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State of Eagles rumblings after first free-agent period: Malcolm Jenkins, trades, 14th overall

State of Eagles rumblings after first free-agent period: Malcolm Jenkins, trades, 14th overall

With the first part of the NFL's free-agent period winding down, we take a closer look at some of the stories surrounding the Eagles coming out of one of the busiest times.

Was Malcolm Jenkins really offered to the Saints?
The Eagles' free agency honeymoon didn't last long, as Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported Saturday the Eagles offered safety Malcolm Jenkins along with third- and fourth-round picks to the Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Jenkins has emerged as a fan favorite, a locker-room leader and one of the best safeties in the NFL since signing with the Eagles in 2014, so needless to say, not everybody was enthusiastic about the idea.
 
We can only speculate as to the veracity of the report, but true or untrue, there is more than one way to interpret this story. Jenkins' name being raised in trade discussions doesn't indicate whether it was the Eagles' idea, nor does it mean they would have pulled the trigger even if the Saints agreed. In exploring a deal for a young talent like Cooks, any number of hypothetical offers could've been floated by either side and used as a template to continue the dialogue.
 
In other words, we don't know the nature of any conversations that took place or how serious they were. Plus, whether Jenkins was on the table is sort of irrelevant now. Cooks was traded to New England, and there aren't likely to be many more players on trade block that would merit Jenkins in return. This whole story is much ado about nothing.

Eagles holding on to Jason Kelce ... for now
While vice president of football operations Howie Roseman maintains he's not shopping center Jason Kelce, there's no reason why the Eagles wouldn't listen to offers.

Stefen Wiskniewski -- re-signed for three years over the weekend -- started five seasons at center for the Jaguars and Raiders, and 2016 third-round draft choice Isaac Seumalo is believed by some to be the future at the position.
 
Ironically, it may not be Wisniewski or Seumalo who make Kelce expendable at all. The addition of Chance Warmack in free agency could create a logjam at guard if he can make a strong push for a starting job, which isn't all that unlikely. Consider this: Warmack and Jonathan Cooper are the only offensive guards taken with a top-10 pick since 1997, and are two of three to be taken that high since 1988. How special does a prospect have to be at that position to go that early? Warmack has disappointed in the NFL with Tennessee, but now he's reunited with Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, his former position coach in college.
 
Brandon Brooks is entrenched at right guard, but the Eagles gave Allen Barbre on the left permission to seek a trade. Seumalo would presumably take Barbre's place, although if Warmack impresses, the job could be his, at which point, moving Seumalo to center makes sense. Should all of that come to pass, Kelce could be on the move in August or September, especially if there's an injury elsewhere.
 
Mychal Kendricks still on the block
While Kelce appears to be staying put for the time being, it also appears the Eagles are only re-doubling their efforts to trade linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Of Kendricks' $4.85 million base salary for 2017, $4.35 million became guaranteed on the second day of the new league year, which would seemingly take cutting him off the table. If the Eagles were going that route, it would be done already.
 
There's no real reason to hang on to Kendricks, though. In today's NFL, there are only two linebackers on the field roughly 75 percent of the time, and Kendricks was the odd man out behind Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks. Even when Kendricks was on the field, he was of virtually no consequence for the Eagles (at least not in a positive sense), finishing with 32 tackles, a pass breakup and zero sacks, interceptions or forced fumbles.
 
Kendricks doesn't want to be here, and the Eagles don't really need him but decided to pay him anyway. That would suggest they think there's a willing trade partner out there somewhere. There should be interest, too. He may be of no use to the Eagles at this point, but in three seasons from 2013 to 2015, Kendricks registered 11.0 sacks, 20 pass breakups, 3 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles. He has value, even if it's a fifth-round pick or later.
 
Bennie Logan finds a home
While it's a shame the Eagles lost defensive tackle Bennie Logan to the Chiefs in free agency, the reality is he's no longer a fit here, specifically for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's brand of 4-3 defense. Logan finished 2016 with a career-high 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, but his tackles decreased from 55 and 57 the previous two seasons to 24. Tackles for loss declined as well, from 8, then 9, to 5.
 
