WASHINGTON — Joshua Morgan came home Wednesday. As a bonus, got to hang out with Pierre Garcon.
Morgan and Garcon signed their contracts with the Washington Redskins, adding fresh talent to the receiving corps even as the team continued to search for other ways to upgrade on the second day of NFL free agency.
"We've got a great idea of what the coaches expect from us and what they want us to do. We're just ready to come in there and go to work," Morgan said in an interview after meeting with coach Mike Shanahan, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and other coaches. "The sky's the limit for us. I agree with the coaches: They said that the offense matches me and Pierre's talents."
Washington took care of some other paperwork Wednesday, formally completing the trade with the St. Louis Rams to move up to the No. 2 spot in the NFL draft. Meanwhile, they continued to court receiver Eddie Royal and were preparing to host cornerback Aaron Ross on Thursday. Safety Brandon Meriweather was also scheduled for a visit, according to The Washington Post.
Morgan goes from West Coast to East, leaving the San Francisco 49ers for $12 million over two years with $7.5 million guaranteed. He said he's almost fully recovered after breaking his right leg Oct. 9 against Tampa Bay. He had surgery to have screws inserted and was placed on season-ending injured reserve just five games into the season.
"Just still trying to work on that explosion, get that explosion all the way back," he said. "But everything's good."
D.C. born and bred, Morgan also said the prospect of returning home — he played for Woodson High in Washington and then at Virginia Tech — had "a whole lot to do" with his choice of teams. He said his entire family still lives in the area, including the two grandmothers who prefer that he be called "Joshua" instead of "Josh" because it's true to the spirit of the Biblical names many of his relatives have.
"I'm happy for Josh. I wish we could have had him, but he's getting to play at home and getting paid some money," 49ers running back Frank Gore said. "Coming off the injury, I think he's going to all right. He's going to help the Redskins a lot."
Garcon, Morgan and possibly Royal would make for a crowded receiver competition with incumbents Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Armstrong and Leonard Hankerson if all are on the roster at training camp. The Redskins need more playmakers at the position: Moss averaged just 4.4 yards after the catch last year, while Gaffney averaged only 2.9.
But neither Garcon, Morgan nor Royal have had a 1,000-yard receiving season in the NFL. Garcon hit 947 last season as the Colts' No. 2 receiver next to Reggie Wayne, but he received No. 1 money from the Redskins. Morgan's high point has been 698 yards in 2010.
Garcon wasn't available for comment — the Redskins, usually known for making the most out of big free agent signings, uncharacteristically opted not to hold news conferences for either player — but Morgan feels he'll be able to adjust to Washington's offense without much difficulty.
"It just like the 49ers offense," Morgan said. "Same West Coast style, same terminology, same route combinations."
Meriweather and Ross are on the Redskins' list because the team has decisions to make all along the back line. Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was cut this week after one disappointing season in Washington, and injured-plagued safety LaRon Landry became an unrestricted free agent. DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty, projected to be backups, were the starters by the end of last year. Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson are under contract to return, but they combined for just five interceptions in 2011.
Meriweather spent last season with the Chicago Bears but was benched in October after making four starts. He previously played four years with the New England Patriots and had 12 interceptions.
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