Eagles

Can Eagles afford to keep 3rd-string stud Trey Burton?

usa-trey-burton-eagles-rams.jpg
USA Today Images

Can Eagles afford to keep 3rd-string stud Trey Burton?

He doesn't get that many chances. When they come, he never fails to produce.

Welcome to the world of Trey Burton, who is essentially the Eagles' third tight end but is talented enough that he could probably start for a lot of teams out there.

With Zach Ertz out with a concussion, Burton had a career day Sunday, with five catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles' 43-35 win over the Rams at L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Burton's previous high was 65 yards against the Redskins last year, but Sunday's game came on the heels of a 4-for-42 performance a week earlier in Seattle. Two weeks before that, he was 2-for-41 with a touchdown against the Broncos.

Here's a list of previous Eagles tight ends with 70 yards and two TDs in a game in the last 50 years: Charle Young vs. the Saints in 1973, John Spagnola vs. the Saints in 1985, Chad Lewis vs. the Giants in 2000 and Ertz vs. the Cowboys the last day of last season.

"I just did whatever needed to be done," Burton said. "Zach was out, which we don’t like, we love having Zach in there, he makes so many plays. But somebody needed to step up and Brent and I both did what we needed to do."

Brent Celek caught a touchdown pass and Burton caught two, making this the first game in four years in which Eagles' tight ends caught three TDs. In early December 2013, Ertz had two TDs and Celek had one against the Cardinals.

Burton is a remarkable story.

Undrafted out of Florida. Didn't catch a pass until his 26th NFL game. Didn't have a touchdown until his 32nd NFL game. Didn't surpass 50 receiving yards until his 38th NFL game.

But in 20 games since Week 8 of last year, Burton has 42 catches for 426 yards and four touchdowns.

That's awfully good production for a third tight end. And he still plays fewer snaps than Celek.

"We're probably the only team in the league that can have one of the best tight ends go down and not play in a game and feel the degree of confidence that we have in the guy that's stepping up for him as far as a route runner with Trey and then with the things Brent can do," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said.

"Trey deserves a lot of credit. He's got a great skill-set and is a great playmaker."

Despite averaging only 20 snaps per game on offense (along with 20 more on special teams), Burton is 12th in the NFL among all tight ends with four touchdown catches.

Nobody on the roster has better hands than Burton, who in recent weeks has made challenging catches seem routine.

“Celek and I are just good players," Burton shrugged. "I think Zach would do the same thing if he (played vs. the Rams)."

Burton could start for a lot of teams. But he said he doesn't get frustrated at his lack of playing time or targets.

“Can’t control it," he said. "I can’t pout, I can’t be angry. I’m sitting behind one of the best in the NFL right now. Love that dude to death, extremely happy for him and Celek, all the opportunities that they get. Couldn’t be happier for them."

Then there's his contract.

Burton is playing on a one-year, $2.746 million deal he got this past offseason.

It's a deal that really reflects his value on special teams as well as a situational tight end. And it's an unusual amount of money for a backup tight end.

But the way he's played so far this year, Burton would be in line for a long-term deal worth much more this coming offseason.

Will it be here? Will it be elsewhere? Will the Eagles cut ties with Celek — who's been here since 2007 — in order to free up money to keep Burton? Releasing Celek would clear $4 million in cap space the Eagles desperately need. Or can Howie Roseman squeeze all three tight ends under the Eagles' 2018 salary cap?

Celek turns 33 next month and is still a capable blocker and receiver, but Burton just turned 26 and keeps getting better.

It would be tough to let Burton go.

Whatever is going to happen, Burton says he isn't even thinking about it.

“No, not at all," he said. "I can’t control that right now.”

The Eagles have a few months before they have to make these decisions.

And there's a first-round bye and home-field advantage to clinch at the moment.

"Trey’s a tremendous athlete," head coach Doug Pederson said. "He works extremely hard. He’s a core special teams player for us. Really, Trey hasn’t probably gotten a lot of offensive plays this year, but when he has … he’s made the most of his opportunity.

"He did that (against the Rams). Real proud of the way Trey played."

Eagles catch break with Jameis Winston's reported suspension

usa_jameis_winston.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles catch break with Jameis Winston's reported suspension

This is bad news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but good news for the Eagles. 

The NFL is planning on suspending Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three games of the 2018 season for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, according to a report Thursday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

That means the Eagles’ Week 2 game in Tampa Bay might be a whole lot easier. After opening the season at home against the Falcons, the Eagles play their first road contest of the year against the Bucs.

Winston has played the Eagles just once in his career and was great. He led the Bucs to a 45-17 win over the Eagles at the Linc during his rookie season in 2015. In that game, he completed 65 percent of his passes for 246 yards and a career-high five touchdown passes with zero interceptions.

Winston is one of just seven quarterbacks to ever throw five touchdown passes against the Eagles in a single game; no one has ever thrown more against them in a game. The others are Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Joe Montana, Craig Morton, Don Meredith (twice) and Sonny Jergensen.

Winston, 24, has thrown for at least 3,500 yards and 19 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2015. To put his early success into perspective, Winston has two 4,000-yard seasons in his first three seasons, the Eagles’ franchise has never had one. 

The Bucs’ backup quarterback is veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who actually went 2-1 in his three starts in place of Winston last season. 

But don’t let those three games fool you, the Bucs are obviously much better with Winston behind center than Fitzpatrick, who has played for five different teams over the past six years. 

According to NFL Research, the Bucs’ first three games of this season are the toughest first three games for any team in the Super  Bowl era based on last year’s records. 

Winston’s suspension stems from an alleged incident with an Uber driver in 2016. 

Roob Knows: A Billboard's chart-topper and a huge Eagles fan

22181480_10212314194524359_3300341955777413352_o.jpg
Reuben Frank

Roob Knows: A Billboard's chart-topper and a huge Eagles fan

On the latest edition of Roob Knows, Reuben Frank discusses Carson Wentz's character through his injury rehab. He takes a look at the Eagles' running back depth. Also, Roob chats with Mondo Cozmo's lead man Josh Ostrander. His single "Shine" hit number one on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart in January 2017. Ostrander, a Philly native and big Eagles fan, shares his journey and experiencing an Eagles Super Bowl championship.

"He's going to play opening day. I'll go as far as saying I'll be surprised right now if Carson Wentz is not the Eagles starting quarterback on opening day."

1:00 - Carson Wentz's character is unique.
5:00 - Doug Pederson has handled this offseason perfectly.
10:00 - Eagles' running back situation
15:00 - Roob Knows unbelievable stats.
17:00 - Roob's interview with Josh Ostrander of Mondo Cozmo.
19:00 - Josh's memories of the Super Bowl run.
22:00 - Josh's crazy path in music.
31:00 - Josh's Philly roots are still important to him.

Subscribe and rate Roob Knows: Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Art19