Carson Wentz, Eagles prepared for rainy weather vs. 49ers

Carson Wentz, Eagles prepared for rainy weather vs. 49ers

Carson Wentz thought about it but he couldn't really remember the last time he played in a downpour. 

He just knows it's been a long time. 

That's probably going to change on Sunday. According to NBC10, there's a 90 percent chance of rain on Sunday and "some of the rain could be heavy at times." 

The Eagles had a pretty dry schedule all last season and Wentz played most of his college games in the Fargodome at North Dakota State. He's had a few games in light rain but Sunday against the 49ers might offer something completely different. 

"I think [Wentz will] be fine," head coach Doug Pederson said. "I mean, we've just got to make sure we secure the snap, No. 1. And then ball security on handoffs, things of that nature just becomes a little more point of emphasis.

"He hasn't played in a ton of bad weather games because he played in a dome in college. It doesn't bother him, too. He's lived it. He's had to live in the cold or the snow, the wet, the rain. He should be fine."

The Eagles were definitely aware of the weather forecast this week. The quarterbacks spent a day throwing extremely soaked footballs, something they do whenever there is rain in the upcoming game forecast. It's really the only way to prepare for the impending conditions, although Wentz wanted to make sure he doesn't overthink it too much. 

Pederson said the rain won't necessarily change the Eagles' game plan but it might change the way he calls the game once things start rolling on Sunday. Like Wentz, he didn't want to turn the rain into a distraction. 

"I think if you get on [the field] before the game, you kind of get a feel," running back Wendell Smallwood said. "But there's some things you can't control, man. They have rain gloves now. They will help out a lot. I think you've got to be more focused, handoffs, looking the ball in, tucking the ball in. You have to be strong with the ball. You can get away with that when the ball isn't wet but when it's wet, you see a lot of guys putting two hands on the ball. You just have to do what you're already supposed to be doing better."

As a heavy favorite over the winless 49ers — anywhere from 12.5 to 14 points — the Eagles (6-1) are probably not thrilled to see bad weather in the forecast. It can often be a great equalizer. One of the last times the Eagles were favored by this much was against the Vikings in 2010. You'll remember that as the Joe Webb Game when the unknown quarterback led the Vikings to a win in a rare Tuesday game thanks to a winter storm. 

Anything less than perfect conditions could theoretically help the team that's the big underdog. 

"It don't matter to me if it rains or not," Alshon Jeffery said. "It don't matter to me. I can play in all type of weather."

Jeffery eventually agreed that rainy weather can be an advantage for receivers. After all, at least they know where they're going while the defensive back needs to be reactionary. Still, Wentz will have to get the ball to him and others.  

They're ready for it, but ultimately, there's not much the Eagles can do about the weather. 

"Just pray it doesn't rain," Wentz said. 

Eagles hoping no-risk, high-reward veteran signings can rekindle past success

Eagles hoping no-risk, high-reward veteran signings can rekindle past success

When you’re in salary cap hell, you have to be creative when building a roster.

And one tactic Howie Roseman used when putting together the Eagles team that begins training camp Thursday is signing a handful of no-risk, high-reward guys.

Players trying to revive their careers. Players trying to reclaim past glory. Players running out of chances.

These are no-risk, high-reward guys. They could become contributors, but if it doesn’t work out? The Eagles can release them before the season with modest or no cap ramifications.

When you’re in salary cap hell, you can’t sign all the free agents you want. So you sign the free agents that you can. And you do that by signing players nobody else wants. Guys with no leverage.

One tool Roseman likes to use is the NFL’s minimum-salary benefit, which gives teams some salary cap relief when they sign veteran players to certain deals.

The minimum-salary benefit can be used only for veterans with at least four years of experience who sign one-year minimum-wage deals with combined bonuses equalling $90,000 or less. 

Here’s a look at four of these no-risk, high-reward players the Eagles added this offseason.

Markus Wheaton

The Eagles signed Wheaton to a one-year deal with a $790,000 base salary (sixth-year minimum) with a $45,000 signing bonus, a $45,000 workout bonus but a cap number of $720,000, thanks to the minimum-salary benefit.

