Eagles Wake-Up Call: Free-Agent Wide Receiver Options

Arrelious BennThe Eagles are getting thin at wide receiver.

First, Jeremy Maclin goes down for the season with a torn ACL, then on Tuesday Arrelious Benn suffers the exact same fate.

As it stands, DeSean Jackson will be relying on Riley Cooper (assuming he is accepted back into the locker room), Jason Avant and Damaris Johnson to help him carry the load. The rest of the group — Nick Miller, Ifeanyi Momah, Will Murphy, Greg Salas and Russell Shepard — have a total of 31 NFL receptions between them. Salas has 27 of them.

When Maclin got hurt, the plan was to search in-house for answers. But the Eagles are running out of options, and will have to take a harder look at the wide receiver market.

“We went through a whole bunch of lists; got boards up,” said Tom Gamble last week. “You’re checking medical, you’re checking background, you’re doing your tape work, you’re making sure multiple people have seen guys. You kind of have that, you see what’s here, and we’re ready to go.

“Most of the guys that are out there have played at a high level, usually there’s a problem, an issue, a medical, something out there that you have to kind of work through.”

A look at the top 10 receivers on the market, per Adam Caplan, and the possible “issues” that the Eagles are working through with them. (Warning: This list isn’t terribly impressive.)

Brandon Lloyd
Age: 32
Height/Weight: 6-0, 200
Lowdown:  The 10-year vet had 74 catches for 911 yards and four touchdowns in New England last season. There are some character concerns. The Patriots reportedly got tired of his behavior in the locker room and the practice field last season.

Laurent Robinson
Age: 28
Height/Weight: 6-2, 205
Lowdown:  Recently had workouts with the Niners and Saints, per reports. Missed nine games with the Jaguars last season because of concussions. Had 54 grabs and scored 11 touchdowns for Dallas in 2011.

Donald Jones
Age: 25
Height/Weight: 6-0, 205
Lowdown: Released by the Patriots on July 19. Has reportedly worked out for a couple teams since being let go but has yet to sign. Had 41 catches for 443 yards and four scores for the Bills last season.

Randy Moss
Age: 36
Height/Weight: 6-4, 210
Lowdown: Had 28 catches and three touchdowns for the Niners last year. Little reason to believe he’ll end up here.

Deion Branch
Age: 34
Height/Weight: 5-9, 195
Lowdown: Had 16 catches in 10 games for New England last season.

Brandon Stokley
Age: 37
Height/Weight: 6-0, 194
Lowdown: Peyton Manning was pushing for the Broncos to re-sign Stokley back in April, but that didn’t happen. Had 45 grabs and scored five times for Denver last season.

Chad Johnson
Age: 35
Height/Weight: 6-1, 192
Lowdown: Has had some legal troubles of late and hasn’t seen regular-season action since 2011.

Jabar Gaffney
Age: 32
Height/Weight: 6-2, 200
Lowdown: Appeared in just three games for Miami last season. He battled some injuries and was also suspended by the NFL for two games.

Roscoe Parrish
Age: 31
Height/Weight: 5-9, 175
Lowdown: Served as a kick and punt returner for Tampa last season. Had no catches.

Brandon Banks
Age: 25
Height/Weight: 5-7, 155
Lowdown: Spent the last three years in Washington. Has 11 career receptions. Also a kick/punt returner.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Great practice observations from Sheil, as always.

More details on Benn’s injury.

Cary Williams mixed it up with a Patriots receiver, and was promptly benched.

Teammates react to Cooper’s return. The receiver hopes he is here to stay.

Some depth chart analysis, courtesy of Mr. Kapadia.

The regular season will be here soon. Arm yourself with the Eagles Almanac.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Ashley Fox gives her thoughts on Cooper’s return.

It was risky for Chip Kelly to decide to bring Cooper back, and ultimately, in time, after the inevitable adversity of the regular season hits, it could prove to be foolish. The players can say what they want now, about how they forgive and can move on for the greater good of the team, but wait and see how they feel in October if the team comes off a three-game road trip and is looking at a 1-5 record. Some players can be happy that Cooper caught a “touchdown” pass in a joint practice with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, but what happens if he shrinks in the spotlight of a regular-season game in a starting role he has never been able to earn and has been given only after the man in front him (Jeremy Maclin) went down with an injury?

Then we’ll know. Then the real feelings will come out. That time is bound to come, and then we’ll know for sure how black players really feel about a white teammate calling another black man the N-word when he thought no one except his white friends was looking.

Bill Belichick sings the praises of Kelly. From Reuben Frank.

“I have so much respect for Chip [Kelly] and what he’s done,” Belichick said. “We’ve been friends for a while and I know he does a great job with this football team and the program that he’s run in Oregon.

“He’s a very innovative, creative guy. He’s got a great mind, he’s smart, and I think he’ll take advantage of whatever resources he can. We’ll see what that is. I’m sure he’ll give us plenty of trouble.”

Former Eagles owner Jerry Wolman has died.

COMING UP

Another practice with the Patriots at 12:30. I think today’s the day Kapadia gets up the courage to shake Tom Brady’s hand.

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