Eagles

Does Kareem Hunt’s suspension make a Duke Johnson trade less likely?

us_duke_johnson.jpg
USA Today Images

Does Kareem Hunt’s suspension make a Duke Johnson trade less likely?

The NFL on Friday morning officially suspended Browns running back Kareem Hunt for eight games. Hunt will not appeal. 

So Cleveland will be without him for half of the 2019 season. And now that they’re actually playoff contenders, maybe this means running back Duke Johnson won’t be as available as we thought. 

My guess is it will now be a little harder for the Eagles to trade for Johnson if that’s what they want to do. 

Johnson would make a lot of sense for the Eagles as a trade target this offseason. He is just 25 and has a base salary of just $1.8 million in 2019. He became unhappy with his role last season and that was before the addition of Hunt. 

Johnson would be a perfect replacement for Darren Sproles as a pass-catching running back in the Eagles’ rotation. And trading for a running back wouldn’t affect the compensatory pick formula. It seems like that is really important to the Eagles these days. 

On Thursday, Cleveland.com reported the Browns were shopping Johnson and at least three teams were interested. But that report also said the length of Hunt’s suspension would impact their decision. 

Sure, we all knew Hunt was going to be suspended. And Hunt’s decision to not even appeal makes it seem like this length was expected. But in that Cleveland.com story, it said there was a thought the suspension might not be as long because Hunt missed five games last season after the Chiefs cut him. We don’t know if that did affect the length of the suspension, but eight games is significant and without Hunt, the Browns are left with just Nick Chubb and Johnson. In previous years, that wouldn’t matter, but the Browns have added a ton of talent and are expected to compete for a playoff spot in 2019. 

The Eagles haven’t added a running back yet this offseason, but there’s still time in free agency and the draft in April. Right now, they have Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams returning from last year’s roster. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Avonte Maddox loses memory to come up clutch in Eagles' win over Redskins

Avonte Maddox loses memory to come up clutch in Eagles' win over Redskins

LANDOVER, Maryland — As Nigel Bradham sprinted down the right sideline to cap off the Eagles’ 37-27 win at FedEx Field with a defensive touchdown, Avonte Maddox was running too and began to look for Eagles fans in the first few rows of the stadium. 

After the play, he jumped into the stands to celebrate. He deserved it. 

Maddox made some huge plays down the stretch … a little redemption. Because earlier on Sunday, he missed a few big ones. 

So what does it take to rebound from bad plays? 

“Short-term memory loss,” Maddox said. “That’s what it take. Don’t worry about what happened earlier and go on to the next play.”

The Eagles’ second-year cornerback missed a tackle on Terry McLaurin’s 75-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and Steven Sims caught his 15-yard touchdown over him in the second quarter. He was on the wrong side of two huge plays. 

But Maddox made up for it late. 

On the Redskins’ penultimate drive, he broke up a deep pass on 2nd-and-10. On 3rd-and-10, he tackled Sims for a 9-yard gain to force Washington to kick a game-tying field goal. That gave the Eagles the ball back for the game-winning touchdown. 

And on the Redskins’ final drive with 32 seconds remaining, it was Maddox who flew into the backfield for a near sack on Dwayne Haskins on the aborted third-down play when Bradham took it to the house. 

That’s three huge plays in the game’s most critical moments. 

“I don’t think anybody in this locker room questions Avonte at all,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “He missed a tackle early in the game, they made a really good catch in the end zone. Avonte is a really consistent player, makes plays all the time. I don’t think anybody is surprised that he made those plays down the stretch.”

We always hear how important it is for cornerbacks to have that short-term memory loss, but it’s probably problematic just how often the Eagles feel the need to bring that up. You only need to have that memory loss when there’s something to forget. There’s been plenty for these corners to forget this season. 

Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Maddox and others have given up big plays all season. The Eagles’ defense has been good at times and bad at others. The secondary continues to be just as inconsistent. 

And this hasn’t really been a very good season for Maddox. Even aside from the friendly fire hit he took in Green Bay that forced him out for a month, he hasn’t been nearly as good as he was as a rookie in 2018. There’s probably some reason for concern. 

But on Sunday night, none of that seemed to matter. They won the game. 

Sure, the Eagles needed a comeback to take down a lowly Redskins team and have now been in close games against a bunch of bottom-feeder teams in the last three weeks. 

Sure, in those three weeks, the defense has given up an average of 27 points per game. 

“We really don’t care,” Jenkins said. “We’re not out here trying to be the 2000 Ravens or the (1985) Bears or anything like that. We are the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles. And right now, we just have to show up and be good enough to give our team a chance to win and we’ve done that the last two weeks.”

Even after giving up plays early, Maddox made plays with the game on the line. So he’ll look back at the tape and try to correct those mistakes, but on Sunday night, he got to enjoy the afterglow of a win. And he deserved it.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

'Foles this, Foles that:' Brandon Brooks' passionate defense of Carson Wentz

'Foles this, Foles that:' Brandon Brooks' passionate defense of Carson Wentz

LANDOVER, Md. — Brandon Brooks was marveling about Carson Wentz after the game.

How he could go out and throw for 266 yards, throw 3 TDs and no interceptions and rally the Eagles to a late win in the final seconds for a second straight week.

And how he could do it without Alshon Jeffery, without DeSean Jackson, without Jordan Howard, without Nelson Agholor.

And still not be appreciated?

Because ... because who knows.

I think the thing that’s hard for him,” Brooks said, “is being the face of the franchise and everybody remembering him being the MVP in the 2017 season and that’s the bar that he’s being held to that’s set and it doesn’t matter what he has around him.

Wentz the last couple weeks has played at a high level — granted against losing opponents — while working with a rookie running back and three receivers and a running back who were on the practice squad earlier this year.

No, Wentz isn’t perfect. The fumbles are an issue. He did miss a few open guys Sunday in the first half of the Eagles’ 37-27 win. 

But to do what he’s done with what he has around him? Brooks thought it was important to remind Wentz a couple weeks ago that if he's hearing outside noise he needs to ignore it. 

I just told him, ‘Don’t ever think that any loss we ever have as a team is solely on you,’ because it’s not,” Brooks said. “The world makes it seem that way because he’s the franchise guy and he’s got all this money and he’s supposed to be X, Y and Z and Foles this, Foles that. But don’t think for a second any loss is all you. Because it’s not. And I just wanted to let him know what he’s been able to do with what he has? He’s been playing well. He’s been balling all season. So it’s really just hat’s off to you. His resilience. His toughness. His mental toughness. You name it.

Wentz was out there Sunday without a single receiver or running back that was in the NFL last year. 

That’s not actually true. Josh Perkins caught five passes last year.

But let’s be honest. Wentz is the least of the Eagles' problems.

The last couple weeks, he's made plays and found ways to win game at the end, and he's done it with a bunch of guys nobody had heard of a year ago.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles