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'Got to get him going:' How Eagles are approaching Reagor originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
They haven’t given up on Jalen Reagor. Why would they?
Whether or not the Eagles can salvage anything out of their 2020 1st-round pick remains to be seen, but simply because of his salary cap situation it makes sense for them to continue trying to turn him into a productive NFL player.
Reagor will cost the Eagles more in cap space if they cut him ($6.03 million in dead cap in 2022, $1.8 million in 2023) than if they keep him ($3.02 million in 2022, $3.6 million in 2023).
So there's nothing to lose.
Is it a longshot? Probably. But every NFL player develops at his own pace, and it looks like getting something out of Reagor this year is one of the Eagles’ projects this summer.
“He’s just been working consistently hard, man,” said Darius Slay, who’s always been a big supporter of Reagor. “Right now, he’s just been grinding.
“We brought A.J. (Brown) in, so A.J.’s teaching him a little bit, too,. So he’s understanding the game more.
“He’s still young. I think Reagor’s only 23 years old and in his third year going into the league and (23) was my second year in the league, so he’s still learning.
“He’s works hard, and we’ve got to get him going. That’s it. We’ve got to all be behind him.”
Slay is right, and Reagor doesn’t turn 24 until January. Through two years in the league, he has 64 catches for 695 yards and three touchdowns.
He’s among only four WRs in the last 40 years to start at least 10 games in each of his first two seasons and finish both with fewer than 400 yards. The others are Miles Boykin, Nelson Agholor and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
But the Eagles will keep trying.
“He's explosive,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said Friday. “That's one of his biggest assets. He's an explosive player. He still has that ability to run routes and be fast and strong and physical, and again, we're just continuing to improve on those things every single day.”
Agholor is the closest precedent if you’re looking for hope.
Nelly’s numbers his first two years were almost identical to Reagor’s – five fewer catches, 47 fewer yards, same number of touchdowns.
But he became a functional player over the next two years with 126 catches, just over 1,500 yards, 12 TDs and a brilliant Super Bowl. Then he had nearly 900 yards and eight TDs for the Raiders in 2020.
So it is possible. Stranger things have happened.
At best Reagor would be the Eagles' 5th WR behind Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal. And there's also steady Greg Ward in the mix and other projects such as Devon Allen, John Hightower and Britain Covey.
Reagor, the 21st player drafted in 2020, is one of two wide receivers the Eagles drafted in the early rounds in the years after the Super Bowl who's trying to jumpstart his career this summer.
J.J. Arcega Whiteside, a 2nd-round pick in 2019, has just 16 catches for 290 yards and one TD in three seasons. He caught just two passes last year.
He’s the only wide receiver drafted in the first or second round in the last 30 years to play at least 40 games and catch fewer than 20 passes in his first three seasons.
JJAW has converted to tight end this summer and faces even longer odds than Reagor.
“Those are two great men, two great guys and great players,” Jalen Hurts said. “They come in here with the mentality of going to work every day.
"They’re asking questions, they’re eager to learn, eager to do things right, execute their assignments and their job. I’m excited to see what they do for us this year.”
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