Eagles: Jalen Reagor will be on the roster in ’22, whether you like it or not

Every few weeks, Jalen Reagor’s name seems to pop up in Eagles discourse. More often than not, the conversations revolve around why the Eagles should part ways with the former first-round pick.

Earlier this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank argued that the Eagles will end up releasing Reagor before the season rolls around, writing, “There’s really no reason to keep Reagor around and waste a roster spot just to save some cap space. Nobody wants to release a first-round pick two years later, but I think the Eagles will.”

He’s far from the only Eagles pundit who shares this sentiment.

I respect Reub’s take, along with every other Eagles writer out there who sees it the same way, but I have to disagree.

You may not like it, you may tremble at the thought of it, but Jalen Reagor is going to be on the Eagles roster this season.

There are a few reasons why.

First and foremost, the cap hit Reagor will incur if he is released is about $2.5 million. It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but it’s enough to give pause. Of course, the Eagles have taken on bigger cap hits to get players off the team in recent years. In those instances, the Eagles essentially had no choice. Either they were completely washed up players who haven’t played a single down since leaving Philly, or they were bad locker room guys who just needed to go. Reagor is neither of those things.

He certainly hasn’t lived up to expectations, but he’s never been a finger pointer. Reagor barely even talks to the media. And if there was some underlying locker room issues with the kid, we’d likely know about it.

Secondly, he’s only 23 years old. Giving up on a first-round pick who’s about to enter his third year and won’t turn 24 until January of next year seems preposterous.

If Howie Roseman has kept JJAW around as long as he has, what makes you think he’ll pull the plug on someone who’s been more productive, is younger, and clearly has a skill set that can work in the NFL? Hell, Howie is even allowing JJ to switch positions to try and muster up some kind of production from him.

The final argument fans and pundits have proposed on the ‘cut Reagor’ front is that there simply isn’t any room for him on the roster anymore. With the additions of A.J. Brown and Zach Pascal this offseason, Reagor has to go.

I have a few rebuttals to this.

One, if there’s just one injury to the Eagles wide receiving corps, Reagor will be the first guy off the bench. Why sacrifice depth at a position that we’ve often seen get decimated with injuries pretty throughout the years?

Two, are we even sure Pascal is that much better than Reagor? Per Pro Football Focus, Pascal posted an offensive grade of 52.7 in 2021, the third-worst mark out of 115 qualifying receivers last season. His numbers were slightly better than Reagor’s last season, but he also played 84% of his team’s offensive snaps, whereas Reagor only played 67%.

Lastly, the idea that adding players to the wide receiver room automatically makes Reagor expendable is misguided. Let’s rewind to the 2017 offseason. Nelson Agholor had been just as, if not more, disappointing than Reagor in his first two NFL seasons. The Eagles go out and add Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and Jordan Matthews figured to slot right in as the third receiver. It didn’t feel like there was a lot of room for Agholor at that time either.

Once the preseason started, Matthews got traded and Jeffery entered the year injured. Agholor got his opportunity and ran with it, putting forth one of his best seasons to date.

There are just too many variables that can happen here. Getting rid of Reagor just to get rid of him makes zero sense. Now if we’re talking about a trade, that’s different. But there doesn’t seem to be any movement on that front either.

Howie is too smart to move on from Reagor right now. And more often than not, Howie makes the right call on these types of situations.

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