News broke Tuesday that Marquise Goodwin will be opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns.
The decision isn’t a light one, but it’s one to respect. Goodwin just had a baby girl in February and his wife had suffered two miscarriages in the past. His and his family’s health is of paramount concern and he made the right choice.
The projected depth chart was widely viewed as:
- DeSean Jackson
- Jalen Reagor
- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
- John Hightower
- Marquise Goodwin
- Greg Ward
- Alshon Jeffery (PUP)
With Goodwin out, do the Eagles march on with 5 wide receivers? Does that open up for a would-be practice squad player to move up to the active roster? How about a veteran addition? Let’s take a look at some options:
Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett, Manasseh Bailey, Quez Watkins
The major beneficiary here is Watkins. The 2020 sixth round pick was almost a guarantee to be sent to the practice squad to start the season, but this news may vault him onto the active roster.
His 4.35 speed is just a tad slower than Goodwin’s 4.27 (2013 combine), but it’s nothing to scoff at. His speed definitely fits what the Eagles had traded Goodwin for: a field stretcher.
Robert Davis also stands to benefit. At one point in the 2019 season, CBS named Robert Davis as the NFL’s best practice squad player.
Nate Sudfeld, who played with Davis on the team formerly known as the Redskins’ practice squad, had this to say about Davis:
He’s a freak of nature,” Sudfeld said. “He’s got muscles on top of muscles. Definitely looks the part of a big, freak wide receiver, and he plays big. He’s got speed, really good at running routes, he’s smart. He’s got a bright future, definitely.
Deontay Burnett had a great 41-yard catch versus the Giants in the division clinching game, but it doesn’t seem like he’ll get a shot here.
In a deleted tweet, Manasseh Bailey might have eluded to his departure from the team:
As part of the 2020 UDFA class, it’s a real long shot he makes the roster.
The first free agent that jumps out is Taylor Gabriel. His name was popular among the Eagles rumor mill when he was cut in February by the Bears, but the addition of Goodwin ended that possibility.
Gabriel hasn’t played with any Eagles offensive coaches in his career, but he has some ties. His rookie year was spent with Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator, who Rich Scangarello learned under, and again in 2016 in Atlanta. He spent 2015 with John DeFilippo, aka the “QB guru”. Brad Childress spent the last two seasons as the Bears’ offensive consultant and senior offensive assistant, respectively. As a former member of the Eagles coaching staff and Chiefs’ coaching staff, he should be able to provide adequate input on Gabriel if Doug Pederson should ask.
After averaging 7.8 and 6.6 yards after the catch in 2016 and 2017, respectively, those numbers dipped to 3.4 in 2018 and 2.7 in 2019. He could provide some YAC value in an offense that will be able to utilize his strengths better than the Bears did.
24-year-old Malik Turner was given the exclusive rights tender by the Seahawks in the offseason, only to have it rescinded in April.
He played in 15 games in 2019, starting three, and had 15 receptions. Of all players with 10-30 catches on the season, he had the ninth highest YPC with 16.33. He was also tied for eighth among receivers with 30 or fewer receptions in 20+ yard receptions.
His 6.7 YAC would be welcomed with open arms in Philly.
The owner of the first preseason touchdown of the 2019 season for the Eagles. I’m adding him here solely because of my affinity for his skill set and my hopes of him becoming the deep threat we saw on one play.
Gearing away from the burners, Hardy wouldn’t be an addition really for the offense but for special teams. With the waiving of Shelton Gibson, who was very good on special teams, Hardy could provide that same skill set while bringing in his knowledge of how Rich Scangarello likes to run his offense, even if their time together was one year.
Hailed as a special teams “maven” by Falcons fans and a reliable red zone target (17 rec for 146 yards in his career in the red zone), Hardy could be an underrated addition to the team.
I don’t see happening: Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon
I highlighted Keke here, and I will still argue the case for his addition.
Coutee has 4.43 speed and had a fine rookie year in 2018, despite only playing six games. He played in three more games in 2019 but had fewer yards, leading to the multitude of moves at wide receiver for the Texans.
If he falls out of favor in Houston during training camp, Howie should float a late round pick to Bill O’Brien.
The Raiders added four wide receivers this offseason, including former Eagles legend Nelson Agholor. With Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards being the only wide receiver draft picks, rookie running back Lynn Bowden can also split out wide. With Hunter Renfrow looking to build on his impressive rookie year, there may not be room for Tyrell Williams.
He has a career 16.1 YPC, and his 4.43 speed with his 6’4″ height would be perfect in Philly. He still has three years left on his contract so the addition is very unlikely. But maybe a restructure and trade could work well for both sides.
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports