Broncos should consider signing Cam Phillips, star XFL receiver

Cam Phillips celebrates a touchdown. Credit: Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports.
Cam Phillips celebrates a touchdown. Credit: Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports.

XFL 2020 came and went in only five weeks due to the current pandemic.

But, what it left in its wake was a league which was more fan-centric, more transparent in terms of replay and more willing to take risks in terms of rules changes than the NFL. XFL 2020’s season came at a great time for football-needy fans, and, the league showed off multiple players who could cut it in the big league, the NFL.

Two of the league’s biggest stars were showcased on the 5-0 Houston Roughnecks in quarterback P.J. Walker and his No. 1 receiver Cam Phillips. Walker took the league by storm, showcasing a blend of athleticism and throwing prowess which has landed him back in the NFL.

Walker was formerly on the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad and joined the XFL after former Colts’ QB Andrew Luck suggested he joined. Oliver Luck, Andrew’s father, is the XFL commissioner.

According to Ian Rapoport, Walker has signed with the Carolina Panthers. Multiple other reports said the Broncos had interest in the quick-footed, lightning-fast quarterback who tossed for 15 touchdowns and 1,338 passing yards in five games.

It was an interesting connection because the Broncos don’t really need Walker on the roster. Drew Lock will be the starter in 2020 — and for a long time beyond if fans get their wish — plus, Denver signed Jeff Driskel late last week to be the backup. And, according to Ben Allbright, the Broncos weren’t actually even in on him.

However, one XFL player the Broncos could end up signing is Phillips, who would have been the league MVP if his quarterback didn’t out-shine him.

Phillips was basically indefensible on the XFL field, racking up 31 receptions and 455 yards with nine touchdowns in only five games. That’s an average of 91 yards per game. Plus, he enjoyed two games with three touchdowns, including the 8 reception, 194-yard comeback win for Houston.

Together, Walker and Phillips powered the most deadly passing attack in the XFL and Houston’s offense scored more touchdowns (20) than any other team.

Phillips, who’s 6′ and 201 pounds, played at Virginia Tech from 2014-2018, earning All-ACC as a junior. In 2018, Phillips played two games with the Buffalo Bills, recording one catch for nine yards. He bounced on and off the Bills roster throughout 2018, and was with the team during training camp last year before being cut on Sept. 1.

The Broncos are currently needy in terms of wide receiver depth, even if Courtland Sutton cemented himself as a legitimate No. 1 receiver last season. Behind Sutton, all that’s certain is Tim Patrick will be there, possibly in a slot role, or in a fourth wideout role.

Phillips would immediately be an improvement as a No. 2 receiver opposite of Sutton, or if the Broncos draft a wideout, Phillips could be one of those depth receivers like Patrick. It all depends on how well he practices and plays at the NFL level.

Ideally, Denver would be able to draft Henry Ruggs III at No. 15 overall, who would immediately become their slot receiver and deep threat. With Sutton and Ruggs likely being stars, Phillips at No. 2 and Patrick at No. 4 would give the Broncos a solid receiving corps. And, don’t forget about tremendous tight end Noah Fant.

After having Bryce Callahan restructure his contract to save Denver $1.8 million towards the salary cap and the signing of tight end Nick Vannett — which could mean the subsequent cutting of Jeff Heuerman — the Broncos have somewhere between $6.5-8.5 million to spend.

If Phillips is cheap, it’s all the more reason Denver should sign him today.

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