Eagles

Eagles go light on offense in initial 53-man roster, keep just 2 tight ends

Eagles go light on offense in initial 53-man roster, keep just 2 tight ends

The Eagles kept one more player on defense than offense on their initial 53-man roster in 2019 and kept just two tight ends. 

That’s probably the biggest surprise of cut-down day. They also kept two undrafted free agents and cut a veteran who started in Super Bowl LII. 

As always, the initial 53-man roster is fluid. The Eagles will be scouring the waiver wire and Howie Roseman is never shy about trades and roster turnover. 

For now, though, here’s the Eagles’ initial 53-man roster for 2019: 

QB (3): Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld

No real surprise here. The Eagles waived rookie Clayton Thorson, who struggled this preseason. They enter the season with two healthy QBs, but Sudfeld is expected to return at some point, probably in October. 

RB (4): Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles

The Eagles could have gone with five running backs but instead, they stick with four, getting rid of Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott, Josh Adams and Donnel Pumphrey. Smallwood was the fourth running back in last year. From last year’s 53-man roster, the Eagles swapped Jay Ajayi and Smallwood for Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders. 

WR (5): Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Mack Hollins

Tough cut for Greg Ward, who did everything he could to earn a roster spot. In the end, the Eagles valued Hollins’ upside and ability on special teams. 

TE (2): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert

This is a surprise. After putting Richard Rodgers on IR and waiving Josh Perkins, the Eagles should be looking to add another tight end. Perkins wasn’t just on the team last year, he played a decent role at times. 

OL (10): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor, Nate Herbig

The big cut here was veteran Stefen Wisniewski, who had a tough summer, especially as a center. The surprise who made the team was Herbig, who actually took over for Wiz as backup center. Despite a back injury, Mailata is on the roster for the second straight season. 

DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller 

Keeping six defensive ends is probably too many, but it was probably hard to cut one of those last three guys. In the end, they just kept all of them. Hall had a great preseason and Sweat and Miller were both fourth-round picks in consecutive years. 

DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway

The only notable cut here was Treyvon Hester, who became a hero last postseason after getting a finger on the double-doink. But the Eagles traded for Ridgeway in April. This is light at defensive tackle, but it’s a pretty good group, especially at a position where Destiny Vaeao started last year. Going light at DT allowed the Eagles to go a little heavier at DE. Also, Graham and Curry can play inside. 

LB (6): Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, Nate Gerry, L.J. Fort, T.J. Edwards 

It was a good day for rookie T.J. Edwards, who is one of two UDFAs on the initial 53-man roster. With Bradham and KGH not at 100 percent, the Eagles went heavy here. 

CB (5): Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, Cre’Von LeBlanc

The only slight surprise here was that the Eagles cut Orlando Scandrick, but he could possibly return if they need him. Jalen Mills was also put on the Reserve/PUP, which means he’ll be out at least six weeks. This means the Eagles are light at corner going into Week 1. But that’s a good sign about Darby’s health. 

S (5): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Johnathan Cyprien, Rudy Ford

The Eagles traded for Ford, but then he got hurt and didn’t play in the fourth preseason game, but he’s still on the roster. He has played 455 special teams snaps in the last two years. 

ST (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato 

This was never going to change.

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Alshon vs. Thrash in Roob's 10 Observations!

Alshon vs. Thrash in Roob's 10 Observations!

Alshon Jeffery vs. James Thrash, Henry Ruggs’ 40 time, the Gin Blossoms and Mark Duper all found their way into this weekend’s edition of Roob’s 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations.

I’m guessing that’s never happened before!

