Eagles

Eagle Eye podcast: Back in Minnesota, remembering Super Bowl LII

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Dave Zangaro

Eagle Eye podcast: Back in Minnesota, remembering Super Bowl LII

Back in Minnesota for the first time since Super Bowl LII, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro get together for a bonus Eagle Eye podcast to remember that week from February 2018. 

The NFC Championship Game started it all. First impressions of Minnesota and the Mall of America. And then there was the actual game. 

• The NFC Championship Game 
• Arriving to Minnesota 
• Arriving to the Mall of America 
• Media night was a circus 
• Everyone got sick that week 
• The game was an absolute blur 
• Nick Foles gave the best answer ever 

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After being on other side, Jatavis Brown ready to show Eagles fans what he can do

After being on other side, Jatavis Brown ready to show Eagles fans what he can do

Jatavis Brown remembers that October 2017 game when the Eagles traveled to face the Los Angeles Chargers at the then-Stub Hub Center and Eagles fans took over the 25,000-seat venue. 

By kickoff, it was basically a home game for the Eagles with about 70 percent of the stands green. 

Brown, who joined the Eagles as a free agent this offseason, played 68 defensive snaps for the Chargers in their 26-24 loss that day. While Brown was diplomatic about his time with the Chargers — he said he loved every moment — he’s clearly looking forward to playing for Eagles fans after three years of playing in front of the smallest home crowds in the NFL. 

“Actually, looking back on it and how they filled that stadium,” Brown said on a conference call Tuesday, “it is exciting for me.” 

The real question is what kind of player are Eagles fans going to see? 

Brown, 26, is coming off his four-year rookie contract with the Chargers. In those four years, he had some ups and downs but ended up playing in 56 games with 23 starts. But in 2019, his role was reduced to the point where he played just 94 defensive snaps. His ProFootballFocus grade has dropped in each of his four NFL seasons. 

The former fifth-round pick showed promise early on but never really became a consistent starter. 

Asked about his play style, Brown wants people to know he’s versatile. He also doesn’t think changing to a new scheme, even amid unusual circumstances, will be a problem for him. 

“Just a playmaker, man,” Brown said when asked about what he’ll bring to the Eagles. “Somebody that’s going to go out and compete every day and give it my all. Find my role on this team and achieve that role the best way I can.”

The one important thing that Brown didn’t mention about himself is something you should know: He’s fast. Really fast. 

Brown is an undersized linebacker even in an age of undersized linebackers — he’s listed at 5-11, 221 — but his speed makes up for it. There’s a reason the Eagles were interested in him before the 2016 draft when he was coming out of Akron. 

While Brown ran a 4.44 at his pro day, that time would have been tops for all linebackers at the 2016 combine. 

Back in 2016, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote that Brown’s athleticism had “NFL teams feeling some type of way, which means he's likely to go late Day 2 or early Day 3.” But that didn’t happen. Brown ended up being the last pick in the fifth round in 2016 — the Eagles had two fifth-rounders and still didn’t take him. 

So maybe it would be a bit much to expect Brown to become a strong rotational player, let alone a starter in Philadelphia. But there is opportunity here for him. The only returning linebackers are Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley and Alex Singleton. 

It seems like Brown still has some potential, but if it doesn’t work out, the Eagles haven’t invested much in him. 

Brown’s one-year contract with the Eagles is worth $1.047 million but it’s a Veteran Salary Benefit deal so he’ll count just $887,500 against the cap. With just $500K of his base salary guaranteed, there’s really no guarantee he’ll even make the roster. This is an even cheaper deal than L.J. Fort got last season and is more on par with what the Eagles paid guys like Paul Worrilow and LaRoy Reynolds in recent seasons. 

The Eagles have neglected to use top resources on the linebacker position for years now and most of their gambles haven’t paid off. Maybe they’re due. And maybe Brown is the guy who will change all that. 

That would make his new fanbase happy. 

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Will Eagles legend Jason Peters even have an NFL job in 2020?

Will Eagles legend Jason Peters even have an NFL job in 2020?

Kamu signed. Nelly signed. Bradham signed. 
 
