Eagles mailbag — Thinking about trades and 1st-round LBs

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Eagles mailbag — Thinking about trades and 1st-round LBs

So many questions. 

We got to the first bunch Monday and the second on Tuesday

I understand the thought process here. Suddenly, the Eagles have a stable of young cornerbacks and can maybe flip one for a pick. But it's a good thing to have depth like this and there are still some questions. While I really think Sidney Jones is going to be the real deal, it's too early to tell and we didn't get enough of a look at him late in the year after he came back from his Achilles surgery. It'll be interesting to see him in OTAs and training camp. 

The other part of this is Patrick Robinson's impending free agency. If he leaves, the Eagles will have to basically start three of those four players, leaving just one on the bench. And, remember, Ronald Darby is entering a contract year, so the Eagles will probably try to extend him. Until that's done, the future isn't clear.

For a long time, I thought Darby and Jones outside with Mills inside made sense. But I don't know how the Eagles can possibly take Mills off the field. Maybe Mills could play outside in base and move inside in nickel. Or maybe Jones could play inside. If I'm the Eagles, I don't turn a strength back into a possible weakness again. 

The Eagles would probably love to trade Vinny Curry, but like you said, I'm not sure there's much value. And it's not because Curry isn't a good player. In fact, I think he's coming off the best season of his career. I'm just not sure what team would be willing to take on his hefty contract. If there was a team out there, they won't give up much, especially with the knowledge the Eagles will likely cut Curry if they can't trade him. 

I'll be honest. One of the downsides of the Eagles' run to the Super Bowl is I'm now way behind on draft prep; I'm watching a ton as I try to catch up. But I had already watched plenty of Evans in passing (and I liked what I saw) so I turned my attention to Vander Esch. 

I heard NFL Network's Mike Mayock say how impressive Esch was in the Las Vegas Bowl, so I watched that game. Mayock was right. The thing that impressed me the most was the linebacker's athleticism. Watching him break to the ball and even drop in coverage stood out. We know the Eagles have had trouble in the past covering backs out of the backfield, but this kid seems to have that type of ability. I'm now really interested to see what kind of numbers he puts up at the combine. 

There seems to be a decent chance that neither player will be on the board when the Eagles are on the clock at 32. I think Evans will definitely be gone and Esch might be a quick riser. 

Oh, yeah, let me actually answer the question. Right now, I'd probably go with Evans. I think he's more of a sure thing and might be able to start right away. 


More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

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More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

The Eagles have given veteran defensive end Chris Long a raise, but according to one report, Long is concerned enough about his playing time with the Eagles that he's mulling his options regarding his future.

What is certain is that at some point before March 15, Long signed a new contract with the Eagles that increases his 2018 base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million fully guaranteed.

However, NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Monday that Long may decide he doesn't want to accept the new contract — which he already signed.

According to Silver, Long is concerned about how many snaps he would get as a third-down rusher following the addition of Pro Bowl pass rusher Michael Bennett.

The Eagles officially acquired Bennett on March 14, although the deal was reported a week earlier. Long's new contract was filed with the NFLPA on March 15, but there is a good chance he agreed to it and signed it before the Bennett acquisition.

Whether or not Long knew Bennett was coming to the Eagles when he signed the restructured deal is unknown. But at some point Long knew about their interest in Bennett and even gave Bennett a "glowing recommendation" when the Eagles asked, according to an interview Long gave to SBNation.  

Long wouldn't appear to have many options. He could retire, in which case he would have to return the $500,000 bonus he received from the Eagles last week.

He could request a trade, which would be bizarre for someone who signed a contract extension just a few days earlier.

Or he could simply play under the terms of the contract restructure and pay increase, which was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia with a source familiar with the renegotiation.

As for the contract itself, including that $500,000 roster bonus — which was also in the previous version of the contract — Long would receive $3 million guaranteed this year instead of $1.5 million non-guaranteed plus $750,000 in easily achieved roster bonuses.

Long had five sacks and forced four fumbles last year as a rotational defensive end. He wound up playing 496 snaps, 10th-most on the defense and only about 10 per game fewer than starter and Pro Bowler Brandon Graham and five per game fewer than starter Vinny Curry, who the Eagles released.

Long, who turns 33 next week, has 63½ career sacks. His 5.0 sacks last year were his most since 2013. He's won back-to-back Super Bowls the last two years with the Eagles and Patriots.

What happens next?

Long has demonstrated that the money is secondary to him. He donated his entire 2017 base salary to charity.

At some point very soon, the Eagles will need him to decide whether he's even going to have a 2018 base salary.

Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

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Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

A day after we found out that Brian Dawkins picked Troy Vincent to introduce him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony this summer, Terrell Owens has picked his presenter. 

No surprise: It's not Donovan McNabb.

After alienating many people in the league throughout his tremendous career, Owens picked a name from his early days. Longtime NFL assistant coach George Stewart, who was Owens' receivers coach in San Francisco, will introduce T.O. at the 2018 induction. 

In a video released by the Hall of Fame, Owens said Stewart "knew what to get out of me."

Now special teams coordinator and assistant head coach for the Chargers, Stewart has been an NFL coach for three decades. He began his time in San Francisco in 1996 (Owens' rookie season) as a special teams coach but was their wide receivers coach from 2000-02.

"Things that George Stewart may say, it may be shocking to a lot of people, but not to him because he knows who I am," Owens said. "... To know who Terrell Owens is, you really have to spend some time with him. Fast forward, George Stewart became a father figure to me."

The first season Stewart became the 49ers' receivers coach, Owens went to his first of six Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro for the first of five times in his career. Owens was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in all three of the seasons that Stewart held the position in San Francisco. 

Of course, Owens' growth under Stewart led to his becoming one of the biggest stars in the NFL.

Eventually, Owens forced his way out of San Francisco and got to Philadelphia. With the Eagles, Owens had a short and tumultuous two seasons, but was also dynamic on the field and nearly helped them pull off a Super Bowl win over the Patriots. 

Owens averaged 93.5 receiving yards per game during his time in Philadelphia, the highest average in franchise history. It wasn't his play that led to his downfall in Philly. It was his beef with McNabb, along with his attempt to strong-arm the Eagles into a new contract. 

Owens was a divisive personality for his entire career. It's likely the reason it took him three tries to make it into the Hall of Fame. Because his numbers don't lie: He's one of the best receivers of all time.