Today’s question comes from reader Matt:
Any free-agents-to-be playing this weekend that could be a fit for the Eagles?
Philadelphia Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman offered hints about the team’s offseason approach during his end-of-year news conference earlier this week. He noted that the team has to limit its dependence on “Band-Aids” that can help provide a boost in the short-term and instead build things in a more concrete fashion so that when a player like Carson Wentz is ready to take off, “the team is ready to take off with them.”
That doesn’t mean the front office will avoid signing stopgaps altogether, but it does suggest to me that the significant investments will be in young, ascending players that will be in their prime when the Eagles are ready to truly contend.
Stills (6-foot, 195 pounds) seems to fit the bill.
The 24-year-old out of Oklahoma had 42 catches for 726 yards and nine touchdowns for the Dolphins this season. A fifth-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2013, Stills was traded to Miami for linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and a third-round pick prior to the '15 season and has proven to be an asset for the Miami offense, particularly this season. The Eagles are in desperate need of a receiver that can stretch the field, and that happens to be Stills’ specialty. Possessing sub-4.40 second, 40-yard speed, Stills averaged 17.3 yards per catch in 2016 -- good for third in the NFL behind DeSean Jackson (17.9) and Chris Hogan of the New England Patriots (17.9).
ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker recently wrote that the wideout’s production “may price Stills out of Miami.”
Money is always the big X factor. Right now, the headline wide receiver free agents include the likes of Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Terrelle Pryor. If a couple of big names are retained by their current teams, suddenly the next tier of receivers move to the front of the line. Certainly, the Eagles won’t be the only team looking for a young speedster who has averaged 70 catches (17 ypc) and five touchdowns over the first four years of his career.
The Eagles are not flush with cash to spend -- they currently have the fourth-least amount of cap space ($9.4 million) for 2017, according to OverTheCap. But they'll likely make some moves to free up some space, and won't be afraid to use it on a potential core player that can help Wentz both now and in the future. Stills makes a lot of sense in that respect.