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February 14, 2017

Thoughts on 12 'other' free agent wide receivers and their fit with the Eagles

Over the last two weeks, the Eagles have been linked to an assortment of soon-to-be free agent wide receivers, including Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Stills, and Torrey Smith. 

In our Eagles free agency rumor and report tracker (which you should bookmark, by the way), we offered our opinions on each of the players above. Here, we'll take a look at 12 additional receivers who have not yet been linked to the Eagles.

Terrelle Pryor, Browns (6'4, 223)

He's not going anywhere. The Browns had two players who were potentially worthy of the franchise tag in Pryor and LB Jamie Collins. In theory, if both players remained unsigned up until the franchise tag deadline, the Browns would have only been able to tag one of them. With Collins having signed a long-term deal, the Browns would almost certainly use the tag on Pryor if they are not able to get a long-term deal done with him.

Michael Floyd, Patriots (6'2, 220)

After the Cardinals released Floyd near the end of the 2016 season, we explained in detail why it would make no sense for the Eagles to sign him for three games to close the season.

In 2017, Floyd is likely to face a multi-game suspension, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Ideally, the receivers the Eagles sign will actually be able to play. I would have to imagine Floyd will be a hard pass for the Eagles. I see a better fit for a team that doesn't need to depend on their receiver acquisitions immediately.

Kenny Britt, Rams (6'3, 223)

After seemingly a new arrest every other week early in his career, Britt has become a more stable person off the field in recent years, and a more productive player on it.

In 2016, Britt caught 68 passes for 1002 yards and 5 TDs from guys like Case Keenum and Jared Goff. His 68 catches and 1002 yards were highs over an eight-year career. Despite Britt's long NFL tenure (comparatively speaking), he is still only 28 years old (he'll turn 29 in September). 

Britt could be an option for the Eagles, but they should be careful about paying too much money for a player with only one 800-plus yard season in eight years.

Brian Quick, Rams (6'3, 218)

Through the first six games of the 2014 season, Quick had 24 catches for 365 yards and 3 TDs, which would have put him on pace for 64-973-8 on the season. In the seventh game against the Chiefs, Quick suffered a devastating injury to his shoulder.

Rams head athletic trainer Reggie Scott described the injury in this YouTube clip.

“I’ll never forget when we put him on the cart," said Scott. "We had to literally support his arm. I’ve never seen anything like it. Basically you have four rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder, and he tore three of the four rotator cuff muscles. He tore his biceps tendon, which attaches on the front side, and he blew out basically the posterior capsule, or the ligaments in the back side of his shoulder. At that time we were all thinking, ‘This could easily be a career-ending type of injury.’”

Quick was still recovering heading into the 2015 season, as he had to wear a yellow beanie over his helmet for training camp so his teammates knew they were not allowed to hit him hard. He did not play until October, and had just 10 catches for 102 yards with no TDs on the season.

In 2016, Quick bounced back to some degree with 41 catches for 564 yards and 3 TDs, all of which were career highs in a God-awful offense. Doug Pederson has noted his preference for bigger receivers, and Quick could be a low-cost No. 2 target in free agency, as in a second guy they sign after a legitimate difference-maker.

Markus Wheaton, Steelers (5'11, 189)

Wheaton's career was on an upward trajectory heading into the 2016 season:

Markus Wheaton Rec Yards YPC TD 
 201364 10.7 
 201453 644 12.2 
 201544 749 17.0 
 201651 12.8 

However, like Quick above, he had a lingering shoulder injury this season and was placed on IR. Earlier this season, Wheaton was benched in the second half of the Steelers' game against the Eagles, when he dropped two passes in the first half. The Eagles would have to be comfortable with Wheaton's shoulder if they were to try to sign him, but he's a young player (he just turned 26 a week ago) who would be an upgrade over the Eagles' outside options. 

The Steelers already have plenty of talent at wide receiver, with Antonio Brown, Sammie Coates, and Eli Rogers all in the fold. They also still hold the rights to the suspended Martavis Bryant, so Wheaton should be available as a low-cost No. 2 guy.

Kendall Wright, Titans (5'10, 191)

Wright is a former first round pick who topped 1000 yards in his second season in the pros (2013), but his production has since fallen off sharply. A big reason for that is because he missed six games in 2015 and five games in 2016. As a result, Wright should come at a lower cost in free agency. If he can stay healthy, he would be a solid No. 2.

Robert Woods, Bills (6'0, 190)

Woods has consistently posted between 500-700 yards in his first four seasons in the pros, with only 12 TDs. He has decent hands (2 drops, 52 receptions in 2016), but there's not a lot of flash here. As a low-cost, potentially long-term No. 2 option, Woods could make some sense, as he'll turn 25 in April.

Kamar Aiken, Ravens (6'2, 215)

The paths of Joe Douglas and Aiken crossed in Baltimore, when Aiken signed with the Ravens after failing to make rosters with the Bills, Bears, and Patriots. In 2015, Aiken had 75 catches for 944 yards and 5 TDs. He cooled off in 2016, when he posted just 29 catches for 328 yards and 1 TD. Aiken will turn 28 in May. I view him as a "second week of free agency" type of signing.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings (6'2, 220)

Josh Huff wasn't exactly the most effective wide receiver, but the Eagles really tried to utilize his skill set before he was released. Like Huff, Patterson is an unrefined route runner but can do damage with the ball in his hands once he gets it. He is also an elite kick returner, as he has five kick return touchdowns through his first four years in the pros. Patterson would essentially be a souped-up Huff.

Petterson will tun 26 in March. His projected cost is difficult to predict.

Ted Ginn, Panthers (5'11, 180)

Like Patterson, Ginn could fill a role as a returner, and a complementary player in the Eagles' offense with some deep speed. He would be a much older version, however, as he'll turn 32 in April. Ginn actually has half-decent numbers as a receiver in Carolina, where he accumulated 1491 receiving yards and 14 TDs over the last two seasons.

Marquise Goodwin, Bills (5'9, 179)

Goodwin is a speed guy, not totally unlike 2016 free agent acquisitions Chris Givens and T.J. Graham, who has more potential than actual production. Over his four-year career, Goodwin has 49 catches for 780 yards (17.5 YPC), and 6 TDs. That said, Goodwin is a track star who ran a blistering 4.27 40 at the 2012 NFL Combine. His speed is on a whole different level from Givens or Graham.

Goodwin had his best year in 2016, catching 29 passes for 431 yards and 3 TDs. He could be a lottery ticket type of signing, but not a player you would want to count on as a No. 2 receiver.

Victor Cruz, Giants (6'0, 204)

No way. Cruz may be done.

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