Marquise Goodwin

Eagles' Marquise Goodwin responds to fans calling him 'stupid' for opting out

Eagles' Marquise Goodwin responds to fans calling him 'stupid' for opting out

Eagles receiver Marquise Goodwin said this week that football fans are calling him "stupid" for opting out of the 2020 season.

On Wednesday, he tweeted: "I've gotten so many messages and @'s from 'concerned' fans telling me how stupid I am and that this COVID-19 isn't that serious… I bet my bank account that there are 150k dead people that would argue different. #CarryOn."

Goodwin, who the Eagles acquired in a draft-day trade from the 49ers, announced Tuesday that he would sit out the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns.

In an emotional video posted on YouTube, Goodwin explained his decision and said he deeply regrets that when he and his wife Morgan lost their prematurely born son in November 2017 and then lost their unborn twin sons in November  2018 he wasn’t with her because he was with the 49ers for football games.

"I felt like I should be at home helping my best friend get past the grief," he said.

Goodwin and his wife did have a baby girl, Marae, a year and a half ago, and as the video shows a close-up of the baby's face, he says, "This right here is my reason. She's the reason I'm opting out for the season. After choosing football so many times, I feel like I'm inclined to make the right decision by finally choosing my family first, and that's real talk. … I won't take the chance of experiencing another loss because of my selfish decision-making. I can't do it. It's not something I can live with."

Goodwin, 29, said he plans to play again when it's safe. The Eagles maintain his rights, and his contract rolls over into next year. He'll most likely get a $150,000 stipend for 2020, although it's possible he could get the $350,000 high-risk stipend.

Goodwin has 140 catches for 2,323 yards and 13 touchdowns in seven seasons with the Bills and 49ers. 

Goodwin was an Olympic long jumper in 2012. His wife, Morgan Goodwin-Snow, was a two-time Big 12 champion in the hurdles for Texas.

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10 options if Eagles want to add a veteran WR after Marquise Goodwin’s opt out

10 options if Eagles want to add a veteran WR after Marquise Goodwin’s opt out

The Eagles won’t have Marquise Goodwin for the 2020 season after the veteran decided to opt out on Tuesday. 

While it’s unclear just how big of a role Goodwin would have had with the Eagles, his absence does leave the Eagles without many veterans they can rely on. The oldest veterans in the receiver room are Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, who are both coming off significant injuries last year. 

That means the Eagles might need to rely more on their younger receivers in 2020. Guys like J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Jalen Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins will need to contribute. 

The Eagles haven’t had great luck signing cheap veteran receivers in recent years — think about Kamar Aiken and Markus Wheaton — and at this point I think they’d be wise to roll with the younger players they have.  

But there are still some veteran free agent receivers available if they want to go that route: 

Taylor Gabriel 

The Bears cut the 29 year old after he made it through just two years of his four-year, $26 million contract. Gabriel was really good in 2018, catching 67 passes for 688 yards, but played in just nine games in 2019. He had 29 catches for 353 yards and 4 touchdowns. Gabriel is a very speedy player, so adding cheap speed would be an attractive option for the Eagles. The concern with Gabriel is a history of concussions, including in 2019. Still, he’s probably the most attractive option on this list. 

Paul Richardson

Richardson turned 28 in April and is coming off a couple disappointing seasons with Washington. In 2018-19, he played just 17 total games and ended both seasons on IR. He obviously didn’t live up to the $40 million deal he signed in 2018. Richardson got that deal coming off his best NFL season with the Seahawks in 2017, when he caught 44 passes for 703 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s averaged just 12.7 yards per catch in his NFL career but Richardson did run a 4.40 at the 2014 combine. 

Josh Gordon 

The most talented receiver on this list obviously comes with plenty of baggage. Gordon is indefinitely suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse and PED policies but he applied for reinstatement in June. Even though his NFL career has taken many turns since his All-Pro season in 2013, every time he gets on the field the now-29-year-old still has it. If you’re wondering why Gordon is on this list and not Antonio Brown, it’s because Gordon has his problems but hasn’t torpedoed his own team. 

Jarius Wright 

He’s 30 now but Wright once ran a 4.39 at the combine back in 2012 and he’s put together an eight-year NFL career. He spent the last two years in Carolina, playing in all 32 games with 71 catches for 743 yards and a touchdown. His best season came in 2014 with the Vikings, when he caught 42 passes for 588 and 2 touchdowns. 

Chris Hogan 

Hogan, 32, spent the 2019 season with the Panthers after three seasons in New England. The 6-1 receiver played in just seven games because of injury in 2019, catching eight passes for 67 yards. But he was a key role player for the Patriots from 2016-18, winning Super Bowls LI and LIII. He’s not the fastest player in the league but Hogan led the NFL in yards per reception in 2016. That year he caught 38 passes for 680 yards (17.9) and 4 touchdowns. 

Tavon Austin 

While Austin isn’t a prototypical outside burner at 5-8, he’s definitely fast. He ran a 4.34 coming out of college in 2013. He’s never lived up to his draft status as the No. 8 pick but he’s been a productive player at times. He’s now 30 and coming off two disappointing seasons with the Cowboys, catching just 21 passes for 317 yards. His best production came with the Rams in 2015-16. He had 52 and 58 catches for 473 and 509 yards with 5 and 3 touchdowns. 

