The Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t cut former first-round pick Jalen Reagor, even if they wanted to. The wideout, who was clearly earmarked for the fifth spot on the depth chart, had a strong camp but lacked a true role in the offense, making his rookie contract more of a burden than a bargain.
That said, because Reagor was attached to a deal with significant guaranteed money, he would have cost $6 million to release, making it impossible to digest such a move. That’s why the Eagles needed a trade partner for Reagor, and while it took time beyond the final cut deadline to make a deal, GM Howie Roseman found a dance partner in the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday.
Grading the trade: Eagles send Jalen Reagor to Vikings
The Eagles traded Reagor to the Vikings on Wednesday for a pair of draft picks. The Vikings will send a 2023 seventh-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick — which can deescalate to a fifth-round pick based on statistical benchmarks — to the Eagles in exchange for Reagor.
The trade got the Eagles off the hook for the rest of Reagor’s guaranteed salary while also adding to their stockpile of picks over the next two years. Just one day after trading a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round selection to the New Orleans Saints for safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, the Eagles regained picks for both offseasons with this move.
Vikings trade for Reagor
Reagor is coming off his best summer in Philadelphia. He seems much more mentally focused and is in terrific shape. The former Day 1 pick didn’t miss a day of training camp, and he routinely made plays in practice, despite mostly working with the depth units. The Eagles clearly wanted to deal Reagor but were not opposed to keeping him as a last resort on the wideout depth chart.
That said, the Vikings, who fortunately selected All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson a pick after Reagor in 2020, were an ideal landing spot for the much-maligned receiver. After losing Bisi Johnson to a major injury, the Vikings needed a worthwhile speed threat who could play multiple positions. Reagor is particularly effective on deep shots, and he can play out of the slot and at the Z position. He can also return punts.
Reagor, at worst, is probably the fourth-best wideout on the Vikings’ roster, and Minnesota has him locked up for two seasons with a fifth-year option on deck if he surges in his new surroundings. Perhaps the Vikings hope he can be an eventual successor to Adam Thielen in the lineup opposite Jefferson.
Still, the Vikings are paying a decent price to bail out the Eagles from an anvil on their salary cap. A pair of selections, especially a 2024 fourth- or fifth-round pick, is a nice haul for the Eagles, who are dealing a player who clearly needed to be somewhere else.
With a new Vikings regime in place, it’s a worthwhile gamble if the squad believes in Reagor’s upside, which they clearly do. It’ll be interesting to see how Reagor is used in Minnesota.
The Eagles get a pair of picks from the Vikings
While Eagles fans will celebrate in the streets over Reagor’s departure, the trade does signal a clear admittance of failure for Philadelphia.
Roseman and the front office will take a load of heat for this pick for years to come. It could also be argued that head coach Nick Sirianni and wideout coach Aaron Moorehead failed to salvage this project of a player as well.
Still, the Eagles’ wideout room is stocked with unflinching upside and talent, and Reagor is being moved because he’s no longer a top-four player at the position.
The quartet of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Zach Pascal is likely a top-five unit in the NFL. Brown and Smith are budding stars, while Watkins and Pascal are exceptional role players. The Eagles are moving on from Reagor with more picks and talent at wideout than they’ve had in recent memory.
For the Eagles to land a pair of late-round picks for an uncuttable player — no matter who it is — that has to be considered a win. Now, they’ll be able to bring back a summer standout like Deon Cain or Britain Covey on the 53-man roster, potentially, as well.
UPDATE: It also should be noted that along with trading Reagor, the team’s 2020 first-round pick, the Eagles also waived their 2020 third-round pick, linebacker Davion Taylor, on Wednesday. Taylor played poorly during this year’s preseason after being selected as a long-term project on Day 2 of that draft.
Reagor’s fresh start
Reagor will play under his third coaching staff in as many years, but that’s actually a good thing. While he didn’t thrive under Sirianni or Doug Pederson, Reagor could benefit from playing under Kevin O’Connell with Kirk Cousins at QB. Reagor has a lot of the physical tools to succeed in the NFL, and getting out of a rough situation in Philadelphia could help him revamp his maligned career.
Through two seasons, Reagor produced 64 catches for 695 yards and three touchdowns. He’s not an irredeemable talent. So, with a new staff and a new organization to work with, Reagor could potentially bounce back with a new mindset.
This feels like a great opportunity for Reagor, as he will no longer be bogged down by his draft pedigree or who he was drafted ahead of. Instead, he will get to work with Jefferson and a traditional pocket passer, who is an accuracy upgrade over his previous signal-callers.