Howie Roseman breaks down decisions: 8 on OL, Nate Gerry cut, Sidney Jones update

Howie Roseman breaks down decisions: 8 on OL, Nate Gerry cut, Sidney Jones update

The Eagles cut 17 more players Saturday to get down to the NFL required the 53-man limit (see full roster)

And there were a few surprises.

The Eagles ended up keeping five running backs and six receivers but just eight offensive linemen. They kept underperforming draft picks Donnel Pumphrey and Shelton Gibson but decided to cut linebacker Nate Gerry. 

Here are some interesting notes from Roseman's press conference minutes after the roster was set: 

Light on the O-line
Keeping just eight offensive linemen is pretty unusual. Roseman talked about the potential to bring some of their young players back, but he admitted this was a new way of doing things. 

In fact, he said the Eagles looked around at the NFL to see how many teams keep just eight and it "made [them] feel better about the decision." 

After the five starters, the Eagles kept Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack and Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Roseman touted their versatility, saying Wisniewski can play all three interior positions, Warmack can play right and left guard and "Big V" can play right and left tackle. 

"We think we have eight starters on the offensive line," Roseman said. "So not only [Warmack], but in Wiz and V, we think those guys are all starters in the National Football League. I know I've said this a lot, so I'm going to sound repetitive, but it's hard to find offensive linemen. It's hard to find those guys."

Gerry gets the boot
Just one of the Eagles' eight draft picks didn't make their initial 53-man roster Saturday: fifth-round linebacker Nate Gerry. 

Gerry was always going to be somewhat of a project. The Eagles brought him in to convert to linebacker after playing safety at Nebraska. It appeared that the transition was going well. But Gerry wasn't able to beat out the players in front of him. 

Roseman explained why: "Well, I think it's a credit to the other guys at that position. When you look at the guys that we kept beyond the three starters, [LB] Joe Walker had a good preseason. He's another guy coming off a knee injury. We were really bummed when he got hurt last year. He's got physical traits. It's hard to find MIKE linebackers who have shock, and he's able to do that.

"Then you look at Najee (Goode). Najee has versatility. He can back up really both the outside positions and play inside, and [he is] really a huge part of our special teams. It's important for us to be good on special teams.

"And then Kamu (Grugier-Hill), when we look at Kamu, we think he has a chance to be not only one of the better special teams players on our team but in the league. That was a tough one. That was one of the last ones we did right there. We understand it's a transition for him and it's going to take some time. But it was just the nature of the numbers game."

An update on Jones
Among the moves the Eagles made the past two days, there was one formality. The team placed second-round pick Sidney Jones on the reserve/non-football injury list. Jones is still recovering from the Achilles tear he suffered at his pro day before the draft. 

The Eagles have been noncommittal since drafting Jones about whether or not he'll play this season. They've made sure not to rush him. 

On the NFI, Jones will be eligible to practice for three weeks starting in Week 6. The Eagles have a three-week window to decide to activate Jones or send him to IR, ending his rookie season. 

"Obviously, we're talking about six weeks from now, but we have it mapped out," Roseman said. "I don't want to put any restrictions on him or expectations on him at this point. It's going to be day-to-day. But he is doing exactly what we asked of him, and we feel good about where he's at in the process."

Interestingly, Roseman said the Ronald Darby trade ensured the Eagles won't be tempted to rush Jones back to playing. 

"With Sidney, we're going to take it kind of — we have a protocol that our doctors, our trainers and our strength and conditioning staff have put in place," Roseman said. "It's very organized. It's very detailed, and we're just going to knock it down. We have a checklist at every point. He's doing a great job. But again, we have a long way to go and we want to make sure that we're getting the best of Sidney Jones."

Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

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Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

The Eagles gave Nick Foles a little raise on Friday, reworking the Super Bowl MVP’s contract, a league source confirmed. 

Basically, the Eagles are rewarding Foles after he helped the franchise win its first-ever Super Bowl a few months ago. 

Foles, 29, is still entering the final year of his contract with the Eagles, but the new deal also includes a mutual option for the 2019 season, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The mutual option will still allow Foles the possibility to test the free agent market next season, but could leave the door open to a possible return beyond this upcoming season. 

Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport from NFL Network first reported the revised contract, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and “several millions in incentives if he’s the starter and hits various benchmarks,” according to Rapoport. 

That part makes a ton of sense. If for some reason Carson Wentz isn’t ready to play in 2018 or if he goes down again, Foles will have a chance to earn what might be closer to starter money. 

Foles was set to earn a base salary of $4 million in 2018, with a salary cap hit of $7.6 million on the contract before Friday’s renegotiation. 

Wentz and Foles grew very close last season — third-string QB Nate Sudfeld too — and have both been very selfless in a situation that would be awkward for many others in the league. But both have been incredibly selfless throughout the entire process. Just this week, Wentz admitted he had to fight jealousy but was truly happy for his teammate and friend, who became the Super Bowl hero (see story)

Earlier on Friday, Foles tweeted out this photo with his wife and daughter from the NovaCare Complex. That’s a $2 million smile. 

Eagles well-represented on list of top NFL sellers

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Eagles well-represented on list of top NFL sellers

It turns out winning the Super Bowl is pretty good for business. 

The NFLPA on Friday released its top 50 player sales list from March 1-Feb. 28 and the Eagles were the most represented team on the list, with five players ranking in the top 50. 

3. Carson Wentz 
17. Zach Ertz
22. Nick Foles
43. Alshon Jeffery
45. Jay Ajayi 

This list is a combined total of all officially licensed merchandise, not just jerseys. It shouldn’t be surprising that Wentz is near the top of this list, behind just Tom Brady (1) and Dak Prescott (2). Even though he was injured late in the year, he was having an MVP season before going down and is obviously the Eagles’ quarterback of the future. 

But Foles making the list at 22? That’s pretty impressive. Remember, for most of the 2017 season, Foles was just a backup on a two-year deal. He had to make a heckuva comeback once he took over for an injured Wentz and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship. Foles returned to the top 50 list after two years off of it. 

Weirdly, Foles sold more drinkware product from Wincraft than any other player — 10 times more than any other player!

And there are likely a lot of Eagles fans walking around the city with players on their legs. Five of the top 10 sellers of Strideline socks were Eagles: Foles, Wentz, Chris Long, Ajayi and Jeffery. 

Only Brady and Odell Beckham Jr. sold more in Fathead decals than Wentz. 

Here’s the top 10: 

1. Brady
2. Prescott
3. Wentz
4. Ezekiel Elliott
5. Antonio Brown
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Beckham Jr. 
8. Russell Wilson
9. Rob Gronkowski
10. Derek Carr