The Philadelphia Eagles traded wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside to the Seattle Seahawks for defensive back Ugo Amadi on Monday evening. Seattle represents a much-needed fresh start for Arcega-Whiteside, the No. 57 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft who was deemed as surplus in Philadelphia’s crowded offense.
Arcega-Whiteside remains a long shot to make Seattle’s final 53-man roster, but a change of scenery at least increases his opportunity. There was zero chance he was going to stick in Philadelphia.
Arcega-Whiteside now finds himself playing for a Seahawks franchise that remains curious regarding his potential. The Seahawks wouldn’t have acquired Arcega-Whiteside if they weren’t. It allows the Zaragoza, Spain native to arrive at his new destination with hope at bay.
Arcega-Whiteside’s career failed to launch in Philadelphia. A big-bodied boundary receiver that struggles to get separation, the former Stanford product was a non-factor for the Eagles’ offense last season, recording two receptions for 36 receiving yards. Arcega-Whiteside recently confirmed he’s making a position switch to tight end. It adds a new layer to his outlook going forward.
A move to tight end makes sense for Arcega-Whiteside as a last-ditch effort to salvage an NFL career. As a prospect coming out of Stanford, Arcega-Whiteside thrived as a vertical threat and contested-catch winner. It led to several explosive plays, but it’s ultimately a volatile trait that leads to low-percentage results at the professional level. Arcega-Whiteside simply isn’t athletic enough to defeat man coverage and NFL cornerbacks with the desired consistency. A move to tight end potentially places him in more favorable positions while offsetting some of his athletic limitations.
Assuming Arcega-Whiteside’s positional switch to tight end sticks, he’s joining a new-look room in Seattle. The Seahawks acquired Noah Fant from the Denver Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade. Fant will star as Seattle’s main pass-catching tight end. Will Dissly also returns to the Seahawks via a brand new three-year, $24 million contract extension. Dissly’s high-priced extension surprised those around the league. It indicates John Schneider and Pete Carroll are massive believers in what Dissly brings to the table. Dissly’s role as Seattle’s in-line “Y” blocking tight end is secure. Arcega-Whiteside won’t push Dissly for reps.
Competing for No. 3 tight end duties behind Fant and Dissly may lead to a more realistic path for Arcega-Whiteside to secure a final spot on Seattle’s 53-man roster. Assuming he gets up to speed, Arcega-Whiteside may find himself in a positional battle against Colby Parkinson. A fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, Parkinson has recorded a grand total of seven receptions across his first two campaigns. Parkinson’s roster spot isn’t safe. This may develop into a back-end roster battle worth monitoring.
The Eagles famously drafted Arcega-White over a gauntlet of significantly more talented receivers such as D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, and Dionate Johnson. That misfire obviously qualifies as a monumental mistake and missed opportunity for the Eagles, who made a similar error the following draft by selecting Jalen Reagor in the first round over Justin Jefferson (if you hadn’t heard). This offseason saw several receivers drafted in 2019 receive lucrative, multi-year extensions. The Eagles would have preferred to be holding such discussions with Arcega-Whiteside. Instead, they traded him for a defensive back the Seahawks were going to release.
Arcega-Whiteside’s chances of succeeding at tight end are slim based on his previous history, but there’s at least an unknown factor involved that could potentially lead to a pleasant surprise. There’s no element of “unknown” that remains at wide receiver for Arcega-Whiteside. It manages to summarize a concerning situation for Arcega-Whiteside’s prospects of developing into a legitimate NFL contributor, although a change of scenery cracks the window open.
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