Eagles Sign WR Givens
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — It wasn't quite a splash but the Eagles made a small ripple at a position of need Wednesday, signing veteran wide receiver Chris Givens to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum.
"I'm going to come in and work to be the complete receiver I know I can be," Givens told the Eagles' website. "When the ball is in the air, I'm going to go get it. I'll do whatever the coaches want me to do, whatever I can do to help this team. I'm excited about this opportunity."
The contract is worth $760,000 for Givens with a modest $80,000 signing bonus and $100K in guarantees.
Givens, 26, was originally chosen by the Rams in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft and has caught 107 passes for 1,779 yards and five touchdowns during his career. His most impressive attribute is his speed as Givens has averaged 16.6 yards per reception.
A Wake Forest University product, Givens stuck with the Rams until being traded to the receiver-needy Baltimore Ravens prior to the trade deadline in 2015 for a seventh-round pick. He caught 20 passes for 353 yards and one touchdown in 12 games last season, 19 of them for the Ravens.
Although far from a difference maker Givens projects to add one much-needed attribute to Philadelphia with his ability to stretch the defense and immediately fits in behind Jordan Matthews as a potential contributor on the team, along with second-year man Nelson Agholor and third-year player Josh Huff.
The biggest knock on Givens to this point has been his subpar route running as evidenced by the fact he was targeted 53 times in Baltimore the hookup was only completed 19 times last season (35.8 percent), and his 107 career receptions are in 237 total targets (45.1 percent), a clear indication that the separation isn't there on a consistent basis.
The positive is that Givens has a history with Sam Bradford in St. Louis, playing 1 1/2 seasons with the current Eagles QB before Bradford suffered his first ACL tear in October of '13.
Givens was at his most productive with Bradford throwing him the football, snaring 42 balls for 698 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie in '12 and setting an NFL record for freshman by catching a pass for at least 50 yards in five straight contests.
An NFL source told 973espn.com that the Eagles moved toward the 6-foot, 200-pound Givens, who visited with the Jets on Tuesday, once Oakland re-signed the 6-5 Andre Holmes to a one-year deal that could reach $3 million with $1 million in guarantees earlier this week.
Of the 121 receivers who played enough to be graded by ProFootballFocus.com last season, Givens came in at No. 79, not exactly great but better than every Eagles receiver who remains on the roster with the exception of Matthews, who was No. 64. Huff finished at No. 92 and after his dismal rookie campaign Agholor was dead last at 121.
Other options on the Eagles offseason roster at WR are Jonathan Krause and Freddie Martino, as well as recently signed street free agents, Seantavius Jones and Xavier Rush.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen