Eagles releasing Alshon Jeffery makes draft plans clear

The cap-strapped Philadelphia Eagles expectedly released wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

After finishing in last-place in the NFC East, there was expected to be some turnover across the Philadelphia Eagles organization.

The team fired Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson after their season ended and traded quarterback Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts. But their biggest issue was getting under the salary cap. After officially releasing wide receiver DeSean Jackson on Monday, the team also made another expected move involving a fellow member of the receiving corps.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Eagles are set to release veteran wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

Wide receiver an obvious NFL Draft need for Eagles

Jeffery played a pivotal role in the Eagles winning their first Super Bowl during the 2017 season. But in the years since, he was sidelined with a variety of injuries. In his four seasons with the team, Jeffery recorded 171 receptions for 2,237 yards and 20 touchdowns.

With Jeffery about to be shown the door, head coach Nick Sirianni will realize that the team is in desperate need for some pass-catchers. Luckily for them, they hold the sixth-overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and have their choice in the top prospects in the class.

LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase was long distinguished as the best wide receiver in the 2021 draft class, and still is. Even though Chase opted out of the 2020 season, Chase is essentially guaranteed to be selected within the top-10 picks.

Then, there are two Alabama wideouts in Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. Waddle is coming off a fracture ankle suffered in the middle of Alabama’s National Championship-winning season, but is still considered a top-three talent at his position.

Smith shined in Waddle’s absence, as he caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. Those stats, along with his explosive play on the field, helped Smith become the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard did so in 1991.

While the Eagles could opt to target a quarterback with their first-round pick, it is quite obvious to everyone that the team lacks a legitimate playmaker in the passing game. And based off the latest chatter and a variety of mock drafts, the Eagles will have their choice of one of the top three receivers in the upcoming draft. Jeffery’s release may have tipped the team’s hand heading into draft night.