Why is Reagor still an Eagle? Roseman explains


This story was published at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday prior to the Eagles' trade of Jalen Reagor to the Vikings.

If Howie Roseman can’t trade you, nobody can trade you.

And that in a nutshell is why Jalen Reagor is still an Eagle.

Nobody is slicker and more creative in engineering trades than Roseman, who has made 106 trades since he became Eagles GM in 2010.

He would have loved No. 107 to be Reagor for anything or anyone anywhere, but he just couldn’t pull it off. Turns out Reagor has very little trade value. Who could have imagined?

So Reagor, the Eagles’ first-round pick in 2020, stays in Philadelphia, at least for now.

It wasn’t a shock Reagor survived final cuts, but Devon Allen, Deon Cain and Britain Covey each made a roster push of varying degrees and Cain in particular dramatically outplayed Reagor as a receiver throughout camp.

We all know how unproductive Reagor has been his first two NFL seasons. So why is he still here?

“I just felt like he made plays this summer, and it started right from the beginning, from Day 1 of training camp, and it continued on throughout the practices that we had,” Nick Sirianni said Tuesday after final cuts.

“You could definitely see the explosion — he's never lost that, right? He's had this explosion in his body, and he uses it to separate from the defense.”

More: A detailed breakdown of the Eagles' 53-man roster

Reagor did catch a few deep balls at practice, but he also played 65 snaps in the three preseason games as the Eagles were obviously showcasing him and had five catches for 43 yards. 

“I just thought he had a good camp and he made plays and he was more consistent this year throughout training camp,” Sirianni said.

Even though he’s starting his third season, Reagor is actually the youngest receiver on the team.

He’s younger than Allen and Covey — who were older undrafted rookies — and three years younger than Cain. He’s even 49 days younger than DeVonta Smith, last year’s first-round pick.

That’s not a reason to keep him, but it is interesting to note.

“I think when you look at Jalen, one of the things that one of our scouts said to me (Tuesday) is he was one of the only guys that practiced every day,” Roseman said. “The guy brought it every day. He worked on his craft. He had a great attitude, great energy. Obviously, he's a talented guy. He's 23 years old.”

A refresher on Reagor’s career so far:

He has 64 catches for 695 yards and three touchdowns in 28 games and 24 starts over two seasons since the Eagles made him the 21st pick in the 2020 draft.

His career average of 24.8 yards per game is third-lowest since 1970 by an Eagles wide receiver with at least 20 starts (ahead of Greg Lewis and Kenny Jackson). 

Of 70 NFL wide receivers drafted in the first round since 1970 who started at least 20 games in their first two seasons, only three had fewer yards. Only seven caught fewer passes. Only four had fewer TDs.

He’s never had 60 yards in a game. Darnell Autry, Chad Hall, Na Brown, Reno Mahe, Billy McMullen and Paul Turner all had 60 yards in a game for the Eagles at least once.

But after playing 511 offensive snaps as a rookie and 750 last year, Reagor doesn’t seem to have a clear role on offense these days. With Smith, A.J. Brown, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal ahead of him, it’s hard to imagine Reagor getting on the field very much.

He did return 31 punts last year, but his 7.3 average ranked 20th of 24 qualifying returners (one return per game). He did have a 73-yard TD against the Packers as a rookie. With Covey gone and Greg Ward on Injured Reserve, Kenny Gainwell and Watkins are probably the Eagles’ best punt return options at the moment.

If the Eagles had released Reagor, he would have counted $2.4 million in dead money. I asked Roseman if that was a factor in keeping him.

He didn’t say no.

“We're going to do whatever we think is in the best interest of the team,” Roseman said. “And we felt like there was no doubt in our mind that he deserved a role on this team.”

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