When Chris Givens played with Sam Bradford on the St. Louis Rams in 2012, the rookie receiver caught three touchdown passes that Bradford threw. They were from 37 yards, 50 yards, and 51 yards.

Givens' most attractive role in the NFL is as a deep threat who can provide a vertical element to an offense. The Eagles, with Bradford as their starter, needed a player who could offer that skill. That seemed to be the impetus for the one-year deal Givens signed with the Eagles on Wednesday to bolster the team's receiving corps.

The low-risk contract is worth a total of $840,000, including bonuses, according to a league source. The Eagles are optimistic about Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, and Josh Huff developing in their offense. But Givens, 26, can mix in as an outside receiver who can stretch the field.

"That was one of the main things they talked about," Givens said. "My deep-threat ability and ability to make plays with the ball in my hands."

Givens has played four seasons in the NFL. He spent most of that time with the Rams before an in-season trade to the Baltimore Ravens last October. Givens has been far from exceptional, but his 16.6 yards per catch ranks fifth in the NFL since 2012 among all receivers with at least 50 catches. Givens totaled 107 career receptions for 1,779 yards and five touchdowns. Thirty-three of his catches went for 20 or more yards, and eight catches were for 40-plus yards.

"I'm way faster than my 40 time on the football field," Givens said. "I feel that's what separates me. When the ball is in the air, there's another gear that kicks in."

Givens ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds when he came out of Wake Forest in 2012. The Rams selected him in the fourth round that season, and his best two years as a pro came with Bradford as his quarterback in 2012 and part of 2013. In 24 games with Bradford, Givens had 60 catches for 933 yards and three touchdowns. So 56 percent of his catches, 52.4 percent of his yards, and 60 percent of his touchdowns came with Bradford - and that amounted to only 40 percent of his games.

"It played a lot" into the decision to sign, Givens said. "I feel both of our talents match up pretty well. That was one of the deciding factors."

Givens didn't want to use Bradford's injuries and subsequent departure as an excuse for why he hasn't been as productive during the last two seasons. He said he takes "full responsibility" and admitted that his numbers could have been better.

"But at the same time, when you don't have a quarterback who can throw the ball deep, it's going to affect your play at some point," Givens said.

Givens was not in touch with Bradford before signing with the Eagles. He visited the Jets on Tuesday. He signed with the Eagles during a Wednesday visit and was bullish about the team's interest in him. He also believes that Bradford is "finally going to come into his own and be the Sam Bradford everybody knows he can be."

Givens said he already had spoken with Matthews. The two receivers worked out together last offseason. Matthews, who was the team's leading receiving last year, told Givens to "come join the wave." Givens could make Matthews' job easier by forcing the defense to pay attention to the deep ball.

"In one play," Givens said, "we could score a touchdown."

Givens' rookie season with Bradford offered three examples.

zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm