By Peter Gleason
Many of Eagles new coach Nick Sirianni’s assistants have worked with him at some point.
And when news broke that the Las Vegas Raiders intend to cut receiver Tyrell Williams at the start of the new league year (March 17), the Eagles became a natural landing spot.
Williams had his two best seasons under Sirianni in San Diego. He made 69 receptions for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016, all career-highs, while racking up 43 catches for 728 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. Sirianni was the wide receivers coach for the Chargers during that two-year span.
In fact, Williams went on record in 2016 to credit Sirianni for his breakout campaign. He admitted to being “lazy” in practice before the young position coach came in and gave him the business.
“You can’t come out to practice and take any plays off,” Williams told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “He’s always on you. … It keeps me focused. I kind of got rid of that (issue) in college, but just to make sure none of that has come back has been a big help for me.”
The Eagles are in a tear-down mode and part of their build-up includes going young.
They invested three draft picks last year in wide receiver — Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, Quez Watkins — and time is running out on veterans Alshon Jeffery (30) and DeSean Jackson (34). Both are expected to be either released or traded.
Meanwhile, that leaves Philly pretty devoid of veteran leadership at wide receiver. The average age at the position will be 23.6 for a group that includes Reagor, Hightower, Watkins, along with Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Let’s keep Marquise Goodwin off the depth chart because the team may decide to move on after his opt-out year.
Williams just turned 29, and he could play a vital role in developing the younger guys depending on his salary demands.
Williams made $11 million in base salary, per Spotrac, last year in Las Vegas.
However, his market value should be way down after missing the entire 2020 season with a torn labrum.