Philadelphia already features arguably the best wide receiver duo in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith and their next two receivers — Watkins and Zaccheaus — are viable slot receivers.
Furthermore, while the Eagles are lacking receiver bodies on the 53-man roster, they stocked up on receivers on their initial practice squad. In fact, they feature four receivers on their practice squad in Greg Ward, Britain Covey, Devon Allen and Joseph Ngata. In other words, they could call up any one of those receivers on game day if Watkins and/or Zaccheaus is injured.
The idea of signing Landry is a nice thought considering his experience and the value he could bring as a secondary receiver. However, with the Eagles carrying eight receivers in the organization — Ward also has experience as a starter with Philadelphia — it’s hard to envision the team making a concerted effort to sign Landry at this stage of the season.
The idea of signing Landry is more of a possibility if one of the Eagles’ top four receivers is out for an extended period of time.