Over the last few seasons, The Philadelphia Eagles have had their fair share of injuries, taking it to an extreme in 2019. While quarterback Carson Wentz gets a substantial amount of heat for his inability to stay healthy, Alshon Jeffery isn’t far behind.
A Long List of Injuries
After signing a $14 million contract with a four-year extension worth $52 million in 2017, Jeffery’s regular season was not as productive as most would have liked. Both his 789 yards and 13.8 yards per reception he produced were the second-lowest of his career.
In the postseason, he did a 180 with big catches during Super Bowl LII.
Unbeknownst to fans, Jeffery played through the entirety of the season with a shoulder injury. He underwent rotator cuff surgery two weeks later.
Jeffery returned in Week 4 for the 2018 season and redeemed himself.
In 13 games, he finished with 65 catches for 843 yards and six touchdowns — the most since 2014 with the Chicago Bears. Towards the end of the season, he suffered from broken ribs. This was ultimately blamed for his first dropped ball out of 35 pass targets during a game with the New Orleans Saints, ending the Eagles season.
The dropped ball rocked Philly.
Jeffery states, “It sucks right now. Everyone in the locker room, we’re all down. Like I said, I let my teammates down, I let the city of Philadelphia down. That’s on me. We’ll be back next year for sure. One play don’t define me, it happens. It’s part of football. I just hated the way it happened in the playoffs, and it was the final moment.”
Jeffery returned in 2019 with extreme motivation. In Week 2, he left the game early with another injury — this one to the calf. He returned two weeks later and, in Week 9, sustained a hip injury, forcing him to miss the next two games. After Week 13, he was placed on the injured reserve list with a foot injury.
He underwent surgery to repair his Lisfranc injury in December 2019. Since then, he has been in rehab, leaving Philly to wonder when and if he would return back to the field.
Alshon Jeffery’s Return to the Eagles
Last Tuesday, Jeffery was placed on the Active/PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, counting towards the active roster.
Before the start of the regular season, he will undergo medical clearance. If he fails to pass, he will be placed on the Reserve/PUP list, remaining sidelined for at least the first six weeks.
Luckily for the team, the Eagles have six other viable receivers — DeSean Jackson, John Hightower, J.J Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, Quez Watkins, and rookie Jalen Reagor. Marquise Goodwin has opted out of the season.
While many Eagles fans may seem skeptical about his return, head coach Doug Pederson has confidence in his recovery.
Pederson stated, “He’s doing extremely well…So I’m excited with where he’s at. Even though, yeah, we missed the spring and had this pandemic, he was still working and rehabbing and doing everything that he could to get himself ready for the season.”
Is Jeffery Worth The Trouble?
Given Jeffery’s current lack of strength, a trade at this point is unlikely. What the Eagles need is to focus on the positive.
Despite his injuries last season, Jeffery was the leading wide receiver in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. He also ranks fifth among all NFL pass catchers with 17 red zone touchdown receptions since becoming an Eagle.
Does this ultimately mean that everything else can be overlooked? Right now, the answer is unknown. It’s possible, though, that Jeffery returns with extreme motivation willing to lay everything out on the line. After all, his contract ends in 2021, and this could be the last chance to ensure a prolonged paycheck.
As we enter unfamiliar territory this season, given the nationwide pandemic, Jeffery will be needed more than ever. With the return of DeSean Jackson, the duo would be an upgrade.