According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Steelers wideout James Washington is requesting a trade. This comes on the back of an dissatisfaction with playing time. Could the Eagles be a fit for the former second-round pick?
The first thing we have to examine is why Washington wants to leave. It’s not like he’s glistened since being drafted in 2018, but his snaps did dip from 64% in 2019 to 44% in 2020. In 2019, he hauled in 44 passes for 735 yards and a trio of touchdowns, setting the foundation for something to build on. Unfortunately, Chase Claypool burst onto the scene and cut into Washington’s playing time, leaving him with nearly half of that yardage (395) and the dip in snaps.
At 5’11, 213 lbs, Washington is someone who can play inside and outside, which would be appealing to Howie Roseman…to begin with. The big problem would be finding a regular home for him in the offense. If playing time was a concern, it’s hard to see him winning a starting role with DeVonta Smith and at the X, Jalen Reagor at the Z. What about the slot? Well, what is it that Washington brings that Greg Ward, Quez Watkins, John Hightower don’t? On the outside, it’s not like he has the tall frame of Travis Fulgham or JJAW, either.
The Eagles are a bit thin at wide receiver right now due to a couple of minor camp injuries, so it may be worth orchestrating a low-risk, high-reward move for a young receiver who clearly feels he can produce if given a regular array of passes to catch. However, it might well stagnate the growth of players they’ve already invested draft capital into and could well thrive under WR whisperer. Nick Sirianni.
There is reason to be optimistic that Washington can be a productive NFL receiver, he’s shown us that already and still set a career-high in touchdown receptions last season. Behind Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool, he’s always going to have a limited ceiling. The question becomes whether or not that ceiling will be raised enough in Philadelphia to warrant giving something up in order to test the waters.
If it’s playing time he wants, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, even if the Eagles don that color on their jerseys.
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