In Kansas City, Logan returns to a 3-4 alignment, where he'll line up back at nose tackle, replacing Dontari Poe. It's only a one-year contract, but it's the right move for the 27-year-old, who was becoming a Pro Bowl-caliber force in the old scheme. Logan is great at reading the offense and filling a gap, but as a pure attacking pass rusher in Schwartz's system, he wasn't discernibly different from replacement Beau Allen.
 
An upgrade at quarterback, but at what cost?
No matter your thoughts on Nick Foles, at least we know for certain he can play quarterback in the NFL, which is more than can be said for Chase Daniel. Daniel served a purpose last season by mentoring rookie Carson Wentz, but in terms of a backup who can actually fill Wentz's shoes if need be, Foles is the superior option.
 
Yet, it's impossible to escape the feeling the entire backup quarterback situation was bungled from the very beginning. The official explanation as to why the Eagles will absorb up to $7 million in dead money against the salary cap for Daniel in 2017 and pay Foles a minimum of $7 million over the next two years is "circumstances have changed" since Daniel signed. Seeing as the only change was the selection of Wentz, one can infer Daniel was upset he wouldn't have the opportunity to start.
 
Remember when Daniel first arrived and claimed he was competing for the job? Obviously, every player says that, but the contract the Eagles gave Daniel and the depth chart at the time suggests it wasn't totally untrue. And while the Eagles didn't know for sure at the time they would be able to land Wentz, they knew Sam Bradford was under contract, they were going to draft somebody, and Daniel had zero credentials as a starter.
 
There's no telling how valuable Daniel was to Wentz last season. Regardless, what a massive waste of money.
 
Everything is on the table at No. 14 (well, almost)
The Eagles probably aren't going to take a quarterback with the 14th overall selection in the 2017 NFL draft. At any other position, you can make a case there is a need.
 
Jordan Matthews will be joined by Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to form one of the deepest wide receiver corps in the league, but all three could potentially be playing elsewhere next year.

Defensive end Brandon Graham was named second-team All-Pro, and Vinny Curry is set to make a ton of money for the next few years, yet the Eagles were tied with four teams for 16th in sacks last season.

Left tackle Jason Peters is 35 this year. Running back Darren Sproles is 34. Tight end Brent Celek is 32. Kelce is on the trade block, apparently.
 
There is almost no scenario the Eagles shouldn't consider at No. 14, even at positions where the roster might appear to be deep. Yes, cornerback is a disaster and almost certainly the top need because they have not one proven player there. At the same time, running back, receiver, tackle, defensive line and linebacker are all areas where holes exist now or will arise soon, and it wouldn't hurt to address tight end and safety, too.
 
The Eagles have work to do in the upcoming draft, and can't afford to put themselves in a box in the first round. The franchise is on the right track but still needs help everywhere.

Is the Philadelphia Eagles dog mask movement good or bad?

Is the Philadelphia Eagles dog mask movement good or bad?

I'll admit it. I thought -- maybe still do -- that the dog mask thing was bad.

See, I even tweeted about it for posterity: 

Some people agreed. Others said mean things about my mother. Many purchased dog masks from the Internet. Even more purchased t-shirts with dog masks on them. Television show hosts put on dog masks and filmed television show segments wearing dog masks.

Now, for the record, I don't really care at all about dog masks. So if Lane Johnson or Chris Long wants to wear a dog mask after a win, more power to him. And if an Eagles fan wants to act like a Cleveland Browns fan and wear a dog mask to a game, that's their own decision. I am not going to judge.

And then today I saw a dog mask on a billboard and I kind of liked it.  So I don't know. I am left still wondering: are dog masks good? Or are dog masks bad?

This billboard is near Pottstown, according to Reddit. There's a dog mask on it.

If the Eagles win on Sunday against the Vikings dog masks are great and if the Eagles lose dog masks are very bad. That's my take on dog masks.

Eagles are right. Nobody respects this defense, and nobody ever has

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USA Today

Eagles are right. Nobody respects this defense, and nobody ever has

“Nobody respected us as a defense. Gimme some respect right now...I’ll tell you what. I wanted to set a tone. We wanted to set a tone as a D. It’s not just me, it’s dem Defense, it’s my line, it’s Burgess, it’s Kearse, it’s all them Boys, Trott. We came and we brought it every doggone play.”

