You can see what's happening. The chemistry and the comfort level between quarterback Carson Wentz and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is growing, and so is the production on the field. So it makes sense, as the Eagles announce a four-year contract extension for Jeffery, that the expectations should continue to grow.
As the Eagles boarded the flight for Seattle and the start of a three-game road swing, the news came down that the Jeffery has signed an extension to keep him in Philadelphia through the 2021 season. It is another move for the Eagles to have continuity with their core players, and just as the contract extension signed by defensive tackle Tim Jernigan a month ago keeps a valuable piece in place for the defense, extending Jeffery does the same for the offense.
Jeffery took a chance in free agency last spring, reportedly spurning an opportunity to sign elsewhere for more money and more years. He wanted to be reunited with his wide receivers coach from his best years with the Chicago Bears, Mike Groh, and he wanted a chance to play with Wentz, who players around the league saw as an up-and-coming second-year quarterback.
So Jeffery signed a one-year contract with the Eagles, hoping that the season would play out with success from every angle.
Turns out, Jeffery made the right call.
He's got 43 receptions for 619 yards and 7 touchdowns, 5 of those scores coming in the last four weeks. Jeffery and Wentz are very much on the same page, something Groh notices and appreciates.
"I like the growth that they've had throughout the course of this season," Groh said. "It's obviously been a process with those two, but getting more and more comfortable each and every week and being able to do more things, understanding each other's body language, the subtle look here, the subtle look there and being able to do some things out there during the course of a game."
Jeffery added an immediately legitimacy, along with the addition of Torrey Smith in free agency, as the Eagles looked to upgrade a receiving corps that needed help after a struggling 2016 season. Think about it this way: Last year when the Eagles played at Seattle Wentz was throwing to the likes of Dorial Green-Beckham, Paul Turner and Bryce Treggs, along with Jordan Matthews and an inconsistent Nelson Agholor.
The Eagles traded Matthews, who was very productive in his time with the Eagles, moved on from Green-Beckham, Turner and Treggs, gained great dividends from an improved Agholor this season and inserted Smith and Jeffery into the starting lineup and now lead the league in scoring and in touchdown efficiency in the red zone.
Jeffery, who defenses must account for, has been a big reason for that improvement.
"I'm just out there working hard and having fun," Jeffery said last week after catching 5 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown to help defeat his former team, Chicago, 31-3. "I love it here. I've been so happy playing in Philadelphia and with this offense. I think Carson and me, we've made great strides together. It's going good."
, linebacker Nigel Bradham, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Beau Allen and tight end Trey Burton) but taking first Jernigan and now Jeffery off of that list is huge.
"Alshon has been a big part of what we do," head coach Doug Pederson said a few weeks ago. "He's a team player, works hard and you see what he means to the offense. Even if he's not the target, he's someone who the defense pays a lot of attention do, and that opens up opportunities for other guys. Alshon just wants to win. He isn't here to build his stats. He's here to win."
And now he's here beyond 2017, giving the foundation that he and Wentz are building now more of a chance to flourish and develop. Continuity at wide receiver is an important part of success as we've learned. Changing out the pieces is challenging. With Jeffery in the fold, and with Smith signed and with Agholor playing so well and with youngsters Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson and Marcus Johnson improving, the Eagles have a good thing going at wide receiver. They're still going to challenge the position, but they have a developing group in place for Groh to work with.
It was a risk that Jeffery took, and one that the Eagles took, way back in March. And it came from nowhere. Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles? For one year? How would THAT work out????
Well, now we know. Jeffery and the Eagles have proven to be a great fit, with more to come in the future.