If the Eagles release Wheaton before the season, he would count just $90,000 against the cap, the value of his two bonuses.

Wheaton is only 27 and should be in his prime but has done nearly nothing the last two seasons after two very good years.

In 2014 and 2015, he combined for 97 catches for 1,393 yards, seven touchdowns and a 14.4 average. He had seven catches of 40 yards or more during those two years. Pretty good production.

But the last two years, Wheaton had just seven catches for 102 yards and one TD for the Steelers and Bears.

If he’s healthy and can be even half the player he was in 2014 and 2015, he could really help as a fourth receiver.

Matt Jones

The Eagles signed Jones to a two-year, $1.51 million deal that includes base salaries of $705,000 this year and $805,000 next year with no bonus money, which means no dead cap money if he’s released.

Even though Jones’ deal is not subject to the minimum-salary benefit, his base salaries of $705,000 and $805,000 are minimum wage for a third-year veteran in 2018 and a fourth-year vet in 2019.

Jones was one of the NFL’s best running backs the first half of 2016. Through seven games, he had 460 yards and a 4.6 average with three TDs. In a mid-October win over the Eagles at FedEx Field, he ran for 135 yards, the most rushing yards against the Eagles the last two years.

But he hurt his knee and never got his job back, then was released before last season. He resurfaced with the Colts but had only five carries all year.

Jones is only 25 and is a good enough receiver that he caught 19 passes for 304 yards and a TD as a rookie reserve.

With LeGarrette Blount gone, Jay Ajayi on a pitch count because of chronic knee soreness, Corey Clement’s role still undefined and Darren Sproles likely to be limited on offense at 35 years old, Jones will have a chance to work his way into the mix.

And if it doesn’t work out? No cap hit.

Richard Rodgers

The Eagles signed Rodgers to a one-year, $880,000 contract that includes a $790,000 base salary, a $45,000 signing bonus, a $45,000 workout bonus and a $720,000 cap figure, courtesy of the minimum-salary benefit rule.

If the Eagles release him, he’ll count $245,000 in dead money, the amount of guaranteed money in his one-year deal.

As recently as 2015, Rodgers caught 58 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdowns, which ranked him 12th among all NFL tight ends in catches and fifth in TDs. But he dropped to 30 catches in 2016 and just 12 last year.

Rodgers is only 26 and should be in his prime, but he’s reached only 30 yards twice in his last 31 games.

With Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, the Eagles have a potent 1-2 punch, but if Rodgers can regain his form of 2015, it would give Doug Pederson even more options in a ridiculously talented array of skill players.

LaRoy Reynolds

The Eagles signed Reynolds to a one-year, $880,000 contract that includes a $790,000 base salary, a $90,000 roster bonus and a reduced $720,000 cap figure.

Because there’s nothing guaranteed in his contract, the Eagles would not absorb any dead money under the cap if they release him before the season.

Reynolds, now with his fourth team in four years, has played in 68 games with seven starts. He’s only 27 and is considered an above-average special teamer and adequate depth linebacker.

The Eagles have some big question marks at linebacker, with Paul Worrilow (Reynolds’ former teammate) out for the year, Mychal Kendricks now with the Browns, Nigel Bradham suspended for the opener and Jordan Hicks able to finish one of his first three seasons.

Reynolds will have a chance to work into that mix. If not? No harm done.

More on the Eagles

Eagle Eye: When does a contract negotiation become a problem?

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Eagle Eye: When does a contract negotiation become a problem?

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, John Clark and Barrett Brooks are pumped for the start of training camp. Following MLB Commissioner's comments on Mike Trout's marketability, the guys discuss if it's on the player or the league to market an athlete? The Falcons said they will not give Julio Jones a new contract. At what point does a public contract negotiation become a distraction in the locker room?

1:00 - Guys are excited for the start of training camp.
4:45 - Is it on a player or a league to market an athlete?
11:00 - When does a Julio Jones contract situation become a locker room distraction?
18:00 - When money starts dividing a locker room.

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