Those are the words of Mr. Brian Patrick Dawkins just moments after the last Philadelphia Eagles home NFC Championship Game. For those who are too young to remember, or perhaps have forgotten due to fits of hysteria because Andy Reid didn’t know how to run a two-minute drill a couple weeks later, the Eagles and their fans spent the week leading up to that game listening to a lot of national media telling us just how great some fella named Mike Vick was.

The commonly-held belief was that Vick and the Atlanta offense was going to come into The Linc and run circles around an Iggles defense that, many had forgotten, had been Super Bowl quality the entire 2004 season.

And here we are, nearly a decade and a half later, and history appears ready to repeat itself.

Sure, the characters have changed, but the theme remains the same; this Eagles defense, which has been number one against the run all season long, which is allowing just 13 PPG at home this year, and which just held the reigning MVP Matt Ryan and football’s best wide receiver Julio Jones to a paltry 10 points (all of which were aided by turnovers on the offensive side, mind you).... That defense is being told they are the underdogs (again), that their season will end on Sunday, and that they have not done enough to earn the respect of the national media.

And hey, this didn’t just start this week. Go back to Los Angeles on December 10th, when Wentz went down. All of a sudden, the Eagles were guaranteed to be a one-and-done come the postseason, even as the D clearly lifted the Birds to victory that Sunday against the ‘high-flying’ Rams offense. Sure, the assumption that the Iggles were done had more to do with Nick Foles than anything else, but it also tied back to the reality that as a whole, nobody outside of Philly saw this defense as Super Bowl quality.

Ask Brian Dawkins how he felt when Terrell Owens went down in 2004 and people started counting the Birds for dead.

But hey, for this defense, disrespect comes with the territory. This is a D built with rejects, cast-offs, and the underappreciated. They are led by a defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, who has been told by both the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills that he wasn’t good enough to work for them. Not exactly the most prestigious of franchises to be fired from, like being told you weren’t good enough of an actor to be on “Jersey Shore.”

Then there’s Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Ronald Darby, Tim Jernigan, and Nigel Bradham: all guys spurned by the teams that drafted them, yet all starting and contributing in a major fashion to the success of the best defense in the NFL.

There’s Jalen Mills, the 7th-round pick most people wanted to drive to the airport last season, who inserted himself into Philadelphia Eagles lore by knocking Julio Jones to the ground last Saturday.

There’s Mychal Kendricks, who has spent so much time on the trading block, he’d be better off buying, and who’s snap counts have been less consistent than the President’s twitter feed.

There’s Vinny Curry, who had to fight for playing time for the team he grew up rooting for.

There’s Beau Allen, another 7th-round pick who has already had a tenure longer than Bennie Logan, a guy at the same position drafted four-rounds earlier.

There’s Dannell Ellerbe, an undrafted linebacker turned Super Bowl champion who was out of the league just a few weeks ago, now starting in the middle for the NFC East Champs.

There’s Patrick Robinson; a former first-round bust who the Eagles nearly cut in training camp, and yet reinvented himself as one of the top slot corners in the league and has led this D in interceptions.

There’s Chris Long, the dog-mask-wearer himself, a former second-overall pick who had to be picked off the NFL free agency scrap heap this summer, showing he can still produce at age 32.

Even arguably their best player, Fletcher Cox, had to watch as a nose tackle was valued, and drafted, right before him back in 2012.

And I write ‘arguably’ next to Cox because I, for one, am done underappreciating and devaluing the contributions and play of Brandon Graham. There’s no one in recent Philadelphia sports history that has been more disrespected than he. Drafted by Andy Reid at a spot most experts considered a reach, the guy many Birds fans knew as “Not Earl Thomas” was nearly traded by Chip Kelly. He’s come back from an ACL injury, he’s switched from defensive end to linebacker to defensive end again, and he now leads a team one win away from the Super Bowl in sacks and tackles for a loss. And BTW, he had as many tackles-for-a-loss this season as Aaron Donald, and more than guys like Demarcus Lawrence, Khalil Mack, and Bobby Wagner.

From "overreach" to "first round bust" to “trade bait,” and now arguably the best player on what could potentially be a Super Bowl defense. And yet still not getting the respect he deserves.

Is there anything more Philly than that?