Newly signed Eagles wide receiver Miles Austin (still sounds a little weird, huh?) met with the Philadelphia media via conference call on Tuesday afternoon. The 30-year-old touched on a number of subjects. Highlights are below, and then my own thoughts beyond that.
Why he chose the Eagles
Miles Austin says growing up in Jersey helped him pick the #Eagles. Says he doesn't really know his role yet.— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) March 31, 2015
Miles Austin: "Me and DeMarco are really close."— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) March 31, 2015
Were any other teams interested?
Miles Austin said #Eagles only team visited, and talked to DeMarco Murray about coming to Philly.— Martin Frank (@Mfranknfl) March 31, 2015
Open to playing special teams
Mile Austin says he hasn't played special teams for two years. Says he'll play special teams here if asked. #Eagles— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) March 31, 2015
Solution to hamstring injury issues
Austin didn't have any other visits with teams. Re '14 injury: "I don't know how you have a lacerated kidney without stabbing yourself."— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) March 31, 2015
Austin said until kidney problem last season, "felt as good as I've felt." Said changed warmups last yr to help his hamstring issues #Eagles— Martin Frank (@Mfranknfl) March 31, 2015
Miles Austin said he feels he might have lost a little explosiveness, but has offset that with greater knowledge.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) March 31, 2015
• It will be interesting to see how genuinely willing he is to play special teams. It would seem that the Eagles didn't sign him for that kind of role; he'll be 31 and he hasn't played on that unit for years. It seems more likely Austin figures to fit in on offense. But where? He played primarily on the outside last year but he also has experience in the slot. Maybe he'll do both for Philadelphia.
• A lot of people seem to be wondering why the Eagles gave Austin $2.3 million. Did the Eagles even have any real competition for his services? While you can easily argue it's an overpay due to concerns about his health and declining skills, consider he made $2 million with the Browns last year. And that was earned coming of a terrible year in 2014 where he finished with 24 receptions for 224 yards and 0 touchdowns for the Cowboys. Austin is coming off of a year with the Browns where he finished with 47, 568, and two scores. You can argue whether it's a good signing or not, but I don't think it's all that crazy that he got a slight raise when you compare those stats.
• For as much as Austin's health is a legitimate concern, he's never played in less than nine games in a season. He's averaged 13.1 games played per season (out of 16) for his career.
• Overall, it's far from a thrilling signing. There's certainly potential for it to be an unsuccessful deal. From the Eagles standpoint, they wanted a veteran wide receiver to add to their thin and inexperienced corps of pass catchers. The team is counting on Austin as an insurance policy should Riley Cooper struggle mightily again and/or Josh Huff fail to step up. They could have done worse.