Irwin has put together another solid season as a WR4, finishing with 23 receptions for 282 yards and a touchdown. However next year, with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd's contracts set to expire, he could see himself in a bigger role on the offense.
Now, I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know what Boyd and Higgins' futures with the team are at this moment. If they both walk or one is re-signed or if they tag Higgins and re-sign Boyd remains to be seen. Right now, it's all up in the air, and last year proved how unpredictable free agency can be.
While everyone could see that Bates was going to be gone in the off-season, Samaje Perine, Hayden Hurst, and Vonn Bell's departures came as a shock to most fans. The point is, I don't know what the receiver room will look like in 2024 at the moment, but I'm going in with the assumption that we'll at least lose one or the other. And in that case, Irwin is almost guaranteed to have a bigger role.
Besides him having another solid, arguably better season this year, Irwin was relied on quite a bit this year when the injury bug reared its ugly head. The most notable example was the Cardinals game. While Ja'Marr Chase by far had the most impressive performance of the game, a statline of 15 receptions, 192 yards, and three scores, Irwin served as a nice compliment finishing with eight receptions (career high) for 60 yards.
While the receiving room would still be very much crowded, especially after the additions of Charlie Jones and Andrei Iosivas in last year's draft and likely more new faces through free agency and this year's draft assuming they lose Boyd and/or Higgins, this is a team that likes to trust its vets. We saw it firsthand with Nick Scott over Jordan Battle for half the season and I'd even include continuing to give Awuzie a high amount of snaps even though he's taken a step back from who he was.
All that being considered, Irwin will have a good chance of proving himself as a bonafide starter in 2024 rather than a rotational/depth piece.