Eagles

Eagles’ Chris Long even more unsure of football future

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Eagles’ Chris Long even more unsure of football future

As the 2019 NFL draft nears, one of the Eagles most veteran players still hasn’t made a decision about his football future. 

We’ve known that 34-year-old Chris Long has been pondering retirement for a while now, but here’s what he said to the USA Today’s Jarrett Bell after a Players Coalition town hall meeting at George Mason University Arlington: 

“In March, I really wanted to play. Now, I don’t know.” 

Bell theorizes that Long is contemplating taking a pay cut, which he insinuates could be the reason for Long’s indecision. This seems unlikely to me. In March, the Eagles reportedly pushed back Long’s $2 million roster bonus until after the draft because, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Long felt uncomfortable taking it with an uncertain future. 

And Long is the guy who once gave away his entire year’s salary, so to think money is the reason he might not return just doesn’t quite add up. 

Long confirmed his decision has nothing to do with money: 

It seems far more likely Long is — as he’s said plenty of times before — making a football decision. He has said he doesn’t want to be a “locker room guy” and wants to be a contributing player. Based on his 2018 season, he still has plenty productivity left in him. 

This offseason, even though the Eagles traded Michael Bennett, they re-signed Brandon Graham and brought back Vinny Curry. Perhaps even more importantly, they signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who could take away third-down snaps from Long. In the last couple years, the Eagles have slid Graham or Curry inside on passing downs, but Jackson has the ability to be a three-down player next to Fletcher Cox. 

It made sense that the roster bonus was pushed back until after the draft because if the Eagles use a first- or second-round pick on a defensive end, they’re probably going to want to get that player snaps in Year 1, which would then minimize Long’s role. 

"I’m pretty undecided, but from the looks of things they’re going to make it hard for me in my favorite city,” Long said to USA Today. “We’ll see.”

Bell took that to mean something about his contract, but if I had to venture a guess, I think it probably means more about the roster. If he returns, Long is set to have a cap hit of $5.6 million in 2019, which seems like a relatively fair price. The Eagles have $24.975 million in cap space, according to the most recent public report from the NFLPA, so it’s not like they desperately need to create space. 

The Eagles begin OTAs in May, but Long said he definitely doesn’t feel like going to OTAs. They’re voluntary anyway and the Eagles have brought back players like Darren Sproles and Corey Graham well after the spring workouts. They’d likely be fine doing the same for Long if he decides he wants to come back. 

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Howie Roseman's 5 worst trades as Eagles GM

Howie Roseman's 5 worst trades as Eagles GM

Last week, we took a look at Howie Roseman’s five best trades, so today we’re looking at the other side. 

To be fair, when I came up with these lists, the good one was much longer than the bad. In general, Roseman is pretty good when it comes to trades. But they can’t all be hits. 

As a reminder, we’re looking at the following years: 2010-14, 2016-now. Chip Kelly was in control during 2015. 

Here’s my ranking of Roseman’s five worst trades: 

5. Trading for Golden Tate 
During the 2018 season, the Eagles needed a boost so Roseman pulled off a trade to get Tate from the Detroit Lions in exchange for a 2019 third-round pick. While the Eagles eventually got back a fourth-round compensatory pick to soften the blow, the acquisition of Tate never really worked out. 

Sure, you can point at the touchdown catch in the Double Doink playoff game in Chicago as a reason why this trade was actually a success … but let’s be real. This trade didn’t work out the way the Eagles were hoping. In the final eight games of the 2018 regular season, Tate caught 30 passes for 278 yards and 1 touchdown. He signed with the rival Giants in 2019. 

The lasting memory of this trade will probably be the unfortunate words from then-offensive coordinator Mike Groh, who admitted it had been “challenging to integrate” Tate into the offense during the season. 

4. Dion Lewis for Emmanuel Acho 
In April of 2013, the Eagles dealt Lewis to Cleveland for Acho. While Lewis never played for the Browns because of injury, he eventually resurfaced with the Patriots in 2015 and showed off some of the talent the Eagles initially saw in him during the 2011 draft. 

