The Eagles have released Josh Huff following an arrest earlier this week. The move cements a new era in Philadelphia although his presence inside the locker room and on the field will be missed.
Huff’s role was limited, but interesting under Doug Pederson. After a tough Summer of preparation that saw his job security called into question, the Eagles desperately tried to find ways to incorporate Huff into the Offense. Primarily a kick returner, Huff took on a role that largely involved catching screen and swing passes, running halfback sweeps and fielding kicks.
The move does mean that the Eagles have an open roster spot and a vacant role to fill..the question is, who’s the next man up?
An undrafted rookie out of Cal, Bryce Treggs was originally signed by former Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly and the San Francisco 49ers before the birds pinched him during the roster cut process. Treggs was a speedster during his collegiate career, averaging 21.2 yards per reception and receiving for 956 yards in his senior year.
Treggs also returned kicks prior to his arrival in the NFL, returning 20 kicks during the 2013 season.
Assigning the duties of Josh Huff to Treggs almost makes too much sense. The 6’0 wideout is yet to play in an NFL game due to arriving in Philadelphia so late and needing to pick up the playbook, just as DGB did. But now a void has opened, it would make sense to utilize his skillset, save the roster spot for a position of need and unleash one of Jared Goff’s favorite targets last year.
The Eagles running back is another candidate to take on some of, if not all of Huff’s former responsibilities. After bulking up in the offseason, Barner hasn’t featured as heavily in Pederson’s Offense as heavily as some hoped. In seven games, Barner is impressively averaging 5.3 yards per carry with a longest run of 19 yards on just as many attempts. He also recorded his first regular season touchdown against the Steelers.
Barner is no stranger to fielding kicks and punts. Last preseason, Barner memorably returned two punts and took them to the house. The Ravens and Colts were the teams who felt first hand just how explosive he can be. If the Eagles wanted to shake things up yet still retain a roster spot, they could always split the snaps between Treggs and Barner, who is also a proven pass-catcher, catching nine passes during what was a 2015 season of very limited action.
The former Oregon Duck was signed by the Eagles as an undrafted free agent and was hyped to have a huge preseason before failing to emerge in what was a very crowded backfield. Marshall was bought back to the Eagles practice squad however and could add a “Darren Sproles” level threat if used correctly.
Marshall is widely known for being one of the most versatile running backs in his conference. Marshall stunningly received and rushed for 1,000 yards during his college career and is the ultimate dual-threat back..but even he has a hidden ace up his sleeve.
During his time at Oregon, Marshall returned 19 kicks for 450 yards, averaging over 20 yards per return.
It would fill the roster spot, but a combination of Treggs and Marshall would cause nightmares for even the most refined special teams units.
The undrafted rookie out of Louisiana Tech rapidly became fan favorite during the Summer, after a consistently impressive Training Camp and even better preseason, that saw him build tremendous chemistry with Carson Wentz, catching 7 passes for 35-yards against the Bucs.
Turner lacks the size and physicality to be an outside threat as of right now, but there’s no reason why he can’t adapt his game to catch screen passes and run the routes Josh Huff did, as well as potentially return kicks.
Turner returned 2 punts during his senior year for 65 yards, including a touchdown.
This is the most unlikely replacement of the five, but still plausible. Agholor has had a strange week after getting incredibly defensive over his drops after the loss to Dallas, the first round pick back-pedaled as the spotlight only grew stronger.
Now in his second season, Agholor has received for 216 yards and a touchdown in 2016.
The USC product fielded kicks and punts during Training Camp and the move would not only leave the roster spot available to fill a position low on depth, but help Agholor improve his game and overcome his problems while giving an opportunity to a player like Treggs, who is chomping at the bit for an opportunity at the big time.