Eagles get back their Hart

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Eagles get back their Hart

The Eagles on Wednesday signed defensive-tackle-turned-offensive tackle Taylor Hart ... again. 

Hart, 26, was once an Eagles' fifth-round pick back in 2014 as a defensive tackle out of Oregon. But he switched from defensive line to offensive line last offseason in an attempt to extend his career. It didn't really work at the time. 

Despite Hart having a really good spring and training camp, the Eagles went light on their offensive line, which left him without a job and without any real prospects. The Eagles brought him back for about 20 days during the season, but cut him when they signed Will Beatty off the street. 

Hart had been without a team until the Eagles brought him back to their 90-man roster on Wednesday. 

Hart's switch from defense to offense started late in the 2016 season, when the Eagles needed help in practice on the offensive line. Hart jumped over in a pinch but ended up looking much better than a defensive lineman playing the role of an OT. So after the season, he switched positions and began working with the team as an offensive tackle in the spring. 

While all of his NFL playing time has come on defense, Hart has still played in games, so he's not eligible for the practice squad. That means he has likely been trying to stay as sharp as possible while away from the facility. 

Before the Eagles signed him in October for that near-month stretch, Hart worked out with retired 20-year offensive lineman Jackie Slater in California. It's likely that's what he's been up to in the last few months. 

The Eagles have spent the last couple weeks filling out their 90-man roster. Since the Super Bowl win, the Eagles have signed 10 players, including Hart and nine players who were on their practice squad in 2017. 

The other players they've signed are WR Rashard Davis, OG Darrell Greene, CB D.J. Killings, S Tre Sullivan, WR Bryce Treggs, WR Greg Ward, CB De'Vante Bausby and TE Billy Brown. 

The Eagles won't be back together for practices (OTAs) until May, well after free agency and the draft are over. 

Eagles reportedly release Mychal Kendricks

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Eagles reportedly release Mychal Kendricks

The Eagles cleared $4.4 million in 2018 cap space Tuesday by releasing linebacker Mychal Kendricks, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Eagles have not commented on the report.

Kendricks, who the Eagles have been shopping for the last couple offseasons, was due to earn $5.85 million in base salary this year with a $7.6 million cap figure. He’ll count $3.2 in dead money for a $4.4 million cap savings in 2018.

The $3.2 million comes from the 2018 and 2019 pro-rated portions ($1.6 million each) of his $8 million signing bonus that came with his contract extension in 2015.

Kendricks, the Eagles’ second-round pick in 2012, started 74 games and played in 85 for the Eagles. He had three interceptions — all in 2013 — and 14 sacks, including two last year, when he started 13 games and played well in the postseason.

Kendricks was not on the field during Tuesday’s OTA practice. A team spokesman said during practice he didn’t know why Kendricks was absent.

The Eagles lost veteran linebacker Paul Worrilow to a serious injury during practice Tuesday (see observations), and the two moves combined leave the Eagles somewhat thin at linebacker.

Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks are expected to start, and Corey Nelson is likely the next man in. Nelson spent his first four years with the Broncos before signing with the Eagles. All six of his NFL starts were in 2016. Nelson played only 44 snaps on defense last year but played 545 snaps in 2016.

Other linebackers on the roster include veterans Kamu Grugier-Hill and LaRoy Reynolds, who are considered mainly special teamers, Joe Walker, Nate Gerry and undrafted rookies Danny Ezechukwu and Asantay Brown.

According to the NFLPA website, the Eagles had an NFL-low $102,558 available under their 2018 adjusted salary cap figure of $177,890,151 before the move.

That’s based on the combined cap figures of their 51 highest-paid players. The NFL’s rule of 51 states that during the offseason only the 51 highest-paid players on each team count against the cap.

With this move, there are only five players remaining on the roster that played for Andy Reid — Jason Peters, Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox and Nick Foles.

Eagles OTAs Day 1 observations: Linebacker suffers serious injury

Eagles OTAs Day 1 observations: Linebacker suffers serious injury

The Eagles began their OTAs on Tuesday morning, but were forced to do so under the roof of the practice bubble because of rain.