Jordan Matthews 

One more time? Matthews is still just 28 and was with the Eagles in each of the last two seasons. In two games with the Eagles late last year, he had 4 catches for 33 yards. It’s still hard to believe how productive this guy was early in his career. In his first three NFL seasons with the Eagles from 2014-16, Matthews had 225 catches for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. The only other players in NFL history to put up those numbers in their first three seasons are Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham, A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans and Larry Fitzgerald. 

Jermaine Kearse 

The former Seahawk and Jet is 30 years old now and missed the 2019 season. He signed with the Lions in 2019 but broke his leg in the preseason. Kearse’s best season wasn’t that long ago. In 2017, he caught 65 passes for 810 yards and 5 touchdowns. He has had a pretty productive career, especially for an undrafted player. 

Demaryius Thomas 

OK, so Thomas isn’t a perennial Pro Bowler anymore. He’s now 32 years old and is coming off an OK season with the Jets in 2019. He caught 36 passes for 433 yards and a touchdown. Will he get back to his form from 2012-16 when he made four Pro Bowls? No way. But could he be productive in a limited role with an offense hungry for a veteran presence? Maybe. He’d be able to fill the X position if Alshon Jeffery isn’t ready to go. 

Justin Hardy 

Hardy was a 4th-round pick back in 2015 and he spent the last five seasons with the Falcons. In those five years, he averaged 19 catches, 189.2 yards and 1.8 touchdowns. He also returned some kicks and punts with the Falcons too. When he was drafted, Eagles senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello was with the Falcons. 

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Losing Marquise Goodwin puts Eagles in precarious position

Losing Marquise Goodwin puts Eagles in precarious position

Marquise Goodwin’s decision to sit out the 2020 season leaves the Eagles in a difficult and precarious spot.

They’re now down to just one healthy receiver with more than 28 career receptions, and he’s 33 years old and got through just one game last year.

Goodwin gave the Eagles one thing they desperately needed at wide receiver, and that was experience. 

He’s been hurt a lot, and his only big season was 2017, but he has played 75 games over parts of seven seasons, and he has caught 140 passes and scored 13 touchdowns.

His departure leaves the Eagles with 10 receivers on the roster. 

We all know what Jackson can do when he’s healthy. But he’s four months shy of his 34th birthday and who knows what DeSean Jackson we’ll get at this point. Alshon Jeffery remains something of a mystery, still rehabbing from a serious late-season foot injury and coming off an ineffective season even when he was healthy. Who knows when we'll even see him on the field.

After that? The Eagles have eight wide receivers who have played a total of 36 combined career games, caught a total of 52 passes and scored a total of two touchdowns.

Only one of them was on the 53-man roster when last year began.

Here’s a look at the healthy receivers on the roster other than Jackson with their career stats as training camp begins:

JJ Arcega-Whiteside: 23 years old, 16 games, 10 catches, 169 yards, 1 TD
Manasseh Bailey: 23 years old, rookie
Deontay Burnett: 22 years old, 6 games, 12 catches, 191 yards, 0 TD
Robert Davis: 25 years old: 7 games, 2 catches, 17 yards, O TD
John Hightower: 24 years old: rookie
Jalen Reagor: 21 years old: rookie
Greg Ward:  25 years old: 7 games, 28 catches, 254 yards, 1 TD
Quez Watkins: 21 years old: rookie

So barring a veteran signing in the next couple days, the Eagles will go into camp without a single healthy wide receiver between the age of 25 and 33.

What do they really have after Jackson?

The most accomplished of the group is Greg Ward, who has 28 career receptions. The most experienced of the group is JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who played 16 games as a rookie last year. The most promising of the group is Jalen Reagor, the rookie first-round pick.

Four of them are rookies and two of them — Deontay Burnett and Robert Davis — are virtually rookies.

Of the receivers the Eagles project to have on the field on opening day, Jackson and Arcega-Whiteside are the only ones who’ve played more than seven career games.

Now, there’s a lot to be excited about with these young guys. Reagor has a chance to be a stud, Arcega-Whiteside has to be better than what we saw last year (maybe?) and speedy rookies Hightower and Watkins will now get more reps, more of a look, more opportunities with Goodwin opting out.

But this is a very difficult offseason for rookies, with no minicamps, no preseason games and only a handful of real practices leading up to opening day.

And let’s be honest. Howie Roseman does not have a very good track record when it comes to signing or drafting wide receivers. 

It’s easy to believe this group is different. They can all run and they’ve all got some pretty impressive highlight reels. 

But the loss of Goodwin definitely adds some urgency for these young kids. It’s going to force them to grow up fast. 

Take a look down to Dallas and the Eagles’ biggest challenger in the NFC East, and Dak Prescott is throwing to Amani Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. That’s scary.

The Eagles have to get to the point where their wide receiver corps is scaring opposing defenses. They’ve definitely got some talent, but there’s a lot of work to do and not much time to do it.

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