The Philadelphia Eagles worked out two free agent wide receivers ahead of Wednesday’s first training camp practice: Deon Cain and JaVonta Payton.
And they signed Cain, according to a report from Aaron Wilson.
Let’s sort through this news on a player-by-player basis.
Cain is returning to the Eagles after originally signing to their practice squad in October 2021. He appeared to pushing for a roster spot last summer. In addition to flashing in practice, he was the Eagles’ preseason receiving leader with eight catches for 106 yards (13.3 average).
Ultimately, Cain failed to make the active roster but remained with the Birds on the practice squad until he was released in October.
Cain remained unsigned until earlier this year in March when he joined the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions. It was there he saw 26 targets for 16 catches, 182 yards, and two touchdowns. He also returned 23 kickoffs for two touchdowns and a quality 29.0 average. Cain’s season ended on a high note as he was named USFL Championship game MVP.
Now back in Philly, Cain is competing to be one of five or six receivers that the Eagles keep on their 53-man roster. Considering he turns 27 in August, one can wonder about his upside at this point. But perhaps he can carve out a role as the Eagles’ “enforcer” receiver who is tasked with doing the dirty work (blocking, special teams) which Zach Pascal filled last year. Cain is listed as the same height (6’2”) as Pascal but also 10 pounds lighter.
Initial thought: DeVonta and JaVonta on the same team could be fun.
Payton originally joined the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent last year (one catch for nine yards in the preseason) before going to play in the XFL. He saw 17 targets for 11 catches and 164 yards while ultimately winning a championship ring with the Arlington Renegades.
As of this publish time, there is no indication the Eagles are signing Payton.
The Eagles’ roster is currently full at the max capacity of 90 players. Officially, it’s only at 89 since Dennis Kelly hasn’t actually put pen to paper yet ... but that’s only a matter of time since he agreed to terms. And so the Birds will need to make a corresponding move to free up space for Cain.