He has never become a star, but from 2015-2019, Lewis has played in 62 games for the Patriots and Titans and has averaged 4.3 yards per carry. He has 2,139 rushing yards, 1,260 receiving yards and 17 total touchdowns during those seasons. 

Acho played two seasons for the Eagles and a total of 20 games with two starts. He became a special teams contributor for those Chip Kelly teams but played a total of 288 defensive snaps. 

3. Joe Mays for J.J. Arrington  
The Eagles drafted Mays in the sixth round of the 2008 draft but the linebacker played in just 13 games in 2008 and 2009 before the Eagles shipped him to Denver in July of 2010 for Arrington or a conditional draft pick. 

Arrington missed the entire 2009 season after microfracture knee surgery. He didn’t make the Eagles that year (he never played in the NFL again), so the Birds got back a 2012 sixth-round pick they ended up using on Marvin McNutt. 

While Arrington never played an NFL game again, Mays from that point on in his career played 65 games with 37 starts for the Broncos, Texans, Chiefs and Chargers. 

2. Stealing DGB from the Titans 
At the time, it seemed liked the Eagles fleeced the Titans by getting Dorial Green-Beckham for reserve offensive lineman Dennis Kelly. Turns out, it was the other way around. Sometimes if it seems too good to be true … 

The Eagles pulled off this trade in August of 2016 and upon first glance it was a major steal. Just a year earlier, the Titans took DGB in the second round and he had a really good rookie year statistically. In 2015, he caught 32 passes for 549 yards (17.2) and 4 touchdowns. 

At 6-5, 225 pounds, he was the ultimate size/speed guy with the potential to be a great player. But it became clear pretty soon after that trade that DGB wasn’t destined for greatness. He was a friendly guy but immature and didn’t seem to want it. He played that 2016 season with the Eagles, catching 36 passes for 392 yards and 2 touchdowns on talent alone, but the Eagles cut him the following June. 

Since then, Green-Beckham has been out of the league and has been dealing with some legal issues. He’s become a cautionary tale of wasted talent. 

Meanwhile, Kelly has played in 58 games (16 starts) for the Titans and got a three-year extension before last season. 

1. Dealing Chris Clemons for Darryl Tapp 
One of Roseman’s first trades ended up being his worst. In March of 2010, the Eagles traded Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick to get Darryl Tapp from the Seahawks. Tapp was about three years younger than Clemons, who was longer and lankier. Before the trade, here were their career stats: 

Tapp: 4 seasons, 32 starts, 18 sacks 
Clemons: 5 seasons, 3 starts, 20 sacks 

So you can see why the Eagles made this trade. They thought they were getting a potential starting defensive end who was already better and had more upside in their defense. But they ended up losing pretty big. 

Here’s what they did with their new teams: 

Tapp: 3 seasons in Philly, 3 starts, 6 sacks 
Clemons: 4 seasons in Seattle, 59 starts, 38 sacks 

In his first three years in Seattle, Clemons ended up having 11, 11 and 11.5 sacks and started every game for the Seahawks; during that span, he was sixth in the NFL in sacks. Tapp was a role player in Philly. 

Honorable mentions: Trading away Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong, trading away Asante Samuel for a seventh-rounder, trading away Eric Rowe for a fourth-rounder.

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Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

A day after some of the NFL’s biggest black stars called on their league to condemn racism and support their fight, the NFL has responded. 

In a 1:21 video, commissioner Roger Goodell did just that. 

Goodell gave his condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives to police brutality and then offered up the following statement: 

While Goodell didn’t specifically mention Colin Kaepernick, it seems like the NFL will not fight players who wish to demonstrate during the national anthem. In fact, Goodell said the NFL will “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.” 

Kaepernick began his peaceful protest nearly four years ago, back in 2016. 

This video from Goodell and the strong statement from the league comes just a day after Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr. and more created a video asking for this type of response from the league. To the league’s credit, it came pretty promptly. 

In time, we’ll see what this means. It’s been an emotional week in the United States and this feels like a good start. But it also feels like a beginning for the NFL, a jumping off point. As far as players are concerned, this can’t be an empty statement. We’ll find out soon enough if there will be actions to back these words. 

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