NFL Notes: Cowboys release former Eagles DT Cedric Thornton

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NFL Notes: Cowboys release former Eagles DT Cedric Thornton

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have released defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, their most expensive free agent a year ago, and claimed Brian Price off waivers from Green Bay to replace him.

The Cowboys acquired linebacker Jayrone Elliott from the Packers on Sunday for a late-round pick in the 2018 draft. Dallas made room for Elliott by waiving linebacker Mark Nzeocha, a seventh-round selection in 2015.

Thornton had 18 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in one season with the Cowboys after signing a $17 million, four-year deal with $9 million guaranteed. He couldn't beat out Terrell McClain in 2016, and worked behind free agent pickup Stephen Paea while nursing a hamstring injury in training camp this year.

Jameill Showers made the practice squad for the third straight season, and second as a safety after moving from quarterback. Defensive tackle Lewis Neal and 6-foot-10 offensive lineman Dan Skipper were among the undrafted rookies to make the 10-player squad (see full story).

Dolphins: Former Eagle Parkey claimed to replace Franks
DAVIE, Fla. -- Kicker Cody Parkey has been claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins, who released Andrew Franks, their kicker the past two seasons.

The Dolphins also claimed former Kansas City Chiefs starting linebacker Justin March-Lillard on Sunday. He played in only five games last year because of a broken hand.

Parkey was released Saturday by the Cleveland Browns. In next Sunday's season opener he'll kick in the same stadium where he missed three field goal attempts for the Browns last year when they lost to Miami in overtime. In other games he went 17 for 19.

Parkey made the Pro Bowl in 2014, when he went 32 for 36 on field goals for the Eagles and set an NFL rookie record with 150 points (see full story).

Bills: Williams a surprise cut after team claims 3
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Add running back Jonathan Williams to the mix of former Buffalo Bills draft picks no longer on the team.

The 2016 fifth-round selection was regarded as the most surprising Bills player cut Sunday, when Buffalo was required to make room for three players acquired on waivers. Williams had 121 yards rushing and a touchdown this preseason, and was projected to be LeSean McCoy's primary backup.

The backup role now falls to a combination of veteran fullback Mike Tolbert and Joe Banyard, with Buffalo preparing to open the season hosting the New York Jets next weekend.

The Bills also released receiver Philly Brown and linebacker Gerald Hodges. Brown became the odd-man out a day after Buffalo dealt cornerback Kevon Seymour and acquired receiver/returner Kaelin Clay in a trade with Carolina.

The moves coincided with Buffalo claiming former Detroit Lions tight end Khari Lee, linebacker Deon Lacey and rookie tackle Conor McDermott, who was drafted in the sixth round by New England. Lacey has three seasons of Canadian Football League experience, and spent this offseason with the Miami Dolphins before being cut Saturday (see full story).

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

The Eagles have found their replacement for Torrey Smith. 

Heck, they found an upgrade. 

On Thursday, the Birds agreed to terms with veteran speedy receiver Mike Wallace on a one-year deal. The deal is worth $2.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. 

This signing makes a ton of sense for the Eagles, especially if they weren’t ready to hand Mack Hollins the starting spot Smith left. Hollins can now split time with Wallace. Even if the Eagles didn’t trade Smith, they weren’t going to keep him at his price tag, so adding Wallace gives the Eagles a veteran with speed at a cheaper cost. 

Wallace, 31, is coming off a season in which he caught 52 passes for 748 yards (14.4 yards per reception) and four touchdowns. For comparison, in 2017, Smith caught 36 passes for 430 yards (11.9) and two touchdowns. And Smith dropped seven passes, while Wallace dropped just three, according to ProFootballFocus. In fact, Wallace's numbers weren't far off from Alshon Jeffery's stats last year (57 receptions, 789 yards, 9 touchdowns). 

While Wallace isn’t coming off his best season in 2017, he went over 1,000 yards in 2016 and has averaged 15.0 yards per reception during his nine-year NFL career. The Eagles hope he'll be the deep threat they thought they were getting in Smith. 

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Wallace is second in the league in 40-yard receptions and in 50-yard receptions. He has 43 receptions of 40-plus yards (behind DeSean Jackson's 56) and 26 receptions of 50-plus yards (behind Jackson's 36). 

If that's not recent enough for you, the Eagles had seven pass plays of 50-plus yards in 2017; Wallace had three on his own. He can still stretch the field. 

The Eagles can now start Alshon Jeffery and Wallace on the outside, which will allow them to keep Nelson Agholor in the slot, where he was great last season. Then they’ll still have Hollins and Shelton Gibson (both draft picks from 2017) off the bench. Not bad. 

Wallace will turn 32 before the season starts, so the Eagles have added another veteran player, something they’ve done plenty this season. They already added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. It’s pretty clear the Eagles see the need to maximize their window of opportunity and getting players to join them is probably easier coming off a Super Bowl win. 

Signing veterans on one-year deals certainly worked well for the Eagles last season and if this one works out too, they will have found a good fit for the 2018 season.  

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

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Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

The Eagles pulled off trades and signed a few free agents after the new league year began on March 14 ... and it's shortened their Super Bowl odds. 

The Eagles' odds to win Super Bowl LIII improved from 9/1 to 17/2 between Feb. 5 and March 22, according to Bovada. Despite beating them in Super Bowl LII less than two months ago, the Eagles still trail the Patriots, who stood pat at 5/1. 

Here's the full top 10: 

1. Patriots: 5/1
2. Eagles: 17/2
3. Vikings: 9/1
4. Steelers: 12/1
5. Packers: 14/1
5. Rams: 14/1
7. Saints: 18/1
8. Falcons: 20/1
9. Texans: 22/1
9. Jaguars: 22/1
9. Raiders: 22/1

As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the next closest to the Eagles are the Cowboys, but their inactivity this offseason gave them longer odds, going from 18/1 to 28/1. The Giants' odds stayed at 50/1, while the Redskins' odds went from 50/1 to 66/1. 

And here's a fun prop bet: The over/under for Michael Bennett sacks in 2018 is set at 8. Last season, he had 8½ with the Seahawks. Now, he's playing on a dynamic defensive line but also figures to play less because of the Eagles' rotation.