Eagles

Award proves Chris Long is really the people's champ

Award proves Chris Long is really the people's champ

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. β€” Chris Long has made a pretty big impact for the Eagles' defensive line in his first season with the Birds.

It just pales in comparison to his work off the field. 

For his charitable efforts this season, the 32-year-old Long has been named the 2018 NFLPA Byron "Whizzer" White Community MVP, which is awarded by the NFLPA for the player who goes "above and beyond to perform community service in their team cities and hometowns." The award comes with a $100,000 donation that will go to the Chris Long Foundation. 

Long was a finalist along with Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Von Miller and J.J. Watt. Their NFL peers voted on the winner. 

It's not hard to figure out why Long won the award. 

This season, Long donated his entire year's salary to fund educational initiatives designed to level the playing field. He was the Week 2 NFLPA Community MVP when he used his first six game checks to fund a scholarship program at his former high school in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Then in October, Long pledged to donate his final 10 game checks to further educational initiatives in Philadelphia, Boston and St. Louis, the three cities he has called home in the NFL. He basically played for free in 2017. 

"In my 10th year, I want to celebrate the awesome opportunity I've had to play football by giving back to the communities that have given me that gift," Long said in a statement in October. "Educational opportunity and equity are the best gateway to a better tomorrow for everyone in America."

As he made that second donation, Long also created the "Pledge 10 for Tomorrow" campaign under his foundation with the hopes to get pledges to match and it happened. 

Among his teammates in the Eagles' locker room, Long is one of the most respected. Sometimes his teammates tease him about his philanthropic work, but they're incredibly blown away by his selflessness. They certainly think he deserves this award. 

Trey Burton denies report questioning his Eagles future

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Trey Burton denies report questioning his Eagles future

Several hours after an NJ.com report surfaced that the Eagles were unlikely to re-sign Trey Burton, the tight end denied it on Twitter.

Replying to a tweet about the report from former Eagles teammate Emmanuel Acho, Burton said he hasn't spoken to anyone.

NJ.com's Matt Lombardo reported Friday that the Eagles made Burton an offer that the soon-to-be-free-agent "didn't consider serious."

"We are fully expecting Trey to sign elsewhere," the source said.

It wouldn't be surprising whatsoever if Burton leaves in free agency. A team will likely pay him starter's money and offer him a chance to start, which he doesn't have here with Zach Ertz firmly entrenched.

The Eagles are over the projected salary cap, and while they could create space in numerous ways, they also have to worry about re-signing key linebacker Nigel Bradham.

6 ways for Eagles to create cap space

6 ways for Eagles to create cap space

The Eagles are coming off a thrilling season but there's a lot of work to be done. 

The NFL's new league year begins on March 14 and the Eagles must be under the salary cap by then. The problem is that based on projections, the Eagles are set to be more than $9 million over the cap, according to OverTheCap. So it's time for some maneuvering. 

The good news is that Howie Roseman's specialty has always been finding unique ways to get the Eagles out of cap trouble. There are ways for him to do it again.

Cut Torrey Smith 
Probably the easiest one. Smith was a great teammate and a solid addition to the Eagles' locker room, and he really stepped up his game in the playoffs, but it's probably not enough to bring him back. He just wasn't good enough last season, and cutting him would save the Eagles $5 million in cap room with no dead money. The Birds still have Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, while Mack Hollins is entering Year 2. 

Cut Brent Celek
This one will hurt, but Celek can take away the sting if he decides to walk away as a champion. He's set to have a cap number of $5 million. That's just way too much for what Celek provides these days. By cutting him, the Eagles would save $4 million in cap space. So just between Smith and Celek, the Eagles will almost get back to zero ... but there's other work to do. They'll still need money to sign free agents and draft picks. 

Extend Brandon Graham 
Graham is entering the final year of his contract with a cap number of $8 million. He wants a new contract and deserves one. Good news: An extension would work for both sides. Graham would get more money long term and the Eagles could get his cap number down this season. 

Rework/cut Vinny Curry
Curry is coming off of probably his best season in the NFL but will have an $11 million cap number. That's tough to swallow, especially with Derek Barnett waiting for his chance to start. It seems likely the Eagles will ask Curry to take a pay cut or rework his deal. If not, cutting him would leave $6 million in dead money but would also save $5 million in cap room. 

Trade Mychal Kendricks
If you remember, Kendricks actually wanted a trade last offseason. Good thing that didn't happen. Kendricks ended up being a big part of the Eagles' success in 2017. Depending on what happens with Nigel Bradham in free agency and with Jordan Hicks' Achilles recovery, trading Kendricks might again be an option. A trade would save $4.4 million in cap space. 

Trade Nick Foles 
This is such a tough one β€” we explore it more here. But basically, Foles is a pretty amazing insurance policy until we know when Carson Wentz is going to be ready. If the Eagles do trade Foles, it would save them $5.2 million that they could certainly use. The problem is that by the time they know Wentz's status, free agency will be long gone and that cap space won't help this year. But it could help in 2019.