Eagles

Eagles practice far from its typical scene

Eagles practice far from its typical scene

It was anything but a normal day at the NovaCare Complex.

Upon entering the main gate Wednesday, extra security was everywhere to make sure each person was cleared to be on the grounds as more local and national media converged than we’ve seen since the day Michael Vick arrived.

You could tell the team spent plenty of time Tuesday at practice discussing how to handle the flood of journalists it was anticipating. When head coach Doug Pederson stepped to the podium to meet the masses, he made it immediately clear he was not here to discuss, in detail, why the team was disinvited to the White House (see story)

A few hours later when the locker room doors opened after practice, many players decided to disappear instead of facing questions. I can’t tell you the last time I saw so many players huddled in the trainer’s room or the player’s lounge. But the few who decided to face the music were the obvious ones like Malcolm Jenkins, who normally speaks so eloquently on social injustice and police brutality. However, he picked Wednesday to let his written words on cards express his opinions on the numerous questions and issues of why the team never met President Donald Trump (see story).

Zach Ertz stated he was disappointed but holds no ill will towards Fox News for the picture it inaccurately used of him kneeling (see story).

Brandon Brooks chose every word carefully when describing his views on the White House drama.

And to me, Jason Kelce, who has become quite the public speaker this year, gave the quote of the day when he said: “I didn’t win the Super Bowl to go to the White House."

The one team official I wanted to hear from was owner Jeff Lurie, who was not available to the media but made himself very visible walking around at practice.

And to think it was just days ago that we would go to Eagles practices to keep a close eye on Carson Wentz’s rehab and watch players develop. Now, whether they like it or not, the Eagles are at the center of a political firestorm. In due time, they’ll get back to just football. Players will be more than willing to talk again about trying to make the team and the chances of repeating as champions.

That day will come soon enough ... just not now.

Dan Snyder is reportedly taking over Washington's draft

usa-daniel-snyder.jpg
USA Today Images

Dan Snyder is reportedly taking over Washington's draft

For months, we’ve been so focused on the Eagles’ plan going into the draft without even thinking about another huge factor that should help them: 

The rest of the division might be an inept mess at the front office level.  

Let’s check in on Washington: 

Oh, really?

So the Eagles have a power structure with a supportive owner in Jeffrey Lurie who has delegated power to a front office with Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas. Both seem to get along great with each other and with head coach Doug Pederson, creating a sound and cohesive environment. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles share a division with two overbearing and meddlesome owners in Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones, not to mention a general manager in New York’s Dave Gentleman, who doesn’t seem to know what the hell he’s doing. 

At least you have to give the Cowboys a little credit. Jones is meddlesome, but they’ve had plenty of good draft picks over the last few years. 

But the Giants have picks No. 6 and 17, while the Skins have No. 15 and might move on up into the top five. Neither of those fanbases should have a high level of confidence those front offices will nail those picks. 

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Eagles' Nelson Agholor reportedly viewed as trade option around NFL

Eagles' Nelson Agholor reportedly viewed as trade option around NFL

Nelson Agholor survived speculation he could be released by the Eagles in March, but that doesn’t mean the club won’t part with the wide receiver in a draft-day trade.

At least, that’s what NFL teams believe might happen. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, front offices around the league view Agholor as a player who could be “available” and wind up on the trade block — if the Eagles take a receiver in the draft.

Rapoport cites Agholor’s guaranteed salary of $9.4 million in 2019 as reason why the Eagles would consider a move.

The possibility for a trade makes sense from several vantage points, including money. The Eagles have quite a bit invested in the position already between Alshon Jeffery, with his $14.7 million cap hit for 2019, and DeSean Jackson, due $12 million over the next two seasons. Agholor is also in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

Acquiring another receiver in the draft, presumably early, creates a logjam for playing time as well, with 2017 draft picks Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson among the prospects still in the mix. Braxton Miller has also earned praise from the organization, while the Eagles recently signed AAF standout Charles Johnson as well.

It’s easy to connect the dots and see how the Eagles could be motivated to deal Agholor, which would create cap space and a roster spot, all while netting an asset before he reaches free agency.

Such a trade would not be without some downside, however.

Agholor only turns 26 in May and is coming off back-to-back 60-reception/700-yard receiving seasons with 12 total touchdowns. He’s a versatile weapon who can work the short and intermediate areas of the field and run with the ball in his hands, but is a threat to take the top off the defense, too.

Perhaps greater than Agholor’s on-field ability — the full potential of which he perhaps hasn’t reached — is his work ethic and presence in the locker room. A former first-round choice himself, this is somebody who has worked to shake the dreaded draft “bust” label, and in the process earned the utmost respect of the Eagles’ coaching staff and front office.

In February, Eagles coach Doug Pederson gushed about Agholor’s attitude while discussing how a mid-season trade for fellow wideout Golden Tate impacted his production.

“Nelson, oh man. Love this guy,” Pederson said. “He’s the first one in and the last one out. He’s a hard worker. Spends time before and after practice. Can’t say enough good things about Nelson Agholor and what he’s brought to the table and what he will continue to bring. I think last year, you look at the amount of guys we had, and then we added Golden (Tate) midseason.

“I’m not going to stand up here and say it didn’t affect Nelson. I think it did. The question was asked earlier about getting everybody the ball. In this league, it’s a challenge … And yet Nelson didn’t complain. He came to work every single day. He put in the time, he put in the work. He was a huge part of what we did … I’m excited, I love working with him.”

If the Eagles ultimately decide to move on from Agholor, it doesn’t sound like a decision that will be made lightly.

It’s impossible to say what the Eagles should do without knowing the return or how the draft will unfold. Agholor is even more valuable than his numbers suggest, though, so one would expect he’d fetch a nice price.

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