Three Veteran WRs the Eagles Could Potentially Turn to
Earlier this week, Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin became one of several NFL players to exercise the opt-out clause due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
While Goodwin wasn't a projected starter, the speedy pass-catcher figured to be an integral depth piece in the event that DeSean Jackson was to miss any time due to injury.
Jackson aside, the team may decide that their fresh-faced receiving corps needs another veteran. I've highlighted three free-agent wide receivers that could feasibly be in play for the Eagles.
The diminutive Gabriel initially broke into the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014. After combining for 64 catches for 862 yards and a touchdown over two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Gabriel was waived at the end of his third training camp. The Abilene Christian alum was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Falcons.
Gabriel proved to be an instrumental part of the Falcon's offense, reeling in 68 receptions for 957 yards and seven touchdowns in his two seasons in Atlanta. In Super Bowl LI, Gabriel recorded three receptions for 76 yards in a losing effort.
The 5-foot-7, 168-pound pass-catcher cashed in on a lucrative free-agent deal in 2018, signing a four-year, $26 million deal with the Chicago Bears. Gabriel turned in a career season in 2018, amassing 67 receptions on 93 targets for 688 and two touchdowns. However, he battled through injuries last season, catching just 29 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns. To create cap room, the Bears released Gabriel prior to free agency.
Like Goodwin, Gabriel is also 29 years old and would likely be a low-cost addition. Nicknamed 'Turbo,' Gabriel boasts the requisite speed to replace Goodwin's role.
Austin never quite lived up to his first-round billing, but would effectively fill the void created by Goodwin's departure.
Although he never became a primary option in the Rams' aerial attack, Austin added competent depth as a multi-faceted weapon. Austin's most productive season to date came in 2016, when he yielded career highs in targets (106), catches (58) and yards (509). He added 184 carries for 1,238 yards and nine touchdowns as a runner. Shortly after restructuring his contract in 2018, the Rams traded Austin to the Dallas Cowboys for a sixth-round pick.
Austin played in 21 games for the Cowboys, registering 21 catches for 317 yards and three touchdowns and added 12 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground. His contract expired after the 2019 season, and he has yet to find any suitors.
The 5-foot-8, 179-pound receiver is best suited for a limited role at this stage, but offers big-play upside as a field-stretcher, on quick screens, or as a runner.
The youngest of the three, Richardson has dealt with a myriad of injuries over the past two seasons, playing in just 17 games for Washington.
Originally a second-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, Richardson appeared in 47 games. He managed 95 catches for 1,302 yards and eight touchdowns over his four-year tenure before signing a five-year, $40 million contract with Washington in 2018.
Coming off a career season with the Seahawks, Richardson was expected to evolve into one of the league's premier deep threats in Washington. Unfortunately, Richardson ended his two seasons in Landover on injured reserve due to shoulder and hamstring injuries. He was released in February.
Of the players mentioned, Richardson has the highest upside. He doesn't have the multi-purpose element to his game like Austin or Gabriel, but he is the most polished pass-catcher. However, the lengthy injury history -- dating back to college -- is a concern and likely the primary reason he remains unsigned.