Another day, another wideout linked to the Eagles. After a season of lackluster wide receiver play in Philly, the Birds have been linked to virtually every pass-catcher this offseason as the franchise aims to fortify their weakest unit.
Today, I offer another alternative in the form of 49ers wideout Marquise Goodwin. Known best for his Olympic pedigree and his seemingly superhuman speed, Goodwin is said to be on the trading block entering the ever-eventful draft season.
Fresh off their NFC Championship campaign, the Niners seem ready to wash their hands of the speedy receiver, likely due to his recurring injury issues. The former Texas standout has missed 12 games in the past two seasons, including seven with chronic knee and ankle issues this past season, leading his head coach Kyle Shanahan to float his name around as bait at the NFL Combine late last month.
“We wouldn’t release Marquise. He’s too valuable. I know he fell out of the rotation last year, then he had an injury (and) wanted to go on IR so he could get it cleaned up. I think it is right now. I haven’t seen him for a while. Marquise is a guy who can play in this league. If he’s on this team, he’s going to be competing with that group and, if not, I feel pretty confident another team would want him.”
Though the team has been fascinated with his blazing speed and deep threat ability since they signed him to a two-year contract in 2017, they likely haven’t seen it enough on the field lately to warrant keeping him around. His reported availability doesn’t mean the Niners are giving him up for free, however, as Shanahan was sure to point out.
“We could, yeah,” Shanahan said when asked about a possible Goodwin trade. “You don’t get rid of valuable people just for nothing. So we’ll have him come back and compete. If that doesn’t work out, we could always possibly trade him.”
While the Eagles would not be able to get him for free, it shouldn’t cost anything more than a fourth or fifth-rounder to land the electric pass-catcher. Additionally, despite his extensive injury history, Goodwin would be a worthwhile acquisition for the Eagles.
It’s no secret that the Eagles want to infuse some speed and explosiveness into their offense- namely to help unlock all the greatness that is Carson Wentz- and Goodwin fits the bill perfectly.
Owner of a 4.27 40-yard Combine time and an additional speed gear that most athletes- let alone usual humans- don’t have and could torment opposing defenses alongside DeSean Jackson- who will also be making his return from a season-ending injury. Goodwin, of course, (ideally) wouldn’t play nearly the amount of snaps that D-Jax will, but could do a ton of damage as an additional home run threat in certain packages. After going back-to-back seasons without a reliable speed option on the outside, the Eagles could enter 2020 with two of the top deep threats in the game should they swing a trade for Goodwin.
For some, it may be difficult to envision the Eagles targeting a bottom-of-the-rotation receiver on the verge of the roster bubble, but it’s important to keep depth chart ranking within its context. In the case of Goodwin, it ultimately boils down to cap space and injuries. With their sights set on a Super Bowl return next season, the Niners are in the process of clearing cap space so they can sign and extend their higher priority talent. Not surprisingly, Goodwin, who missed seven games last season, has become somewhat expendable. Another way of viewing it, a lens I believe would prove advantageous to the Eagles front office brass to see through, would be that Goodwin has become more of a luxury than a necessity on a loaded roster. A luxury who could add a few more pages to the Eagles playbook.
A potential Goodwin swap strongly reminds me of another trade the Eagles, and more importantly, savvy Eagles general manager Howie Roseman pulled off recently. Prior to the 2018 season, the Birds shockingly acquired longtime Seahawk and productive edge defender Michael Bennett for pennies on the dollar- exchanging just a fifth-round exchange and Marcus Johnson for him.
The Eagles, along with Howie Roseman’s trade market aggressiveness, were rewarded in a big way, as Bennett posted yet another monster campaign. His nine sacks in his first and lone year with the Eagles were one shy of his career-high and his impressive efforts played a significant role in how dominant the defensive line was that season.
In light of the comparison, I’d like to be clear and state that I don’t think that Marquise Goodwin is as good a wide receiver as Michael Bennett is a pass-rusher. Like everyone else, I realize that is not the case. What I will say, however, is that trading for him could yield a similarly positive result.
Although Goodwin’s numbers are hardly eye-popping and, frankly, leave a lot to be desired, there are still a very select few players that can completely change the dynamic of a game or season the way he can. I’m not speaking hyperbolically when I say that he is an Olympian-tier athlete and his speed could help unlock a dimension not often seen in the Pederson era.
Already pulling their hair from the strain of being tasked with defending a Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert, and DeSean Jackson lead offense, defenses may collapse altogether should the Birds deploy Goodwin and his game-breaking speed on the field with the star-studded group. In an offense chock-full of supremely talented options, the pressure of being the alpha dog he was at times in San Francisco would evaporate in Philly as he would be used as more of a specialist in the offense.
Using him on a rotational basis would not only be the more effective use of his talent but could also help remedy some of his injury issues. For all the speed he has, Goodwin just doesn’t seem physically able to hold up as a featured piece of an offense over the course of a full season. In Philly, he wouldn’t have to be a starter, nor would the team have to pay him like one, making a potential deal all the more likely.
His contract, by the way, is hardly an economic backbreaker, as he carries a base salary of $3.5M in 2020 and $5.3M in 2021. Cap space maestro and Eagles GM Howie Roseman would have little trouble weaving this contract into the fold should the Birds pull off a trade and the new-look, revamped offensive staff in Philly could extract enough value from the wideout to make his contract an even bigger bargain.
Although he is few years removed from a breakout 2017 campaign in which he recorded 56 receptions and 962 yards, Goodwin, 29, still has plenty of miles left and could still carve out a valuable role in Doug Pederson’s offense. Possessors of six Day 3 draft picks, it may behoove the Eagles to make the transcontinental call over to San Fran to try and strike a deal.