The Philadelphia Eagles have made it clear Alshon Jeffery would be back for the 2020 season and have bigger plans for their No. 1 wide receiver going forward. Even though Philadelphia added multiple "burners" at wide receiver in an attempt to revamp the offense and stretch the field, the team won't abandon Jeffery as part of their 2020 plans. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro revealed the team's plan is for Jeffery to be a "major part of the offense" as he recovers from a LisFranc injury that sidelined him last December. While it's still unclear if Jeffery will be back in time for the season opener in September, he is on track with his rehab.
DeSean Jackson is another receiver that was hampered by injuries in 2019, playing just 65 snaps for the Eagles as he was bothered by a sports hernia injury. Spadaro said Jackson is "on track to be 100 percent healthy" after missing the final nine games of the 2019 season (including playoffs). Jackson was expected to be activated from the injured reserve if the Eagles advanced to the divisional round of the NFC playoffs, but Philadelphia fell a week short of that goal.
The Eagles added plenty of talent at wide receiver in the draft, selecting Jalen Reagor in the first round, John Hightower in Round 5 and Quez Watkins in Round 6. They also acquired Marquise Goodwin from the San Francisco 49ers on draft weekend and restructured his contract, but Goodwin isn't guaranteed a roster spot. Neither Hightower nor Watkins are set for roster spots either since both are Day 3 picks, but both are being counted on as deep-ball threats for Carson Wentz.
Jeffery and Jackson are the only reliable options for the Eagles based on their track record. Philadelphia has three rookie wideouts that won't get the opportunity to participate in minicamp due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a veteran wide receiver in Goodwin who still needs to get acclimated to the offense and develop chemistry with Wentz. The Eagles also have 2019 second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on the roster, who needs to take strides in year two after struggling in his rookie campaign. Arcega-Whiteside will still be high on the depth chart, but he will have to compete with Reagor and Goodwin for playing time.
If Jeffery isn't ready by Week 1, Arcega-Whiteside could slot in at the "X" receiver spot until he returns. The Eagles are hoping Jeffery comes back to the offense sooner rather than later, having that big body at wideout to complement that speed.
Philadelphia isn't abandoning Jeffery, not as if the Eagles have a choice in the matter. They could designate Jeffery as a post-June 1 cut and refuse to eat $10,509,500 in dead cap space, but the franchise made it clear that's not an option.
"The priority for Alshon is to get healthy. Just talking to our PR staff and hearing the narrative of Alshon, he's a good player," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. "I think we lose sight of that a little bit and the things he can do when he's healthy. The toughness that he's shown in trying to bring a championship to our city, which he helped tremendously -- and to have another one."