The Philadelphia Eagles made it official on Monday that they have signed wide receiver Paul Turner to the active roster from the practice squad.
The undrafted rookie free agent was a preseason and training camp standout for the Birds, as he led the NFL with 17 catches for 165 yards while also scoring on a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown in four games this preseason.
“He’s done well,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said of Turner. “Gosh, he’s made plays on service-team, going against our defense. A lot of times when you’re going up against starters in practice you get a good look at your young players that way. He’s done a nice job.
“Even last week in practice we were able to kind of interject him into some of our offensive practice work and see where he’s at. He’s obviously a smart kid and we’re looking forward to getting him some more time this week.”
It appears that this move has been in the works, at least for the last week, as Pederson said that the team had been working Turner in practice. To make room for Turner, the Eagles released cornerback Aaron Grymes.
“We gave [Turner] some work last week in practice,” Pederson said Monday, “and just feel like this is a good opportunity now, not only for him but for us, to see where he’s at, see what he can do, and give him an opportunity. We’ll give him some work this week and see whether or not he’ll be up for the game.”
The signing of Turner should be good news to Eagles fans after the struggles the Eagles wideouts have been facing. The receivers led by Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham have dropped 14 passes this season, which is fourth most in the NFL.
Against the Seahawks on Monday, the Eagles receivers were held to just two catches through three quarters while Agholor had zero catches on the day, but made his presence known by having a huge drop that would have been at least a 20-yard gain since the Seahawks had no defense around him. Agholor also negated Zach Ertz‘s 57-yard touchdown due to an illegal formation penalty.
Pederson wouldn’t say whether this roster move was directly correlated with Agholor’s struggles, but Pederson did discuss at length the second-year wideout’s problems.
“I will definitely have a conversation with Nelson, and I’ll address that as we get later in the week. But those are definitely concerns that I have, now that obviously he’s come out and said that [he’s letting things get to him] publicly,” Pederson said. “My concern is for him as an individual. As a person. I want to make sure he’s in a good spot. Listen, put football aside. We all know about that. I want to make sure him, as a person, he’s doing good. We’ll have that conversation during the week.”
Pederson said he will be talking with Agholor today to decide whether or not he may need the week off. Pederson also said he has never had a situation like this, where a receiver simply looses faith in himself. Until that conversation, Agholor will still be included in receiving drills while Turner gets mixed in.
The Eagles will play host to Green Bay on Monday night.