One of the unquestioned vocal leaders of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jason Avant was cut earlier this week in a move that was more about salary and fit in Chip Kelly‘s uptempo style offense than anything else.
It certainly wasn’t about Avant’s intangibles. Those were off the charts for the veteran receiver. He handled the Riley Cooper with extreme grace and galvanized a divided locker room during training camp in the heat of the Cooper fallout.
The Eagles are simply looking for youth and dynamic athletic ability in Kelly’s offense at the receiver position. Avant is 30-years old and was never a grade-A athlete. Right now, the Eagles go three deep at receiver with Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Cooper, who had a breakout season in Kelly’s offensive system.
It is clear Kelly, like with every position, values certain traits at receiver — especially in the all-important slot position. A slot receiver under Kelly has to have excellent change-of-direction quickness and the ability to take it to the house. Avant simply lacked that dynamic aspect in his game.
Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles further add to the receiver position early on in the draft. The 2014 draft is loaded at the wide receiver spot, and features a ton of athletes that come in all shapes and sizes. Kelly has to be salivating at an offense featuring Maclin, Jackson, Cooper and a premium prospect from this year’s draft to go along with all-world running back LeSean McCoy in the back field.
For now, Kelly’s vision at the wide receiver position is already taking shape. It looks like there is still some molding left to be done.