Nelson Agholor

Eagles Exercise Agholor’s 2019 Option

Nelson Agholor‘s breakout 2017 season turned around his career, and the Eagles aren’t going to let 2018 become a contract year for the emerging wide receiver.

Philadelphia will exercise Agholor’s fifth-year option, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), and the USC product will be under team control through 2019.

Agholor stands to earn $9.387MM if he’s on Philly’s roster in 2019. These options are guaranteed for injury only, but it appears a near-certainty that Agholor will be part of the Eagles’ equation in ’19.

The Eagles traded Jordan Matthews to the Bills last summer, largely because of Agholor’s progress en route to commandeering the team’s slot role. He thrived in that capacity during the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship season, catching 62 passes for 768 yards and eight touchdowns. Each of those numbers is more than what Agholor totaled in 2015 and ’16 combined.

Both Agholor and Alshon Jeffery are signed through at least 2019 now, furthering the Eagles’ security at wideout when such an arrangement previously didn’t exist entering last season, when Jeffery was on a one-year deal and Agholor teetering on the bust fringe.

East Notes: Cousins, Eagles, Jets, Pats, Bills

Should the Redskins place the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins, a grievance from the quarterback’s camp could follow. And Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk expects the quarterback’s side to successfully prevent Washington from tagging him again. Florio cites a section of the CBA that indicates a team that intends to use the tag must have a “good faith intention” to employ that player the following season. The Redskins having agreed to trade for Alex Smith, and having terms in place for an extension once that trade processes, essentially signals they do not plan to employ Cousins at or around $34.47MM this season. With other complications of a possible Cousins tag potentially emerging, the Redskins don’t look to be in line to succeed if they were to go down this path.

Here’s the latest from the East divisions:

  • The Eagles currently hold the least amount of projected cap space (being $9MM-plus over the cap as of Saturday), and Geoff Mosher of FanRag Sports notes Howie Roseman would like to get a head-start on future caps by reaching an extension with breakout wideout Nelson Agholor. While no 2014 first-round pick has signed an extension yet, Mosher writes Roseman would probably like to extend the Chip Kelly-approved 2015 first-rounder this offseason and expects — if that comes to fruition — that price to be at around $9-$10MM per year. That would stand to lower Agholor’s 2019 fifth-year option number, slated to come in at $9.5MM. But with Agholor set for a bigger role in the Eagles’ offense, which Mosher does not expect to include Torrey Smith, he could bet on himself and see if he can drive up his value with a strong 2018.
  • This offseason will also be important for Jay Ajayi, whose contract expires after the ’18 slate. But Ajayi’s history of knee trouble — which helped lead to the Boise State product falling to the fifth round in 2015 — could induce Roseman to be careful about an extension, Mosher writes. Corey Clement‘s Super Bowl performance may put the ex-UDFA on the radar to be the leading Eagles back in the near future, Mosher writes, which would affect Ajayi’s long-term standing.
  • Martellus Bennett did not end up playing much of a role for the AFC champions this season post-waiver claim, and ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss does not expect his second Patriots stint to last much longer. Reiss expects the Patriots will decline his $2MM option (which would trigger a $3.6MM 2018 base salary and $2.6MM roster bonus). Bennett said he intended to retire after last season but has yet to formally announce anything. Of course, he was embroiled in a contentious situation with the Packers at the time of that proclamation.
  • Two AFC East tackles are cap-casualty candidates in the view of OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald. The Jets will save $4.67MM by cutting Ben Ijalana, who has mostly served as a backup aside from his 13 starts in 2016. The Bills may have a tougher decision regarding Cordy Glenn, but since signing a five-year extension in 2016, the formerly durable left tackle has has struggled to stay healthy. It would cost the Bills $9.6MM in dead money to cut Glenn, with $4.85MM coming Buffalo’s way in savings, and Fitzgerald could see the team putting him on the trade block. The Bills have second-rounder Dion Dawkins as an in-house replacement option and could see if another team would gamble on Glenn given the dearth of available tackle talent.

