Sports

Whatever happened to Travis Fulgham?


Travis Fulgham

Travis Fulgham
Photo: Getty Images

Every fantasy football player knows the name Travis Fulgham as someone who either lost them a matchup or won them several matchups during the middle of last season. Fulgham was the Philadelphia Eagles’ leading receiver in 2020. Between Weeks 5 and 8, Fulgham recorded 27 receptions, 378 yards, and three touchdowns. He became the first Eagles’ receiver to record four straight games with 70-plus receiving yards since DeSean Jackson in 2012, and just the second to do so since Terrell Owens in 2005. Fulgham finished the season with 38 receptions for 539 yards and four touchdowns, despite inconsistent quarterback play from Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts. So, yes, he didn’t finish the season very strong, but he showed incredible promise for a second-year player and enough talent to warrant keeping him on an NFL roster…or so you’d think.

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After the season, despite disappointing (albeit injury-marred) performances from former first-round selection Jalen Reagor and former second-round selections J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Fulgham could not keep his spot on the Eagles’ 53-man roster for this year. That begs the question: Why was he cut? Did he deserve to be cut? And is he still in the NFL?

According to reports, Fulgham was cut for a variety of reasons, not least of which were his drop issues. The issues first appeared during the tail-end of the 2020 season. After the incredible four-week span I talked about earlier, where he posted a catch rate of 65.9 percent, Fulgham caught just nine of the 23 targets thrown his way for the rest of the season. That’s a 39.1 percent catch rate, one of the lowest of any qualified receiver in the NFL during that time. Even with his stellar stretch to start the season, Fulgham finished 24th-to-last in the NFL in catch rate (56.7 percent). And while the targets Fulgham was seeing weren’t exactly the greatest — 76.1 percent catchable target rate — it still ranked him within the top-60 in the league (58th to be exact). By my count, Fulgham had five drops in 2020 – four of which came after his hot stretch from Weeks 5 to 8.

As the drops and lack of separation continued later in the 2020 season and teams started to actually game plan for Fulgham, head coach Doug Pederson stopped designing plays for him, instead opting to draw up designed looks to Alshon Jeffery who came back from injury in Week 9, but was never really productive. Pederson also made comments directed at Fulgham throughout the season, insinuating that the Old Dominion alum was not as hard a worker as many of the other Eagles’ receivers.

The following offseason, Fulgham had an opportunity to impress new head coach Nick Sirianni. However, his drops continued during training camp and the preseason. Fulgham had just one catch throughout the entirety of the preseason, an 18-yard reception from Nick Mullens that would’ve set the Eagles up for a 1st & Goal at the Jets’ 2-yard line…had Fulgham not fumbled the ball out of the endzone for a touchback. Ultimately, the lack of production and inability to turn opportunity into results prompted the Eagles to let Fulgham go in late August. Surely though some team would recognize Fulgham’s potential and give him another shot, right?

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Fulgham would have to wait more than a month for another team to give him that shot. On October 12, the Miami Dolphins signed Fulgham to their practice squad. He was cut almost exactly two months later on December 13 after the Dolphins signed receiver Tommylee Lewis and halfback Dexter Williams to their practice squad and the team needed to make space for them.

Many Eagles fans were cautiously optimistic that GM Howie Roseman would consider picking up Fulgham, but instead, Fulgham found his way to the Mile High City. Surprisingly enough, Fulgham did actually see playing time in an NFL game for the Broncos. In the team’s Week 17 matchup against the Chargers, Fulgham saw the field for a whopping two snaps! He didn’t receive a target and was not active for the team’s final regular season game the following week.

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Still, Fulgham remains signed with Denver and if fortune favors the fans, we may still be able to see him perform at the same level he did during the early parts of the 2020 season. It would be nothing short of a miracle though.

Fulgham was one of those “flash-in-the-pan”-type players that everyone could root for, even if he was only productive for a little over a month. He came out of nowhere to accomplish some incredible feats and then immediately became irrelevant again. He’s like the Jeremy Lin of the NFL, but slightly more forgettable. Where the NBA was several times more fun when Lin was a superstar, the NFL was also much more fun to watch when Fulgham was tearing apart the Steelers’ defense for 10 receptions, 152 yards, and a touchdown. We may never get to see him accomplish anything close to that ever again, but man, it was fun while it lasted.

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