Eagles Pursuing Help At Wide Receiver

As things stand now, the Eagles would start the season with Reggie Brown and Hank Baskett as their starting wideouts. They'd like a little more depth at the position and are pursuing options that could be added between now and the start of the season.

Andy Reid isn't tipping his hand as to how many receivers will be on the opening day roster. If you look at the numbers, you have to figure that Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett, Greg Lewis and Darnerian McCants have all made the team. It also appears that Jason Avant is a lock to make the team and could possibly be ranked as high as third on the depth chart. After that, things get a little murky.

Jeremy Bloom could be placed on injured reserve, since every time that he moves, his injured hamstring seems to give him more problems. Jabar Gaffney was somewhat of a question mark after a slow start in camp, but has played much better the past couple of weeks and has likely saved his job on the roster. That leaves Todd Pinkston as the real question mark, depending on his health. He didn't look very healthy or very involved in the offense against Pittsburgh, leading to speculation that he may not be ready to start the season.

Pinkston's health and the lack of veteran leadership near the top of the depth chart has given rise to speculation that the Eagles will continue to scour the market for wide receivers.

One receiver who the Eagles are interested in is disgruntled New England Patriots receiver Deion Branch. The Pats have given Branch until this coming Friday to find a trade that the Patriots would accept to send him to another club and the Eagles are in the mix. The big drawback is the fact that the Eagles may not want to pay Branch the kind of money that he is looking for in a re-negotiated deal.

The Eagles are sniffing around at just what it would take to get Deion Branch from New England. It's thought that the Patriots will want at least a first round pick, plus, the Eagles would have to throw some pretty big bucks at Branch to get a deal done.
(Photo by Nick Laham / Getty Images)
The Vikings are one of the teams definitely interested in Branch and could be willing to give New England the kind of deal that they would be looking for to bring Branch to Minnesota. Scout.com NFL Expert Adam Caplan told PatriotsInsider.com that the Patriots are likely going to insist on a first round pick as compensation for Branch, who was the Patriots' leading receiver last season. Minnesota is looking for a replacement for Koren Robinson, who they cut loose last week after continued off-the-field issues.

The Eagles will likely rely heavily on the evalutaion of Branch by Jason Licht, their vice president of player personnel, who was a scout and player personnel evaluator for New England prior to coming to the Eagles. It's thought that Licht has told his colleagues with the Eagles that while Branch would be a nice addition, he may be a bit pricey to sign. The Eagles are also thought to not want to give up a first round pick in a deal to add a receiver.

A long shot option would be New Orleans' wide receiver Donte Stallworth, who has aggravated the Saints with his constant lack of work ethic. The Eagles - and other clubs - believe that Stallworth has a lot of talent, but that he would be a tough fit in the locker room because of his approach to the game. The Saints are shopping Stallworth and are looking for his replacement at the same time and have put themselves in the running to acquire Branch.

Branch has a deal in place for the 2006 season that would pay him $1.045 million as the final season of a five-year rookie deal that he signed in 2002. He has held himself out of camp and is reportedly looking for a deal that would guarantee him over $13 million in bonuses and guarantees and would pay him $40 million over five years; it's the type of deal that Indianapolis receiver Reggie Wayne recently signed. While the Eagles have some cap money to play with, it's thought that they won't want to put that much into Branch.

The Eagles don't appear desperate to add a veteran wide receiver and believe that while Pinkston may not be healthy at the start of the season, he won't have to miss too much time. With the price tag on Branch and the concerns over Stallworth's attitude, it's much more likely that the Eagles will keep an eye on the cuts that will be made between now and the start of the season to add a lower tier receiver, who would fit in a little lower on the depth chart and serve as a complement to Brown and Baskett.

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