Eagles Offseason Preview: Wide Receiver

With the 2015 NFL season officially in the books, it is time to look ahead to next year. With a new regime in place, the Eagles could be looking at another turbulent offseason filled with deals, although there aren't many Pro Bowlers for them to cut this time around. 

From now until the 2016 NFL season begins officially on March 15 with the opening of free agency, I will take a look at the state of each of the Eagles position groups. I've already covered the offensive line and tight ends

Today, we look at the wide receivers.

Who's Here

Active Roster: Nelson Agholor, Seyi Ajirotutu, Josh Huff, Jordan Matthews, Jonathan Krause

Practice Squad: Freddie Martino

Who Stays

The Eagles spent a first-round pick on Agholor and despite his struggles as a rookie, he showed enough potential for the team to believe he can still develop into an elite outside weapon for Doug Pederson's offense. His elite athleticism and after-the-catch elusiveness can be breathtaking if he can figure out how to get his hands on the ball.

Matthews was the Eagles best receiver last year and for all his limitations as a player, he is a smart football player and a very good route runner. His size makes him an odd fit as a slot receiver, but he lacks the top-end speed or physicality to be a true weapon on the outside. Pederson may give him a shot opposite Agholor, but he is at his best when he can out-muscle smaller slot corners.

Huff is an interesting case, but he has value as a returner. Expect him to be back in that role next season and used as a Swiss-army knife of sorts in the offense in an effort to get him the ball in space where he is incredibly dangerous. 

Who Goes

The two guys whose heads were called for during the season are already gone. Miles Austin was cut during the year and Riley Cooper was handed his walking papers earlier this week. Cooper still has some value as a fourth receiver and should latch on somewhere, but Austin has probably played his final NFL snaps.

Chip Kelly signed Ajirotutu to a one-year deal last year and the special teams ace played well despite suffering a concussion early in the season. I doubt Pederson will put as much emphasis on special teams as his predecessor and with Chris Maragos, Bryan Braman and Trey Burton on the roster, there is no need for designating another roster spot for a special teams player. 

Martino and Krause are cheap and young enough that will probably stick around through training camp, but they don't offer much value to the 53-man roster. Depending how comfortable Pederson feels with the trio of Agholor, Huff and Matthews, the Eagles could sign a veteran wide receiver to take the pressure of the young guys.

Who's Available

Free Agency: The big name in free agency will be Alshon Jeffery, but it is unclear whether the Bears will be willing to re-sign him. Jeffery struggled with injuries throughout 2015, but after letting go of Brandon Marshall last offseason, the Bears will feel pressured to pony up and sign Jeffery long-term. If they can't strike a deal, the Bears will probably use the franchise tag on him. 

One guy who could interest the Eagles is Jermaine Kearse. He set career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns last year and could possibly get overpaid considering how weak the class of free agent wide receivers is. However, he is just 26-years-old and could be had for a shorter-term deal if he thinks that is the best way to maximize his earnings. 

NFL Draft: The top wide receiver in the draft is Ole Miss's Laquon Treadwell. You may remember Treadwell for this gruesome injury in 2014 where he broke his leg on the goal line and fumbled the ball, losing the game for the Rebels. Some mock drafts have him going to the Eagles at No. 13 and it would be a great value pick. Treadwell is listed at 6-3, 216 lbs, and has Dez Bryant-like physicality down the field. 

He may not last until the Eagles spot and considering they have spent first, second and third-round picks on receivers in the past two years, they will not feel the need to trade up to get him. 

The teams in front of the Eagles don't really have any need to spend a top draft choice on a wide out, so the potential for him dropping is certainly there, but a receiver-needy team could trade up to nab him. 

Fun Fact

Only two wide receivers in the past 10 years have won the Super Bowl and been named to an All-Pro team in the same season: Victor Cruz in 2011 and Marvin Harrison in 2006. 

As we witnessed this season with the Eagles, a poor receiving corps can handicap an offense, but the need for an elite receiver is completely overblown. The worst thing a team can do is spend large amounts of money on a player who will touch the ball less than 10 times per game.

Good wide receivers are important. Great wide receivers, picked up for almost unrealistic sums of money, are unnecessary.

Tucker Bagley is a columnist for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @tbagley515.

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