Reactions From Bills’ Two-Trade Day

The Bills reshaped their team and 2018 draft with two trades on Friday afternoon. Buffalo unloaded Sammy Watkins to the Rams for E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick. The Bills then shipped Ronald Darby to the Eagles for Jordan Matthews and a third-rounder. Here’s the latest fallout from these deals.

  • Eagles GM Howie Roseman said the team didn’t shop Matthews but acknowledged the fourth-year wideout being in trade rumors since March accelerated the actual trade. Roseman, per Zach Berman of Philly.com (on Twitter) said when trade rumors are out there, “people call.” Roseman added Darby — a 2015 second-round pick — having two years left on his rookie contract cemented the deal for the Eagles. “The big factor for us was we weren’t getting a free agent back, too,” Roseman said (via Berman, on Twitter). “We wouldn’t have done the trade if a player had one year left.”
  • A perpetual injury risk, Watkins seeing another team take a chance on him in a contract year indicates belief he can stay healthy, ESPN.com’s Stephania Bell tweets. Bell adds a member of the Bills medical staff is now with the Rams. Watkins missed eight games last season and three in 2015. He played in all 16 games as a rookie.
  • ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano picked up a vibe while visiting Eagles camp the team was worried about their cornerbacks, and he notes the team is high on 2015 first-round wideout Nelson Agholor as a late-blooming talent. Although, he added the caveat of Agholor’s camp emergence could partially be due to Philly’s substandard corner situation. Graziano adds the Bills were worried about being too young at corner as well. Buffalo has overhauled its cornerback corps this offseason, cutting Nickell Robey-Coleman, letting Stephon Gilmore defect to New England and now trading Darby. The Bills added Shareece Wright, Tre’Davious White, Leonard Johnson and now Gaines. Darby is the latest Bills corner to join the Eagles, following Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks. Graziano notes Darby is a higher-ceiling talent than anyone the Eagles previously had.
  • Graziano added Jordan Matthews not receiving a contract extension so many of his teammates did recently was a bad sign for his future in Philly. Berman points out (via Twitter) Alshon Jeffery is the receiver the Eagles will try to keep long-term. Jeffery signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia in March. A Matthews re-up may have gotten in the way of that for an Eagles team that’s seen the aforementioned extensions tie up its 2018 cap for the time being. The Eagles as of now are projected to have just $1MM in 2018 space.
  • The Rams were the only team to not receive a cornerback in these trades, but Wade Phillips is confident in his group. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) that means Kayvon Webster as well. The 2013 third-round pick’s a bit of an enigma in being buried behind Denver’s dominant trio for three seasons, but he’s in line to start in Los Angeles now. Robey-Coleman and Webster are now the top two candidates to play opposite Trumaine Johnson.
  • LeSean McCoy weighed in on the deal and praised his outgoing teammate while tabbing Matthews — his teammate in Philly for a year — as an inferior receiver to Watkins. “If you compare the two, it’s obvious you can agree who is better,” the Bills running back said, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. McCoy added (via Rodak) he can relate to Watkins being traded for a player who he’s “probably better than” from the Eagles-Bills 2015 swap of McCoy and Kiko Alonso.
  • Watkins was due a $2.4MM bonus last week, according to OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald (on Twitter). He notes unless there was an unreported adjustment in the contract, the bonus was the Bills’, and not the Rams’, responsibility.

