Philadelphia Eagles to Target Veteran Receivers on Draft Week

Patrick WallCorrespondent IApril 23, 2008

The Philadelphia Eagles are making a push to add a veteran playmaker to their offense.

After the highly publicized pursuits of Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss, the Eagles still find themselves without an elite receiver. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Eagles will actively pursue Cincinnati's Chad Johnson, Detroit's Roy Williams, or Arizona's Anquan Boldin.

Trading for one of these three receivers won't be easy. All three organizations have publicly stated that their respective players are not available for trade.

In Cincinnati, the volatile and explosive Chad Johnson has been publicly asking for a trade since March. The Bengals are not listening and have repeatedly stated that their disgruntled star is not available.

The Redskins reportedly offered the Bengals up to two first round draft picks.  One this year and a third round pick next year can escalate if Johnson hits performance escalators. Cincinnati allegedly refused the offer, and head coach Marvin Lewis denied the offer took place.

The Eagles, who rely heavily on the draft, are unlikely to make a similar offer to the Bengals.

Next on the Eagles' radar is Lions receiver Roy Williams. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has said that he will not return to the Lions in 2009.

Still, the Lions are hesitant to trade him. Head coach Rod Marinelli said, “He’s not going anywhere. No. There’s no way. Like I’ve said, I want to see [WRs Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson, the Lions' first round pick last year] playing together."

Still, the Eagles have a rare bargaining chip: Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard, who was demoted after the signing of free agent Asante Samuel.

Sheppard is an elite corner when healthy, but he has only played one full season since being drafted by the Eagles’ 26th overall in 2002.

Detroit ranked 31st in the league against the pass in 2007, and Sheppard could greatly improve the Lions' secondary.

The most intriguing situation is Arizona's Anquan Boldin. Boldin is reportedly unhappy with his situation in Arizona and asked head coach Ken Wizenhunt for a trade Tuesday.

Boldin's teammate Larry Fitzgerald was rewarded with a four-year, $40 million contract this offseason.  It is considerably less than the $8.25 million Boldin is slated to earn over the next three seasons.

The Cardinals ranked 28th against the pass in 2007 and are another team who could use Sheppard's services.

Interestingly, starting Arizona cornerback Rod Hood played for the Eagles as a nickel corner until the 2007 season when he signed with Arizona as a free agent.

Arizona has publicly stated that Boldin, like Fitzgerald earlier in the offseason, is not available for trade. Arizona general manager Rod Graves said Tuesday that he views Boldin as a core player for the Cardinals, and does not want to trade him.

The Eagles are not the only team interested in acquiring a new offensive playmaker. Both Washington and Dallas—NFC rivals of the Eagles—are interested in upgrading at the position as well.

Washington has made inquiries for both Johnson and Boldin and was denied on both occasions.

If the Eagles are going to obtain one of these receivers, it is most likely to occur Saturday during the NFL Draft. The Eagles own 11 picks in the draft and may be willing to package Sheppard with picks for a receiver.