ALSHON VS. JAMES THRASH: Forget all the Carson stuff. Forget about the injuries and the terrible body language and the awful contract and the dropped passes that turned into Nick Foles interceptions in the Super Bowl and the playoff loss to the Saints. Let’s just focus on production, and Alshon Jeffery in three seasons in an Eagles uniform has 165 catches, 2,122 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Let’s do a little comparison of three WRs. These are averages based on their years when they were regulars on the Eagles:

Todd Pinkston: 44 catches, 659 yards, 15.0 ypc, 4.0 TDs

James Thrash: 55 catches, 675 yards, 12.4 ypc, 5.0 TDs

Alshon Jeffery: 55 catches, 707 yards, 12.9 ypc, 6 TDs

Jeffery did have a big 2017 postseason, but for the most part he’s been a pedestrian receiver since he’s been here. He’s the 14th-highest-paid WR in the NFL, but since 2017 he’s 37th among WRs in yards per game (54).

He’s an underachieving, overpaid, injury-prone 30-year-old James Thrash clone. Howie’s gotta find an exit strategy.

HOW FAST WILL HE RUN? I’ve never been a huge Combine fan, but I'll be glued to the TV Thursday when the wide receivers run the 40. How fast can Henry Ruggs go? In a way, Eagles fans should hope he doesn’t put up a 4.23 or something absurd because that might move him up too high for the Eagles to even trade up for. But I just want to see this kid run. It’s been a long time since one player made so much sense for the Eagles.

GET THIS MAN A CONTRACT: Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson are both scheduled to speak at the Combine on Tuesday, and it will be the first time we’ve heard from them in about six weeks, since Doug assured us that Mike Groh and Carson Walch weren’t getting fired. I’m most interested to hear what Howie has to say about Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles need to resolve this situation quickly because the last thing they need this offsaeson is a growing impasse between the franchise and one of their best players and the drama and distraction it would bring. Jenkins deserves a new deal. They have the money. Get it done.

NICK AND DENNIS: It’s hilarious to me that the two players the Eagles took in the 2012 draft who’ve caught postseason touchdown passes are Nick Foles and Dennis Kelly.

WHO'S AFTER MILES AND DALLAS? I was going to make a list of the top 5 Eagles 25 or younger but after I jotted down Miles Sanders and Dallas Goedert I got stuck. Who else would you put on that list? Derek Barnett? Nate Gerry? Jake Elliott? Avonte Maddox? Boston Scott? Greg Ward? Cre’von LeBlanc? Andre Dillard? Sidney Jones?

I guess I’d go:

1. Miles Sanders

2. Dallas Goedert

3. Derek Barnett

4. Avonte Maddox

5. Jake Elliott

MARK DUPER'S BRIEF EAGLES CAREER: History has forgotten it, but Mark Duper was briefly with the Eagles during 1993 training camp. You won’t find it mentioned on his Wikipedia page or his Pro Football Reference page. None of his on-line bios mention it. But after spending 1982 through 1992 with the Dolphins – he was a three-time Pro Bowler and had four 1,000-yard seasons – Duper signed in the summer of 1993 with the Bengals. It didn’t go well. They released him a couple weeks into training camp. Rich Kotite, desperate for more old broken-down players who couldn’t play anymore, immediately signed the 34-year-old Duper. He arrived at training camp in West Chester late in the day on Aug. 19, and a group of us grabbed him walking into the dining hall:

“The biggest mistake I ever made was going to the Bengals,” he said, adding, “I feel like I still have a few good years of football left.”

Turned out he didn’t even have a few weeks of football left. Duper was 34, which made him a typical Rich Kotite favorite. Not surprisingly, he couldn’t run anymore. We saw it in his first practice. The Eagles released him a couple weeks later, and he never played football again.

FOUND OUT ABOUT YOU: Anybody remember when the Gin Blossoms played the Eagles’ 2004 pep rally in the Headhouse Plaza outside the Linc? It was Sept. 9, 2004, three days before the 2004 Super Bowl season began. Did you know that gig was the first time several songs from their next record, Major Lodge Victory, were ever played live? And the next night the entire band was at the TLA on South Street to see the late, great Tommy Keene, a long-time Gin Blossoms collaborator, open for Guided by Voices?

