A look at Derek Barnett's career, Jason Kelce's future and more in Roob's Random Observations!

A look at Derek Barnett's career, Jason Kelce's future and more in Roob's Random Observations!

A look at Derek Barnett's career so far, a rookie who needs to shine Sunday and Jason Kelce's future in today's edition of Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!  

1. Let’s be honest. A loss Sunday would be catastrophic. I don’t want to hear about Saquon this or Daniel Jones that. I believe the Eagles will win. They should win. They better win. If they don’t? Maybe the Cowboys will find a way to lose to the Redskins and the Eagles can back into the playoffs, but if the Eagles do hand the Cowboys the division after beating them head-to-head last weekend that will be a disaster of epic proportions. As banged up as they are, if the Eagles lose with a playoff berth at stake to a 4-11 Giants team with nothing to play for and a rookie quarterback and a coach on the hot seat and the No. 24 offense and No. 23 defense then people deserve to be fired.

2. Amazing that the offense can lose Zach Ertz, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Lane Johnson and Nelson Agholor and I’m still more concerned with the Eagles’ defense going into Sunday. Because I have no idea which defense is going to show up. Seven times the Eagles have allowed 27 or more points. Eight times they’ve allowed 17 or fewer points. Only once have they allowed between 17 and 27, and that was the Falcons Week 2. All or nothing. When they're good, they're really good. When they're bad they're wretched. But here’s a scary notion: The Eagles allowed 16.8 points per game at home, 5th-best in the league. But they’re allowing 29.0 on the road, 4th-WORST. Facing a Giants team that’s scored 77 points in its last two games, that’s not very comforting.  

3. I’ll be shocked if Carson Wentz doesn’t have a huge game Sunday.

4. Derek Barnett always plays hard, gives great effort. And his fumble recovery in the Super Bowl was obviously unforgettable. But all he has to show for his first three seasons is 12 sacks and a bunch of injuries. Mike Mamula had 17 1/2 sacks his first three seasons and Barnett is 5 1/2 back with a game to go. Barnett was the 14th pick in the 2017 draft, and 48 defensive ends have more sacks over the last three years. I never use the “B” word. I don’t think it’s fair to tag a draft pick a bust because you never know what the future holds. Look at Brandon Graham. BUT … it is fair to say that Barnett has been a major disappointment so far.

5. It’s amazing how much better a coach Mike Groh is when guys are actually catching the football.  

6. Greg Ward isn’t technically a rookie, but among undrafted receivers in their first year playing in the NFL, he already has the second-most catches in Eagles history with 22 behind only … Dick Humbert, who caught 29 passes in 1941. All this despite playing in only six games  — only five on offense.

7. The Eagles’ three-game winning streak is the first in franchise history in which they haven’t recorded an interception in any of the games. They’ve faced 141 passes since their last interception  — Ronald Darby on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s first pass of the Miami game. Good for them winning three straight games without an INT, but they could sure use a couple Sunday.

8. He’s 32 years old now. Finishing his 9th NFL season. Has played 131 games. Three-time Pro Bowler, two-time all-pro. Super Bowl champ, Super Bowl parade superstar, all-time great Eagle, future Eagles Hall of Fame lock. Has a baby at home and lots of non-football interests. I can’t imagine not seeing Jason Kelce playing football for the Eagles every Sunday, but I just wonder how much longer he’s going to put his body through what he’s been putting it through for the last decade.

9. One guy the Eagles really need Sunday is J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. I expect Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert and Greg Ward to do their thing, but the Eagles need more than that. They need some production on the outside, and he’s going to be the only wide receiver in uniform who wasn’t on the practice squad earlier this year. JJAW was a second-round pick, and he needs to play like it Sunday.