Extra Points: Agholor, Eagles, Steelers, Robinette

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • The Eagles signed free agent wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason, putting former first-rounder Nelson Agholor‘s spot on the depth chart in doubt. However, the 24-year-old made it clear that he embraces the competition. “I think I was worried about taking such a large leap in a day. It’s all about getting better consistently each day, even if it’s just a little bit,” Agholor told ESPN.com’s Tim McManus. “Some of the best players in this league, they didn’t just become really great the first day they’re there. It took a process and continuous progression every day, so that’s my focus right now.” In 28 career games, Agholor has collected 59 receptions for 648 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Earlier this offseason, the Eagles signed safety Rodney McLeod to a five-year, $37MM deal ($17MM guaranteed). The team has apparently slightly altered the contract to open up some cap space, as Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com tweets that the team saved $2.4MM by converting $3.225M of his salary into a bonus.
  • There have been whispers that the Steelers could convert William Gay to safety or even release the veteran. However, as Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times notes, the 32-year-old is seemingly still the team’s slot cornerback ahead of Senquez Golson and Cameron Sutton. Gay has spent 10 seasons with the Steelers, and last year was the first time since 2010 that he started less than 10 games.
  • We learned yesterday that The Air Force Academy had barred wideout Jalen Robinette from graduating, putting both his Air Force and NFL future in doubt. Following the announcement, the player’s agency released a statement to Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post: “Jalen Robinette is currently awaiting a determination on a non-criminal disciplinary proceeding. Jalen continues to look forward to serving the country that he loves and remains committed and loyal to the United States Air Force.” Robinette finished his collegiate career as the team’s all-time leader in receiving yards.

NFC Notes: Hawks, Giants, Eagles, Cowboys

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported Thursday that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been holding a grudge against both quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Caroll since the team’s devastating Super Bowl XLIX loss to the Patriots in 2015. But Sherman and defensive end Michael Bennett insist that’s not true (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). “It’s just a bunch of nonsense from ‘anonymous’ sources. Can never put much gravity of things like that,” said Sherman, who, according to Wickersham, “allowed himself to imagine playing for the Cowboys” when Seattle placed him on the trade block earlier this spring. Bennett, meanwhile, dismissed the article as “trash” and “all gossip.”

The latest from the NFC East…

  • In an interview with 105.1 FM in New York on Thursday, now-Bears wide receiver Victor Cruz implied that the Giants didn’t involve him in their offense more last year because they knew they’d release him in the offseason (per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). “Halfway through the year, you’re like, ‘OK, I’m balling,’ and then the other half I’m not getting the ball,” he said. “And you’re just like, ‘What’s going on?’ It was like, ‘OK, I see what’s happening. They don’t want me here anymore.’” Continued Cruz, who caught 39 of 72 targets in 2016: “If I played well, they owed me a ton of money that next year. So it was like, ‘let’s get Cruz off the books.'” Unsurprisingly, head coach Ben McAdoo refuted Cruz’s claims, telling reporters that “there is no accuracy” to the wideout’s theory (via Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today).
  • Cutting receiver Nelson Agholor would cost the Eagles more money than they’d save ($4.68MM versus $2.56MM), but his roster spot nonetheless looks to be in jeopardy, writes Andrew Kulp of CSNPhilly.com. Philadelphia signed two proven receivers in March, Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, to join Jordan Matthews, which could further marginalize Agholor. A first-round pick just two years ago, Agholor caught only 59 of 114 targets and three touchdowns from 2015-16.
  • It continues to look as though Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins will move to right tackle after functioning as a left guard during his first two seasons. Collins has lined up solely at right tackle during organized team activities this week and will likely continue to do so leading up to the season, according to Kate Hairopoulos and Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. The position opened up in Dallas when starter Doug Free retired earlier this offseason, and if Collins fills it, either Jonathan Cooper or Emmett Cleary could take over at left guard, per Hairopoulos and George.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Romo, Agholor

Where will Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo wind up this offseason? The Broncos, Jets, and Bears would be the most obvious fits for the Cowboys quarterback, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal opines. Beyond those teams, the Cardinals could be a possibility if Carson Palmer retires. Meanwhile, the Bills and Texans represent “longshot” landing spots for the veteran. Buffalo already has a QB in Tyrod Taylor, but his contract gives them an out if they see Romo as the better option to win right now. In Houston, Brock Osweiler could use another QB to push him, but they’d probably look to a younger player.

