When the Eagles open their offseason program Monday, JJ Arcega-Whiteside will no longer be listed as a wide receiver. He’s moving to tight end, an NFL source told The Inquirer.
Arcega-Whiteside, listed at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds on last year’s roster, added weight during winter training and has embraced the move to a new position, the source said.
The Eagles currently have some open roster spots at tight end after starter Dallas Goedert. Tyree Jackson filled the backup role after Zach Ertz was traded last October, but he suffered a torn ACL in the season finale and his readiness for the 2022 opener is unclear.
Jack Stoll, last season’s third tight end, returns. Richard Rodgers and Noah Togiai are also still on the roster. And it’s possible the Eagles draft a tight end in next week’s draft or sign an undrafted rookie at the position.
But Arcega-Whiteside, who was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft, will be given the opportunity by coach Nick Siriainni and his staff to win a job.
He has struggled in three seasons as a receiver and has caught only 16 passes for 290 yards and a touchdown in 40 games. But he carved out a niche last season as mostly a run blocker on offense and a part-time contributor on special teams.
He did have a key late-game, 23-yard reception in the Eagles’ win over the Saints last November. He played 42 snaps in the meaningless last game against the Cowboys, and had a couple dropped passes. But Arcega-Whiteside injured his finger earlier in the game and had surgery after the season.
That kind of toughness could help as he transitions closer to the line as a tight end.