10. Whatever happens Sunday, I hope Eagles fans go into this offseason secure in the knowledge that this team has an elite quarterback capable of carrying a team a long, long way. What Wentz has done down the stretch with a collection of rookies, backups and practice squad call-ups has been nothing less than remarkable. Wentz has 3,750 passing yards without a wide receiver over 500 yards, and that’s unprecedented in NFL history. Sanders is a stud, and Ward is a nice complimentary piece, but it’s up to Howie Roseman and his staff to surround Wentz with elite playmakers this offseason. But anybody who is still doubting or questioning Wentz? I just don’t think you’re a true Eagles fan. You can’t be.

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Andy Reid has jokes about a crucial lesson he learned from Eagles tenure

Andy Reid has jokes about a crucial lesson he learned from Eagles tenure

Andy Reid is working on defending his first Super Bowl title, if the NFL does in fact hold a full 2020 regular season this fall, but he still has time for a few one-liners.

Reid conducted an offseason conference call with reporters on Thursday, and he made a few typical Reid jokes (we'll get to those in a minute) and stopped, for a second, for a quick remark about his time with the Eagles.

You see, Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins is due to cost $21 million against the Chiefs' cap space this year, a number the team would obviously like to be smaller.

Reid was asked if the team had any progress in contract restructuring talks with Watkins, but according to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, good ol' Big Red is staying far away from personnel matters:

During the end of Reid's time with the Eagles, he had final say over most personnel decisions. Reid said years ago that he wasn't focusing enough on coaching in those years, which he feels ultimately cost him his job here in Philly, a sentiment his successor Chip Kelly can probably share. (The difference being, of course, that Reid was at least a good coach.)

Now, with a Super Bowl title in tow and years of distance from his firing, Reid is happy to joke about his past mistakes. Good on you, Big Red.

For anyone wondering, Reid hasn't changed too much else of what makes him a lovable NFL figure. This week, he was grinding tape:

And he gave this classic Reid answer to a question about how he's dealing with social distancing mandates during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:

Yep, Andy is still Andy.

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How much cap space do the Eagles really have?

How much cap space do the Eagles really have?

A detailed look at the Eagles’ cap figures really provides a fascinating look at how Howie Roseman likes to build a roster.

Now that we have detailed — and accurate —contract information about all 66 players the Eagles have under contract, let’s take a look at some of the trends that jump out.

The basics: The Eagles as of Thursday morning had $27,869,777 in cap space under their adjusted 2020 cap figure of $222,776,734, which includes a carryover from 2019 of $21,484,051. The Eagles have 66 players under contract, but only their 51 highest cap figures count against their cap. From that, approximately $9 million will be set aside to cover rookie wages. Roseman likes to keep at least $15 million in cap space going into the season, so they are right where he likes to be.

What Howie learned from Big Red: From the day he got here, Andy Reid preached the importance of both lines, and Howie and Doug Pederson both believe in that philosophy. The Eagles offensive and defensive linemen have a combined cap figure of about $86.4 million, or nearly 40 percent of their total cap allocation. That's the 4th-highest combined o-line / d-line figure in the league (behind the Chiefs, Colts and Raiders).

The new guys: The Eagles have signed nine players this offseason — five defensive backs, two defensive tackles, a linebacker and a quarterback — and they have a combined 2020 cap liability of just $20,831,875, and the highest cap figure of the bunch is Darius Slay's $4.3 million. It’s rare to be this active in free agency without using up a ton more cap space.

Cheap-o linebackers: All six linebackers under contract have cap figures under $900,000, and their cap figures average $773,661. According to Spotrac, only the Bengals have a lower composite cap figure for their linebackers (and they only have four under contract).

What's important to Howie? The Eagles currently have 19 players with cap figures of at least $2 million, and 15 of them are linemen, receivers or corners.

Looking down the road: The Eagles have 36 players signed through 2021 but only 14 through 2022 and only six through 2023.

Bargain basement: The projected 2020 starters with the lowest cap figures are Nate Gerry ($825,000) and Miles Sander ($1.2 million). If either T.J. Edwards or Jatavis Brown starts at inside backer, they're also under a million.