Here’s more out of the NFC East:

  • The Eagles will enter the offseason with just $9.6MM in cap space, meaning that they will have to make some moves in the spring. Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com runs down a handful of cap casualty candidates, but says that wide receiver Nelson Agholor is unlikely to get cut. That’s because cutting Agholor would leave $4.6MM in dead money on the cap versus $2.1MM in savings. The Eagles could theoretically trade him and absolve themselves of that dead money, but they’re not likely to find a strong market for him. High-priced players who could go include tackle Jason Peters, defensive lineman Connor Barwin, and linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
  • Eagles coach Doug Pederson says there is a good chance Agholor is active this week, Shorr-Parks of NJ.com tweets. Agholor was a healthy scratch against Green Bay on Monday and Pederson has declined to give specifics on that decision. In other Agholor news, he remains under NFL investigation for his involvement in an alleged rape over the summer.
  • Is Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins playing himself into the $24MM/year range? One former agent says yes.
  • The Giants auditioned a quartet of safeties earlier this week.

Eagles’ Agholor Still Under NFL Investigaton

Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor was not charged in connection with a rape accusation that was made against him this summer, but he is not out of the woods in terms of potential league discipline. The NFL’s investigation is still ongoing, according to Mark Eckel of NJ.comNelson Agholor (vertical)

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A source close to the situation says the recently league sent its Director of Investigations, Kia Roberts, to the gentleman’s club where the alleged incident transpired. Roberts went fact finding there last week, at the same time Eagles head coach Doug Pederson decided to bench Agholor against the Packers. When asked about the reason for benching Agholor today, Pederson offered little in the way answers. He did imply that the decision was football-based, however (link):

I just think he … the biggest thing is just, seeing the way the offense kind of works. Seeing how the game kind of unfolds. How guys react in certain situations. And I wanted him to put himself in the game situations and see how he would react, see how he would play, see how he would run that route. And its a lot easier to do that from a removed position where you can kind of see it from a big picture with calmer eyes where the pressure and stress isn’t on you to perform. That is what I am hoping he takes away from this, and learns from this down the road.”

Agholor recently admitted he’s fighting a “mental battle” on the field and he has been seeing a sports psychologist as of late. The potential for a significant suspension could also be weighing on Agholor, who hasn’t really looked the part of a former first-round pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Forte, Gronk, Pats, Fins, Eagles

Before signing a three-year, $12MM deal with the Jets in free agency last March, running back Matt Forte also drew interest from the AFC East rival Patriots, he told Connor Hughes of NJ.com Wednesday. The Pats’ attempt to woo him came too late, however. “My agent told me they called. I asked if they talked about anything, and he said they just wanted me to come for a visit,” said Forte. “I said I’m already here about to sign, so, I didn’t feel like that would be right.”

Forte has been productive in his age-30 season (911 total yards, eight touchdowns), but the 3-7 Jets are out of playoff contention and the 8-2 Patriots are the division’s top team. Statistically, New England’s No. 1 back, bargain signing LeGarrette Blount, is having a better season on the ground than Forte. Blount has piled up 802 rushing yards (compared to Forte’s 732) to go with a slightly superior per-carry average (4.0 to 3.9) and 12 scores.

