For the first time in at least two seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles have too many mouths to feed at the wide receiver position. DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward are all fighting for snaps and ready to bust out.
They also have interesting wild cards in John Hightower, Quez Watkins, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Jhamon Ausbon, Michael Walker. While there were fleeting rumors of the Eagles possibly trading for disgruntled New England Patriot N’Keal Harry, they appear primed to fly into the 2021 campaign with what they have. Or do they?
Inside the Birds’ Geoff Mosher added a new name to the mix: Josh Doctson. The former Washington Football Team receiver opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns and, according to reports, headed overseas to Africa for a humanitarian mission.
But the 28-year-old may be ready to resume his football career and the Eagles have had “internal discussions” about him, per Mosher. Maybe the organization believes it can pull something out of the 22nd overall pick from the 2016 NFL draft. He is a big target (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) with legitimate hops. Mosher wrote the following:
I know that they’ve internally discussed the idea of bringing [Josh Doctson] in and I know they have some interest based on what I’m saying here, I just don’t know if other teams are pursuing him, if he’s like Steven Nelson where he’s got to make a decision. I don’t know the peripheral about that, I just know that the Eagles have talked about him and we’ll see if they make a move there.
But if you’re bringing him in, you’re bringing him to say, if he’s healthy, he’s still got the good size for the position, he is a former first-round pick, maybe we can coax something out of him. Doctson was once seen as a wide receiver who had some talent and should be a playmaker in the NFL and he does have some experience.
Doctson has mostly been seen as a first-round bust after accumulating only 1,100 yards on 81 receptions during stops in Washington and Minnesota. The New York Jets signed him in 2020 to compete for outside wide receiver snaps with Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims, but he decided to skip the year.
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Molding Young Receivers on Roster
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has a reputation for developing young receivers, something he put vividly on display during spring minicamps. Molding the new kids will be a point of emphasis once training camp opens on July 28. The Eagles invested first-round picks in back-to-back years on two receivers (Smith, Reagor).
“I think that’s on us as coaches. We’ve got to develop these guys week in and week out,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen told reporters. “[Eagles wide receivers coach] Aaron Moorehead, so far, has done a heck of a job with these wide receivers.
“We’re looking forward to working with these young guys and getting them reps and getting them involved in the new system and really honing in on the details and the fundamentals and the technique of the position to make them successful. I think, if we can do that with them, they’re going to become good players.”
Updated Salary Cap Outlook
The Eagles signed cornerback Steven Nelson to a one-year, $2.5 million deal that could turn into $4.125 million with incentives. Nelson, who was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers, will eat into a bit of the Eagles’ salary-cap space for 2021 but the contract could have “four void years in it.”
If they wanted to take a flier on Doctson, none of that should matter as he would likely be available for the veteran minimum of roughly $990,000. Philadelphia is currently $3.26 million under the cap, per Over the Cap.