Quez Watkins

Eagles Activate WR Quez Watkins From IR

NOVEMBER 25: It didn’t take long for the Eagles to officially activate Watkins. They are doing so today in time for tomorrow’s matchup against the Bills. With Watkins returning to the fold, Philadelphia now has their full assortments of receivers for a difficult stretch of the schedule. Having the whole receiving corps available is a huge plus as Hurts will be without tight ends Goedert and Grant Calcaterra for at least this upcoming game.

Tight end Noah Togiai will be brought up from the practice squad as a standard gameday elevation to help fill out a thin tight ends position. Joining him as a gameday elevation tomorrow will be practice squad linebacker Ben VanSumeren.

NOVEMBER 22: The NFL’s only one-loss team is moving closer to having its full wideout corps back at work. Quez Watkins returned to Eagles practice Wednesday, opening his 21-day activation window.

Placed on IR after suffering a hamstring injury, Watkins has been sidelined for longer than the IR-minimum requirement. The Philadelphia slot receiver has missed the past five games.

During Watkins’ absence, the Eagles added Julio Jones to their A.J. Brown– and DeVonta Smith-fronted wideout crew. Playing 82 snaps during his four-game run with the defending NFC champions, Jones has four receptions for 16 yards. Prior to Watkins’ injury, the fourth-year receiver was struggling to make an impact as well. Watkins will eventually come off IR with a four-catch, 21-yard stat line.

This is a contract year for Watkins, a 2020 sixth-round pick, and he will need to produce more to command a notable deal in free agency. Watkins did deliver more impressive work in the past. During Jalen Hurts‘ first season — one that became a run-leaning operation as Shane Steichen took over play-calling — Watkins posted a career-high 647 receiving yards. Once the Eagles traded for Brown during the 2022 draft, Watkins’ role took a hit. He finished last season with 354 yards — at just 10.7 per reception.

The Eagles also have Olamide Zaccheaus as a slot option; the ex-Falcon has just six receptions for 87 yards this year. With Dallas Goedert out, the Eagles could certainly use a viable third wideout. And it is worth wondering how frequently the team will use Watkins now that Jones is on the roster. The 8-1 team has six IR activations remaining this season. Goedert would not count toward this total, as the team is not planning to place its top tight end on IR.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/14/23

Here are today’s minor transactions heading into the Week 6 weekend:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Dean took the starting role the Eagles had in store for him in Week 1, but a foot injury interrupted his second NFL campaign. The 22-year-old was poised to return ahead of Sunday’s game by returning to practice earlier this week, though, and a first-team role is expected to await him upon suiting up. Dean taking on a heavy workload will relegate Nicholas Morrow (who was promoted from the practice squad) to backup duty despite the latter’s strong performances so far.

Seattle has seen fellow corners Devon Witherspoon and Riq Woolen enjoy considerable success, but the team’s secondary will be shorthanded without Bryant. The latter will miss at least the next four weeks as a result of the IR move as he recovers from a toe injury. The 2022 fourth-rounder, who has seen his defensive snap share jump from 65% to 77% this year, has not played since Week 2.

Olamide Zaccheaus To Vie For Eagles’ Slot WR Role

Aside from running back Miles Sanders, who departed for Carolina in free agency, the Eagles return every starting skill player on offense. For an offense that finished last year second in the league in scoring and total yardage, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for improvement. Still the defending NFC Champions may have found a spot at which to improve, according to Geoff Mosher and Andrew DiCecco of Inside the Birds.

The 2022 Eagles saw quarterback Jalen Hurts spoiled with three star pass catchers in A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and tight end Dallas Goedert. Quez Watkins contributed out of the slot with 33 catches for 354 yards, but that was a big step back from a sophomore campaign that saw him catch 43 balls for 647 yards.

That makes the offseason free agent addition of former Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus fairly noteworthy. While Watkins took a step back in 2022, Zaccheaus has done nothing but improve year after year. In a year that saw Atlanta struggle behind the arms of Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder, Zaccheaus delivered his best statistical season alongside a star-starved cast of rookie Drake London, Damiere Byrd, and KhaDarel Hodge.

With a 2022 line of 40 receptions for 533 yards and three touchdowns and the ability to progress each season, Zaccheaus provides an exciting potential upgrade for Philadelphia on offense. Watkins struggled at times last year, arguably playing a role in some of the team’s few losses. Zaccheaus provides more dependable hands, as well as a size and skill-set not possessed by the team’s top two wideouts.

The team’s fourth receiver last year, Zach Pascal, performed more as a blocker than a receiver, and he can continue in that role in 2023. If unseated by Zaccheaus, Watkins can rotate with Pascal as the fourth receiver, depending on the situation, or fill in for Brown or Smith if either need a breather or get injured.

So Hurts’s targets could look slightly different next year. Aside from new running backs D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny leading that room now, Hurts could be throwing to wide receivers Brown, Smith, and Zaccheaus and the tight end, Goedert, with Watkins and Pascal coming off the bench.

WR Rumors: Chiefs, Hill, Eagles, Atwell

The Chiefs chased JuJu Smith-Schuster in consecutive offseasons. They attempted to sign him in 2021, joining the Ravens in that regard. While Smith-Schuster re-signed with the Steelers last year, he said the Chiefs finished second. He landed in Kansas City this year on a one-year, $3.25MM contract. After a lost year in his Pittsburgh finale, Smith-Schuster is expected to play a more versatile role in Kansas City.

This is what I’ve been waiting to do. Everyone has to know everybody’s position. You have to know the outside, inside. You could play anywhere,” Smith-Schuster said, via NBC Sports’ Peter King, of his role in the Chiefs’ offense. “To be on so many personnel groups where we got so many great receivers who could play inside and outside, I love it. That’s what I’ve been wanting to do, to be used in so many different ways.”

The Steelers used Smith-Schuster in the slot on 78.8% of his snaps from 2020-21, per Pro Football Focus. While the veteran inside pass catcher should not be considered a pure Tyreek Hill replacement, he will be part of Kansas City’s collective post-Hill solution. Smith-Schuster joins Marquez Valdes-Scantling, second-round pick Skyy Moore and holdover Mecole Hardman in that group.

Here is more from the wide receiver scene across the league:

  • Regarding Hill, the accomplished wideout wanted to leave Kansas City, per King, who describes Hill as being unhappy leading up to the trade to Miami — a swap that led to the dominant speed threat securing a wideout-record contract. “It’s good for him and it’ll be good for us,” Andy Reid said. “It’s a win-win. I think it’ll help him in his career with the Dolphins. Financially it’s phenomenal for him and his family.” The Dolphins gave Hill a receiver-record $30MM-per-year deal, beating out the Jets in the quick-developing March sweepstakes. During a June podcast in which he expressed dissatisfaction with his 2021 role, Hill said he wanted to stay in Kansas City on a deal in the $25-26MM-per-year neighborhood. Agent Drew Rosenahus upped the asking price to that level after the Raiders’ Davante Adams extension. The Chiefs chose a trade that brought back five picks instead.
  • Jalen Reagor came up in trade rumors earlier this year, but the Eagles have seen the former first-round pick put together a good camp. The underperforming wideout looks to have secured a role as Philadelphia’s No. 4 receiver, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. Reagor will likely be positioned to work ahead of offseason addition Zach Pascal, despite the latter’s Indianapolis history with Nick Sirianni. Under contract for two more years, Reagor — barring a trade — is set to play behind A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins. Reagor played 67% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps in each of his first two years.
  • The Rams‘ second Super Bowl-winning season did not feature much Tutu Atwell work. Despite the diminutive Louisville product being Los Angeles’ top draft pick last year, he played just 10 offensive snaps and saw an injury cut short his return-game duties eight games in. Although Sean McVay previously wanted Atwell to see notable preseason work, the sixth-year HC said (via The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, on Twitter) the second-round pick has impressed the team in practice to the point he will not need to suit up for August game work. The Rams still may feature a depth chart at receiver that limits Atwell’s 2022 snaps, when Van Jefferson returns from injury early in the season. The Rams will have Jefferson, Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson in front of Atwell, and they have been endlessly connected to an Odell Beckham Jr. reunion this year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/19/21

Given the recent surge of COVID-19 cases throughout the league, we expected to see more roster churning today than we typically would on a December Sunday. Here are today’s minor (and not so minor) moves. This page will, of course, be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: G Jon Feliciano
  • Promoted: OL Jacob Capra

Cleveland Browns

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions:  12/13/21

Today’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/10/20

Here is the latest barrage of Saturday minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: T Badara Traore

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Greg Mabin

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/29/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed off Cowboys’ practice squad: DT Ron’Dell Carter
  • Released from IR: RB Bruce Anderson

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed off Buccaneers’ practice squad: TE Daniel Helm

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/6/20

Here are Sunday’s minor moves. The players who landed on injured reserve are eligible to come off teams’ respective lists after three weeks. For 2020, teams can also activate an unlimited number of IR players — as opposed to the two-man max of 2019.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Claimed (from Washington): T Timon Paris

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Claimed (from Dolphins): G Deion Calhoun
  • Signed: CB Torry McTyer

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Eagles Sign Quez Watkins

The Eagles have signed the second member of their 2020 draft class. Quez Watkins, the No. 200 overall selection, has put pen to paper, the team announced.

Philadelphia’s WR corps was in desperate need of a talent infusion this offseason, and while the club did not make any major moves to acquire a veteran — all due apologies to Marquise Goodwin — it did triple dip at receiver in the draft. Watkins joins first-rounder Jalen Reagor and fifth-rounder John Hightower as rookie wideouts looking to make an impact right away.

The three wide receiver draftees and Goodwin all have one thing in common: they can fly. Watkins posted the third-fastest time at the combine in Indianapolis, and some believed he could go as early as the fourth round. The Southern Miss product needs to expand his route tree and improve his physicality, but if head coach Doug Pederson can scheme some touches for him, his game-breaking athleticism will be tough to defend.

And though Watkins is a sixth-round pick, he may not be buried on the depth chart. Alshon Jeffery could start the season on the PUP list, DeSean Jackson‘s status with the team just became rather tenuous, and second-year pro JJ Arcega-Whiteside had a disappointing rookie campaign. So there is a scenario in which Watkins could be a big factor this year, especially if he gets a shot as a kick returner.

Here’s a rundown of the Eagles’ class, via PFR’s Tracker:

1-21: Jalen Reagor, WR (TCU)
2-53: Jalen Hurts, QB (Oklahoma)
3-103: Davion Taylor, LB (Colorado)
4-127: K’Von Wallace, S (Clemson)
4-145: Jack Driscoll, G (Auburn)
5-168: John Hightower, WR (Boise State)
6-196: Shaun Bradley, LB (Temple)
6-200: Quez Watkins, WR (Southern Miss): Signed
6-210: Prince Tega Wanogho, T (Auburn): Signed
7-233: Casey Toohill, DE (Stanford)