Washington State QB Anthony Gordon negotiates UDFA deal with Seahawks; WR Easop Winston Jr. to play for Rams
April 25, 2020 Updated Sat., April 25, 2020 at 10:57 p.m.
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Easop Winston Jr. (8) runs the ball in for WSU's only touchdown during the first half of a college football game on Friday, September 13, 2019, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Anthony Gordon waited, waited and waited some more.
By the time the New York Giants came up with the 255th and final pick of the 2020 NFL draft, 13 other quarterbacks had been selected – some who’d been projected to go higher than the record-setting signal-caller from Washington State, but many who were thought to be picked lower. The Giants chose Georgia linebacker Tae Crowder as “Mr. Irrelevant,” sending Gordon into free agency as one of the most-coveted quarterbacks on the market.
The nation’s leading passer wasn’t available for long.
According to a Spokesman-Review source, the WSU quarterback agreed to an undrafted free-agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network first reported Gordon’s deal with the Seahawks, though at that point the quarterback was still in contact with other teams.
Gordon, who became the 17th quarterback in college football history to pass for more than 5,000 yards, was widely thought to be one of the top 10 prospects available in the draft, though it was assumed he’d be chosen between the fifth and seventh rounds and enter the NFL as a backup.
Even as a UDFA, Gordon, who grew up in Pacifica, California, will still have a chance to do that. Next to franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks don’t have another signal-caller on the roster, though some think the club will re-sign former backup Geno Smith.
In his lone year as WSU’s starter, the former City College of San Francisco transfer rewrote Pac-12 record books, setting single-season marks for touchdowns (48), passing yards (5,579), total offense and completions (493).
Easop Winston Jr., a teammate of Gordon’s at WSU and CCSF, also negotiated a UDFA deal that will keep him on the West Coast and in his home state of California.
The most productive receiver at WSU over the last two years will join the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent, according to a source. The club began negotiating with Winston in the fourth round and made it official moments after the draft ended.
Rams head coach Sean McVay runs a wide-open spread offense that has many similarities to Mike Leach’s Air Raid, and Winston should have a strong chance to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster. The Rams only have six wide receivers on the current roster and drafted just one: Florida’s Van Jefferson.
“Thanking God with all I have!! My family has been here for me every step of the way and I love them with all I have,” Winston tweeted. “With that being said @RamsNFL you won’t regret giving me this opportunity. Every rep of everyday you’ll see why.”
Winston spent two seasons trading reps at the “Z” receiver position with Dezmon Patmon, who was drafted in the sixth round Saturday by the Indianapolis Colts. Winston caught 137 passes for 1,624 yards as a junior and senior, and his 19 touchdown catches were the most by a receiver in the Pac-12 during that stretch.
WSU’s Fred Mauigoa, the three-year starting center who blocked for each of the Cougars’ recent record-setting quarterbacks – Gordon, Gardner Minshew and Luke Falk – agreed to a UDFA deal with the Carolina Panthers, he told The Spokesman-Review Saturday afternoon.
Mauigoa backed up Riley Sorenson as a freshman before starting every game his sophomore, junior and senior season – 39 in total – as WSU’s quarterbacks set a multitude of career, single-season and single-game passing records. The Iliili, American Samoa, native was on the Rimington Trophy Award watch list each of the last two seasons and played in the East-West Shrine Game with Patmon.
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