Things were a little cramped in there, but the Eagles were able to finish their 1½-hour practice by 1 p.m. The only two guys who didn’t report for OTAs were Michael Bennett and Darren Sproles (see story).

There was plenty of sloppiness in the first session, which is to be expected. 

Here are 10 observations from Tuesday: 

1. The Eagles already lost a player to a significant injury on Day 1. During 7-on-7 red zone drills, linebacker Paul Worrilow went down in serious pain. He instantly grabbed at his knee and then slammed his fist on the ground repeatedly. The music lowered and the entire bubble became silent as his teammates took a knee and watched. His knee was steadied in an aircast and he was taken off the field on a cart. 

Worrilow, 28, signed with the Eagles on a one-year deal this offseason after one year in Detroit. He played the first four years of his career in Atlanta. He’s from Wilmington, Delaware. 

2. Carson Wentz looked good (see story). Sure, he’s still recovering from that torn left ACL, but the Eagles’ franchise quarterback was able to do at least some individual work on Tuesday. Once offensive drills, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s started, Foles took over, getting all the first-team reps. 

But just seeing Wentz on the field, even with that knee brace, was a pretty good sign. His footwork looked solid. 

After his work for the day was done, Wentz was still engaged and took off that knee brace. He was jogging around without it. 

3. A few other injured guys were back too. Jordan Hicks (Achilles) and Jason Peters (ACL) practiced on Tuesday in a limited fashion, but neither participated in team drills. Brandon Graham (ankle), Mychal Kendricks (ankle) and Tim Jernigan (back) were not at practice, but Derek Barnett, who reportedly had sports hernia surgery this offseason, was on the field. 

With Peters not participating in team drills, Halapoulivaati Vaitai was the Eagles’ first-team left tackle. Without Hicks and Kendricks, the Eagles at linebacker went with Nigel Bradham, Nate Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill. 

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata didn’t practice, but was out there. Fletcher Cox and Destiny Vaeao were the first-team defensive tackles. 

4. Alshon Jeffery (rotator cuff surgery) was on the field, but not participating. Without him, Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins were the Eagles’ top two outside receivers and Nelson Agholor lined up in the slot. Markus Wheaton and Shelton Gibson got run with the second team. 

5. Speaking of Gibson … good start for the second-year player. He made some tough catches on Tuesday, which is important. He got off to such a terrible start last spring and summer that it took him a long time to catch up. He’s the front-runner for one of those last receiver spots this summer. 

6. The Eagles’ top cornerbacks today were Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills outside, with second-year player Sidney Jones in the slot. The Eagles could eventually decide to make Mills move outside to inside, but for now Jones gets a chance to play inside. It’s really a different position, but so far, so good. He was able to stick with Agholor during drills. 

7. The first play of today’s practice was a good mood-setter. Foles threw a short pass to Wallace and Darby put a little shot on him as he tried to get to the ball. By the way, not a great day for Foles. He had a couple underthrows; one was picked by Mills and one by Jones. 

8. Rookie Avonte Maddox played outside corner in college, but his size (5-9, 184) had people thinking he’d play slot corner in the pros. The Eagles seem to think that’s possible too. He got run in the slot after the starters were off the field. 

9. During 7-on-7s, cornerback De’Vante Bausby made a pretty great play to intercept a Nate Sudfeld pass intended for rookie Dallas Goedert. But on the next snap, Sudfeld recovered and found Goedert in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. 

Goedert looked pretty good in his first practice but is still behind Richard Rodgers on the depth chart, it seems. Zach Ertz and Rodgers were on the field for two-tight end sets with the first team.

10. Rookie rugby player … sorry … offensive tackle Jordan Mailata is obviously a work in progress. He lined up at third-team left tackle and grabbed fellow rookie Josh Sweat around the neck as he flew past him. That’s a hold, Jordan. Can’t do that. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: Assistant OL coach and former NFL offensive lineman Eugene Chung has always acted as the Eagles’ MIKE linebacker for the scout team during practices. On Tuesday he showed off his range, playing the SAM.