More from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is not expected to play Sunday against Forte’s Jets, per Dianna Russini of ESPN (Twitter link). Gronkowski suffered a perforated lung Nov. 13 in a loss to the Seahawks and missed the Patriots’ win over the 49ers last week as a result. The all-world weapon has sat out a total of three games this year, but New England hasn’t yet lost without him.
  • Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor admitted he’s fighting a “mental battle,” and head coach Doug Pederson won’t commit to playing him Monday against Green Bay, writes Tim McManus of ESPN.com. A reduced role for Agholor is a “real possibility,” Pederson said Wednesday, adding that Agholor has seen a sports psychologist recently. “Every team has them and I think it’s good, whether they’re going through stuff or not, to keep talking through some issues,” stated Pederson. Agholor hasn’t lived up to his first-round draft status on the field since going 20th overall in the 2015 draft. Plus, as of late October, he was under league investigation for an offseason rape accusation that didn’t lead to charges.
  • Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan practiced Wednesday for the first time in almost two years and “felt good,” but whether he’ll play this season is up in the air. “I don’t know,” Jordan told Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald. “It’s kind of hard to tell. It’s my health, man. It’s my body. If my body tells me I’m not ready to go out there and perform with the best athletes, I’m not going to put myself out there. The way everything’s been going, it’s been going well. I’ve got high hopes for myself to go out and compete before the season ends.” Jordan, whom the Dolphins chose third overall in the 2013 draft, has missed 32 of 58 regular-season games – 22 because of various suspensions – and has been out all of this year after undergoing two knee surgeries in the summer.
  • The Eagles signed special teamers Donnie Jones (punter), Chris Maragos (safety) and Jon Dorenbos (long snapper) to contract extensions last week. Details on the deals Jones and Maragos inked are now out, via Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter links): Jones’ three-year pact is worth $5.5MM ($1MM fully guaranteed) and maxes out at $5.8MM with Pro Bowl incentives. Maragos’ extension, also for three years, is worth $6MM ($2.25MM fully guaranteed) and carries a $6.3MM max with Pro Bowl incentives.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFL Still Investigating Agholor, Bradham

Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor was not charged in connection with a rape accusation that was made against him earlier this summer, but the league is continuing to review Agholor under the league’s personal conduct policy, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan (article via Tim McManus of ESPN.com).

Nelson Agholor (vertical)

A dancer at Cheerleaders Gentlemen’s Club in Philadelphia accused Agholor of rape back in June, an accusation that launched a police investigation. That investigation, however, yielded insufficient evidence to charge Agholor with any wrongdoing, which led to the following statement from Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams:

“The District Attorney’s Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit and detectives from the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit thoroughly investigated the allegations of sexual assault against Nelson Agholor. As a result of this joint investigation, our staff and the Police reached the conclusion that we lacked sufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr. Agholor, therefore no charges will be filed.”

Agholor, selected in the first round of the 2015 draft, has not demonstrated a great deal of on-field improvement in 2016 after a disappointing rookie campaign. The USC product has caught 16 passes for 181 yards and a score, and he has shown little to suggest that he could develop into the top-flight receiver that the Eagles expected. A suspension would certainly not help matters.

McManus adds that the NFL is also reviewing a pair of incidents involving Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham. In July, Bradham was reportedly part of a six-person group that began arguing with a Hilton Bentley hotel employee over the amount of time it took to receive an umbrella they had apparently purchased. The scene grew violent, and the worker was struck over the head with a glass bottle, and, according to the police report, Bradham “without provocation, struck the victim in the nose with a closed fist, causing the victim to fall to the ground.” Bradham was charged with aggravated battery, a second-degree felony, as a result of that incident.

Bradham was then arrested earlier this month for bringing a loaded gun to Miami International Airport. Officials at the time said it was clear that there was no criminal intent, but they had to arrest Bradham given his pending assault case.

Bradham signed a two-year, $7MM deal with the Eagles this offseason, and he has started each of the club’s five games in 2016, compiling 16 tackles and an interception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Philly D.A.: No Charges For Nelson Agholor

Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams formally announced today that Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor will not face charges in connection with a June rape claim. Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that the USC product would not be charged. Nelson Agholor (vertical)

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The District Attorney’s Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit and detectives from the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit thoroughly investigated the allegations of sexual assault against Nelson Agholor. As a result of this joint investigation, our staff and the Police reached the conclusion that we lacked sufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr. Agholor, therefore no charges will be filed,” the D.A. said in a statement.

Even though Agholor will not be charged, there’s still a chance Agholor could face discipline from the league. By the same token, his odds of receiving a fine or a suspension have probably gone down with today’s news.

Last month, Agholor reportedly agreed to pay an exotic dancer $1,400 for their time together in a private room. When she left before the allotted time they agreed upon, Agholor only paid her $800. The dancer was said to have left the bar without informing management of the alleged rape while multiple dancers at the club told management that Agholor didn’t do anything wrong.

Agholor, the No. 20 overall pick in the 2015 draft, caught 23 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown in 13 games as a rookie.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.