A day after rumors swirled about the Eagles involvement in trade talks for wide receivers Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery — from the 49ers and Bears respectively — Philly head coach Doug Pederson shot them down.
"There's no legitimacy to that," the coach said in his Wednesday press conference, "and I'm thrilled with the guys we have and going to work with them every day."
I think every team is trying to upgrade every position if you could, but not at this time, no."
Pro Football Talk, Adam Schefter and a bevy of other media outlets reported the trade rumors, and while Pederson could be right (the price tag for both could be pretty high), trading for a wide receiver would be a good fit for the 4-2 Eagles.
Both Smith and Jeffery are wideouts who have a proven track record and who can make big plays down the field — and the Eagles are lacking in the department. Despite having a quarterback in Carson Wentz who loves to go deep, and who has a pretty good arm, Philly hasn't gone vertical much. Is that due to game-by-game circumstance? Or is it because they lack the proper personnel?
"Nelson [Agholor] can stretch it; Josh [Huff] can stretch it," Pederson replied after he was asked about whether the Eagles wide receivers could go deep. "But I think it's protection and design of the play. When I think of stretching the field, I mean, a guy can run fast and that can be stretching the field, but who can really take the top off? Those two guys are two that can do that — and Bryce Treggs."
Treggs is on the 53-man roster but has been inactive throughout the regular season. Instead, Philly has relied on Agholor, Huff, Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green-Beckham.
The Eagles have the third least team receiving yards with just 1,324 on the year, more than only the Bills and Niners. In contrast, the Falcons have more than 1,000 more (though they've played one more game). Philadelphia has also collected the third fewest completions in the NFL.
The Birds' pass-catchers have also combined for the fourth highest drop rate in the NFL at 5.5 percent.
One way or another, the wide receiver position is a problem. And if the players on the current receivers don't step up they won't be with the club much longer. Both Smith and Jeffery are free agents this spring.