In an Eagles' off-season, it's rare that the subject of receiver has not come up. In years past, rumors linked the team to big-name pass catchers like Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin. But not this year.
As it stands now, the team is deep and talented at the position.
DeSean Jackson emerged as the team's big-play, go-to receiver and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in just his second season. Jeremy Maclin made an impression in his rookie year and promises to be even better in 2010. The sure-handed Jason Avant excels as the team's slot receiver, and behind him are veterans and one-time starters Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis.
As the starting wideouts in 2007, Brown and Curtis combined for 1,880 yards on 138 catches. Over the last two seasons, the two have combined for 874 yards on 66 receptions.
In 2008, Brown had a fantastic training camp and was poised for big things until a hamstring injury. That, along with a groin injury later in the season, really limited his production. Brown opened the 2009 season on the gameday inactive list the first two weeks, but went on to play the next 14 regular season contests, including two starts. He finished the year with nine catches for 155 yards.
Curtis, meanwhile, has been limited by sports hernia and knee injuries since catching 77 passes for 1,110 yards in his first season in Philadelphia in 2007. Injuries have limited Curtis to just 39 receptions the last two seasons. He has seen action in 12 regular season games during that span, including three games in 2009 in which he produced six catches for 77 yards.
It's amazing to look back at Philadelphia's receiving corps and see that this group was seven-deep entering the 2009 season, with the aforementioned five as well as Hank Baskett and rookie sixth-round pick Brandon Gibson.
Of course, Baskett was released two days after Donovan McNabb was injured in the Week 1 win over the Panthers. A week later, the Rams plucked promising receiver/returner Danny Amendola from Philadelphia's practice squad. A month later, Gibson was sent to St. Louis in a trade that netted the Eagles linebacker Will Witherspoon.
Baskett signed with the Colts and will play in Sunday's Super Bowl. Amendola and Gibson emerged as contributors on a young Rams team.
So what does the future hold for Brown and Curtis?
When healthy, both have proven to be valuable contributors. But where do they fit in? Jackson, Maclin and Avant appear to be the top three for now. There are also untested players on the roster like Jordan Norwood and Dobson Collins. The team figures to add more competition to the roster before the spring camps.
If, as expected, there is no new Collective Bargaining Agreement, then an uncapped year could allow the team to go in a different direction with the two veterans without getting hit with an acceleration to the salary cap, since there would not be a salary cap.
Stay tuned. This is another position to watch closely in the months ahead.
-- Posted by Bob Kent, 6:00 p.m., February 5