1-FOR-62: The Eagles have selected 62 defensive players in their last 14 drafts, and one has gone to a Pro Bowl. Fletcher Cox, naturally. The rest of the league has drafted 171 Pro Bowl defensive players over the last 14 years.

BEING GREG LEWIS: How about Greg Lewis’s career. As a player, he made little impact in his five years with the Eagles – he averaged just 25 catches and 339 yards per season – but he caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl on what may have been the best pass Donovan McNabb ever threw. Then he goes to Minnesota in 2009, playing for Brad Childress, and in his first game with the Vikings makes that insane miracle 32-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone with 2 seconds left against the 49ers that wins him a freaking ESPY for Play of the Year. Then he becomes Eagles WRs coach in 2016 and gets fired after one year. Then he goes to the Chiefs in the same role and wins a Super Bowl.

WHAT ABOUT THIS GUY? So maybe there’s hope for Carson Walch, too!

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Four reasons the NFL's CBA proposal is bad for the players

Four reasons the NFL's CBA proposal is bad for the players

If you're a football fan, you've probably read about ongoing negotiations on a new CBA between the NFLPA, which the union representing the players, and management council, which represents the 32 NFL owners.

The NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season, but negotiations have been ongoing this offseason.

The NFLPA executive committee voted 6-5 to not recommend the current proposal to the members, so negotiations continue.

The complete proposal hasn’t been made available to the public, but enough details have leaked over the last two days to get some sense of what’s included.

The NFLPA released this fact sheet outlining key points in the CBA proposal.

And there are a lot of positives for the players. It expands pension eligibility and improves insurance benefits for retired players and raises minimum salaries, eases drug testing and reduces fines.

All good.

But there are plenty of red flags, enough that numerous high-profile players have been tweeting against the proposal.

Here are four reasons the deal as currently proposed is a bad one for the players:

1. The proposal calls for a 17-game regular-season schedule while also calling for an increase in player revenue from the current 47 to 48.5 percent. That’s about a 3.1 percent revenue increase for a 6.3 increase in games played. How is that fair? The owners are going to be raking in massive TV revenue increases, especially with the expanded playoff schedule, but the players won’t be receiving an equivalent share of that money.

2.  All players under contract when the league goes to a 17-game schedule — presumably in 2021 — will be paid only $250,000 more for that 17th game game. So anybody with a base salary over $4.25 million in 2021 will essentially be taking a pay cut. The Eagles have 10 players with 2021 base salaries of at least $5 million. Carson Wentz is on the books at $15.4 million. That’s $905,882 per week based on a 17-week schedule. So his weekly salary would go down to $869,440. That’s a $36,000 pay CUT per week. He’ll essentially be making less money per week. Now multiple that pay cut by several hundred players. The NFL will be raking in billions more dollars by increasing the regular season from 256 games to 272 - and eventually more with expansion - and increasing the postseason from 11 games to 13. While essentially asking the players to earn less per week.
 
3.  The proposal does shorten the preseason from four games to three, but there is apparently no second bye week included. So the players are being asked to play 17 regular-season games in an 18-week span in an era where the NFL loves blabbing about player safety. Add to that the likelihood of increased international travel and the wear and tear that takes on a player as the league explores more and more international games. This is just pure greed on the NFL’s part. It’s clear that everything the league says about player safety is just lip service if they are so desperate to add a 17th regular-season game in an era with increased focus on concussions, injuries and player health after football.  

4. The NFL is way too eager to get a deal done now when the current CBA doesn’t expire for another year. It definitely benefits both sides to have a deal hammered out and guarantee labor peace for a decade. But you just get the feeling the owners want to get this done before the NFLPA really has a chance to digest the full proposal and its long-term financial implications for the players. The owners over the last few days have embarked on a carefully strategized PR campaign to make this proposal seem like a good one for the players and try to rush a vote through before everybody knew what the implications were. Nobody wants a strike. Nobody wants a lockout. But the players are what makes the league work. Without them there is no NFL. They deserve more than what this CBA proposal calls for.

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