After spending the first five weeks of the 2021 NFL season on the Philadelphia Eagles‘ practice squad, Travis Fulgham was unceremoniously released alongside Nick Eubanks to make room for Christian Elliss and Noah Togiai.
To some, this move was relatively inconsequential. Teams move players around to and from their practice squad all the time during the regular season, and it’s not like Fulgham was expected to play a big role for the team moving forward.
And yet, to others, this announcement just hit differently. Fulgham was mere months removed from being the Eagles’ leading receiver and was viewed by many as a fundamental building block during his incredibly five-game run in 2020.
So what happened? How did Travis Fulgham go from an incredibly exciting young wide receiver to a certified afterthought unworthy of even a spot on the practice squad? Is there anything we can learn from the plight of the Philadelphia Eagles 2020 receiving leader moving forward?
Hopefully, Fulgham can recapture his mojo away from the Philadelphia Eagles.
In 2020, Travis Fulgham was a revelation for the Philadelphia Eagles.
A mid-August waiver wire claim via the Green Bay Packers, Fulgham ultimately landed on the Eagles practice squad before being elevated to the 53 man roster on October 3rd. Fulgham made his Eagles debut the following day and hauled in two catches on three targets for 57 yards, in addition to a pivotal touchdown that ultimately secure Philly an 18-14 lead.
From there, Fulgham turned in four straight games with at least 70 receiving yards per game, putting up 152, 75, 73, and 78 yards versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys respectfully.
And then? Nothing.
For one reason or another, Fulgham fell out of favor with Doug Pederson and company and only recorded 104 yards in 23 targets over the final eight games of the regular season. Fulgham was largely replaced in the lineup by Alshon Jeffery and with Carson Wentz replaced by Jalen Hurts, he soon found himself an offensive afterthought.
While the Eagles opted to keep Fulgham around for the final year of his contract, his spot on the roster was anything but guaranteed. Fulgham fought it out with JJ Arcega-Whiteside and John Hightower for a spot at the bottom of the roster alongside fellow former practice squad member Greg Ward, and was ultimately waived coming out of camp and relegated to the practice squad to start out the regular season once more.
… at least until October 11th, when Fulgham was released by the team to make room for returning tight end Noah Togiai.
If you are one of those Eagles fans who genuinely believe Fulgham wasn’t given a fair shake by the team, this all but closes the door on said tall having a happy ending.
Now a member of a Miami Dolphins squad that features five wide receivers on their active roster – including our old pal Mack Hollins – three more wide receivers on IR for one reason or another, and two more on the practice squad, Fulgham finds himself in a unique position moving forward. Theoretically, he could make his way onto the field for one of the worst teams in the league, which could be beneficial, especially if Tua Tagovailoa makes it back on the field in the not too distant future, but if a player like Will Fuller follows close behind, his chances of making an impact shrinks considerably.
And yet, if the Eagles signed a receiver off of their practice squad, what are the chances it would have been Fulgham? With 2020 fifth-round pick John Hightower and Cardinals 2019 sixth-round pick KeeSean Johnson also on the practice squad, Fulgham’s chances of actually seeing the field for the Eagles this fall wasn’t particularly expansive, especially since Nick Sirianni doesn’t appear particularly interested in running the sort of four or even five wide receiver sets that has made Kliff Kingsbury so successful in Arizona.
For a player like Fulgham, a fresh start may be just what the doctor ordered to prolong his NFL career.
Should the Philadelphia Eagles have tried a little harder to get Travis Fulgham involved this preseason? Sure. Even now, the team lacks a reliable big-bodied receiver in their regular offensive game plan, but after watching how JJ Arcega-Whiteside has been utilized over the past few weeks, it’s not like Fulgham would have been a bit part of the Eagles offense in 2021. Between you and me, this feels more like an issue with Nick Sirianni’s game plans than anything having to do with the on-field abilities of Fulgham, JJAW, or even Miles Sanders, who is a different story for another article entirely.