Dead money: The Eagles have over $15 million in dead money in 2020, most of it coming from voiding the Malcolm Jenkins, Nigel Bradham and Ronald Darby contracts. Those three count over $14 million against the Eagles’ 2020 cap. When a team adds dummy years to a contract to pro-rate the initial signing bonus over more years and lessen the initial cap hit, they pay on the back end when they release that player because the remaining pro-rated bonus amounts accelerate into the next year’s cap.

Here are the 2020 cap figures for everybody the Eagles currently have under contract:

Quarterbacks [$21,345,065]

$18,656,536: Carson Wentz
$2,000,000: Nate Sudfeld
$688,529: Kyle Lauletta

Running Backs [$2,619,351]

$1,218,234: Miles Sanders
$750,000: Boston Scott
$651,117: Elijah Holyfield

Wide Receivers [$30,112,831]

$15,686,205: Alshon Jeffery
$8,609,000: DeSean Jackson
$1,125,278: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
$750,000: Shelton Gibson
$750,000: Robert Davis
$697,348: Jordan Mailata
$675,000: Deontay Burnett
$675,000: River Carcraft
$675,000: Greg Ward
$610,000: Marcus Green
$610,000: Marken Michel

Tight Ends [$15,665,395]

$12,481,500:Zach Ertz
$1,533,895:Dallas Goedert
$825,000: Alex Ellis
$825,000: Josh Perkins

Offensive Linemen [$38,798,277]

$15,686,205: Lane Johnson
$7,790,632: Brandon Brooks
$7,414,000: Jason Kelce
$2,811,730: Andre Dillard
$2,326,000: Isaac Seumalo
$783,196: Matt Pryor
$697,348: Jordan Mailata
$679,166: Nate Herbig
$610,000: Keegan Render

Defensive Ends [$13,514,947]

$6,288,000: Brandon Graham
$4,088,951: Derek Barnett
$898,398: Josh Sweat
$825,000: Daeshon Hall
$797,098: Shareef Miller
$617,500: Joe Ostman

Defensive Tackles [$34,068,000]

$22,847,000: Fletcher Cox
$4,661,000: Malik Jackson
$3,450,000: Javonte Hargrave
$1,010,000: Hassan Ridgeway
$750,000: Bruce Hector
$675,000: Albert Huggins Jr.
$675,000: Anthony Rush

Linebackers [$4,641,666]

$887,500: Jatavis Brown
$825,000: Nate Gerry
$825,000: Duke Riley
$750,000: Genard Avery
$679,166: T.J. Edwards
$675,000: Alex Singleton

Safeties [$5,334,375]

$2,350,000: Rodney McLeod
$1,484,375: Will Parks
$825,000: Rudy Ford
$675,000: Marcus Epps

Cornerbacks [$16,110,730]

$4,300,000: Darius Slay
$4,000,000: Jalen Mills
$2,309,572: Rasul Douglas
$1,953,658: Sidney Jones
$1,100,000: Cre’von LeBlanc
$1,097,500: Avonte Maddox
$1,350,000: Nickell Robey-Coleman
$775,000: Trevor Williams
$750,000: Craig James
$750,000 Tremon Smith

Specialists [$4,476,000]

$2,629,000: Jake Elliott
$1,097,500: Rick Lovato
$750,000: Cameron Johnston

Dead Money [$15,471,695]

$6,111,000: Malcolm Jenkins
$5,302,500: Nigel Bradham
$2,800,000: Ronald Darby
$583,334: L.J. Fort
$205,776: Clayton Thorson
$158,917: Mack Hollins
$150,000: Richard Rodgers
$64,312: Shelton Gibson
$47,353: Jordan Matthews
$16,667: Aua Opeta
$6,667: DeAndre Thompkins
$6,667: Kevin Wilkins
$5,000: Joey Alfieri
$3,334: Ryan Bates
$3,334: Keegan Render
$3,334: Anthony Rush
$2,500: Alex Singleton
$1,000: Jay Liggins

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