Most of them have signed.
 
Thirteen of the Eagles’ 17 free agents have signed somewhere, four back with the Eagles, nine with new teams.
 
Josh McCown, Vinny Curry and Corey Clement remain unsigned, which isn't surprising.
 
And then there’s Jason Peters, who remains without a team 2 1/2 weeks into free agency. Which is surprising.
 
It took Peters’ backup, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, less than a day to land a five-year, $45 million contract. He’s started four games over the last two years.
 
But Peters, a nine-time Pro Bowler and two-time all-pro, remains out of work.
 
Going into free agency, Peters was rated as a top-50 free agent on CBS’s list of the top 100 free agents - and he was No. 1 among Eagles. But he’s one of only two of those top 50 that hasn’t signed. The other is cornerback Logan Ryan.
 
Peters, by all accounts, remains a very good left tackle. So why is he still looking for a job 17 days after the start of free agency?
 
Hee’s five possible reasons:
 
1) HE’S 38: Peters turned 38 in January, so the only teams that would be interested are teams that need a left tackle and are in win-now mode, maybe with a promising young tackle who needs a mentor and isn’t quite ready to play. But there just aren’t many of those teams. There have only been five offensive tackles in NFL history who’ve been full-time starters at 38 or older (Ray Brown, Andrew Whitworth, Lomas Brown, Mike Kenn and Jackie Slater). That history can’t help Peters’ value.
 
2) THE INJURIES: He’s not the player he was during his prime, but when he’s been healthy he’s played well. But Peters has started and finished only 31 of a possible 54 games since 2017, and teams have to be wondering whether Peters can stay healthy enough to be worth signing. The sight of Peters limping off the field in the middle of a game became fairly frequent over the last few seasons. Nobody questions Peters’ toughness, but he’s averaged only 10 complete games per year over the last three seasons, and a year older it’s tough to think that number is going to go up. That could be scaring teams away.
 
3) THE DRAFT: The draft later this month is stocked with left tackles. As many as six could go in the first round and there could be four or five taken just in the first 20 picks. The draft is loaded, and if you’re a team that needs a left tackle - the Dolphins, Cards, Jets, Broncos and Giants are among those that could use one - why sign Peters when you might be about to land your franchise guy in three weeks? And if you’re getting him in the top 20 picks, you’re counting on him to start from Day 1. And you’re getting a young, healthy guy who’s going to be on a four-year, cap friendly rookie deal. 
 
4) MONEY: We don’t know how much Peters is looking for, and his contract demands are certainly dropping. But it’s possible he’s priced himself out of the market. This is a guy who’s made about $70 million in his career, and it’s hard to imagine he’s interested in playing for minimum wage. He made $6 million last year, and he’s a very proud guy, a likely Hall of Famer. If somebody offered him $2 million for one year? Maybe he’s just not interested.
 
5) THE OFFSEASON: Because the NFL has cancelled all of its spring activities, Peters can’t work out for teams that might be interested, and when you’re 38 and you’ve been battling injuries, teams could be reluctant to sign you without their own doctors checking you out.
 
The Future
 
When the Eagles cut ties with Peters, they issued a statement saying among other things: “We will remain in communication as each side continues to evaluate its options in free agency.”
 
So what are the chances they bring him back? 
 
Small.
 
The Eagles traded up to draft Andre Dillard last year for a reason. If they truly wanted Peters to play left tackle in 2020, they never would have let him go in the first place.
 
Would Peters come back as a backup? The only backup tackle the Eagles have at this point is Jordan Mailata, who has never played a snap in a meaningful football game on any level. Guard Matt Pryor might get a look outside.
 
Would Peters come back as a sub if he can’t get a job elsewhere? 
 
Would it be fair to Dillard to have an all-time great backing him up? Would Peters be able to transition from a guy who expects to play every Sunday to possibly having to come off the bench at a moment’s notice? Would the Eagles even want to risk having a backup tackle that’s injury prone?
 
Lots of questions.
 
It still seems more likely than not that Peters will be on the field somewhere for an 18th NFL season. But with each passing day, the chances grow that his brilliant career could be over.

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