LIKE THE NFL'S endangered extra point, physicals given to players to make signings and trades official tend to be almost automatic. That might not be the case when Eagles doctors give wideout Miles Austin the once-over, though.
Austin, who turns 31 in June, last played a full NFL season in 2012 and has a chronic hamstring problem. The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported yesterday that the Birds have signed Austin to a 1-year deal worth $2.3 million, with another $700,000 possible in incentives. But a league source said the signing will not actually take place until today's physical is completed.
Austin caught 47 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games last season for the Cleveland Browns, before his season ended following a kidney injury. He is a former Monmouth star who made the Cowboys as an undrafted rookie in 2006 and made the Pro Bowl following the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
At 6-3, 215, Austin was a reliable target for the Browns last season when he was healthy, but he seemed to lack the explosiveness that had made him a Cowboys star several years earlier.
At this point, Austin would not seem to be any sort of replacement for Eagles 2014 leading receiver Jeremy Maclin, gone to Kansas City in free agency. More likely he would be competing for a fourth wideout job, but you have to wonder about Austin's viability there, given that generally you'd want that role to go to a young, healthy player who could be a special-teams standout.
Rapoport's reported figures - a $2.3 million base and another $700,000 in incentives - seem in line with that expectation.
Austin's best season was 2009, when he was targeted 124 times, catching 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Adding Austin would create even more drama around the Eagles' two NFC East meetings with the Cowboys, already enhanced by the Birds' free-agent signing of Dallas star running back DeMarco Murray.