Eagles

Eagles sign Brandon Brooks to 4-year contract extension

Eagles sign Brandon Brooks to 4-year contract extension

The Eagles on Monday locked up all-pro guard Brandon Brooks with a contract extension that runs through 2024 and makes him the highest-paid guard in the NFL.

The 30-year-old Brooks, who has made a remarkable recovery from Achilles surgery, was already signed through 2020. The new deal runs from 2021 through 2024.

According to AthletesFirst, the agency that represents Brooks, the deal is worth $56.2 million over four years.

That $14.05 million annual average makes Brooks the highest-paid guard in the NFL, just ahead of Zach Martin of the Cowboys, whose six-year, $84 million deal signed last year is worth $14 million per year.

Brooks had been signed through 2020 with base salaries of $8 million this year and $7.5 million next year on his original five-year, $40 million deal with the Eagles.

Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said Brooks is having the best year of his career.

I see a locked in guy,” Stoutland said. “I see a guy that’s just zoned in on what he’s doing from each play. I’m very, very happy with his production, with his level of execution and all the technique that we’re teaching him, he applies it all. He’s a smart man.

Brooks suffered a torn Achilles on Jan. 13 during the Eagles’ playoff loss to the Saints at the Superdome.

But he returned to practice the week before the opener and hasn’t missed a step. After playing 54 of a possible 74 snaps in the opener against the Redskins — he rested late in the game once the Eagles had a double-digit lead — he’s played all 564 snaps in the last eight games at right guard.

What’s stood out about Brooks’ miracle recovery?

The way he just embraced that whole situation and fought through all the adversity and came back with such a positive attitude,” Stoutland said Monday. “I never once saw him down in the tank, worrying about him or ‘why me?’ or any of that. … The approach he had was always positive and, ‘My mission is to get back for that first game,’ and he was able to do that. He’s having the best season of his life right now. It’s a credit to him, it’s well-deserved. He’s a tremendous member of our team. Unbelievable attitude. I love the way he prepares and most especially the way he performs on Sunday.

Brooks, Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce are the only players to start all 46 games the Eagles have played since opening day of 2017.

Brooks initially joined the Eagles in 2016 as a free agent from the Texans, and quickly emerged as one of the greatest free agent signings in franchise history.

He made his first two Pro Bowls in 2017 and 2018 in his sixth and seventh NFL seasons and is on track to make a third straight.

No guard in Eagles history has ever made three Pro Bowls. Brooks, Shawn Andrews and Evan Mathis each made three.

The Eagles now have 26 players under contract through 2021, 14 through 2022 and five through 2023. Brooks is the only player on the roster signed through 2024.

On the offensive line, Isaac Seumalo and Andre Dillard are signed through 2022 and Lane Johnson and Kelce through 2021.

Jason Peters and Halapoulivaati Vaitai are currently due to become unrestricted free agents after this season.

Among those under contract through at least 2021 are Carson Wentz, Miles Sanders, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Malik Jackson, Avonte Maddox and T.J. Edwards.

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The area where JJ Arcega-Whiteside is showing some potential

The area where JJ Arcega-Whiteside is showing some potential

For a second-round pick, it’s fair to say that JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s rookie season hasn’t been a resounding success to this point. 

So it’s definitely notable that his two biggest catches of the season have come on off-schedule plays. 

“That’s kind of like backyard football,” Arcega-Whiteside said this week. “Ain’t no real way to coach it or train for it. It’s just like, broken play, get open. There’s no technique or nothing. It’s just get open. I’ve just been lucky that Carson [Wentz] has found me and I was in the right place at the right time. Hopefully, we can get some more going forward.” 

For whatever reason, it seems like the rookie is better in those situations right now. Maybe it’s because of the NFL learning curve or because these are the situations where thinking is completely removed from the equation. Just go out there and make a play. 

It’s encouraging to see his playmaking ability, even when it hasn’t come as much on the initial play calls. At least we can see that he has it in him. 

Arcega-Whiteside caught a 29-yard pass on an off-schedule play in the fourth quarter of the Patriots game. And then on Sunday in Miami, his first NFL touchdown came on a 15-yarder on a broken play. 

The touchdown came with 13 seconds left in the first half against the Dolphins. It was 3rd-and-goal from the 15, which is a difficult situation to convert. In fact, NFL offenses have gotten touchdowns on just 2 of 13 such opportunities this year. 

“He's been at the right place at the right time,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “The play there at the end of the half for the touchdown where he's inside releasing there and then he is working with Carson as Carson scrambles out there to the right, and then he's able to get out of the grass above the DB and come back and fight for the ball was a really good play by JJ and Carson.”

As Wentz escapes the pocket, you can see the rookie lock eyes with him. He’s about to take one more step toward the sideline and cut back inside, avoiding the defender that had tight coverage on him. Wentz puts it on him. 

Arcega-Whiteside and Wentz haven’t played a ton together, so it’s impressive that they’re able to connect on these types of plays. The receiver has to understand where the quarterback is going to throw it and the quarterback has to trust that the receiver is thinking the same thing. 

“We talk about it,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “It’s like, ‘ideally, we want this guy to do this or this guy to do this.’ But at the end of the day, just get open. Come back to the quarterback, be friendly and play ball.”

That’s usually the main coaching point for receivers in these off-schedule situations: Be quarterback friendly, which means give him a target, give him an opportunity to get the ball to you. 

That’s exactly what Arcega-Whiteside also did in the fourth quarter against the Patriots a couple weeks ago. He found an open spot in the field where Wentz threw it and came back to get the ball. 

 

What makes Arcega-Whiteside good in these situations?  

It’s pretty simple. 

“Just his ability to keep working,” Wentz said. “JJ does a great job of it.” 

The Eagles have struggled to find consistent plays from their receivers this year, so the fact that their second-round pick had trouble getting on the field at first and still has just six catches for 101 yards isn’t great. But Arcega-Whiteside and Wentz will be together for a least a couple more years after 2019. 

And these plays are certainly a silver lining. 

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Eagles Injury Update: Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Kamu Grugier-Hill miss practice again

Eagles Injury Update: Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Kamu Grugier-Hill miss practice again

For the second straight day, the Eagles were without three key players at practice. 

Derek Barnett (ankle), Kamu Grugier-Hill (concussion) and Nelson Agholor (knee) all missed Friday’s session after also missing Thursday. 

It’s rare for players to miss the first two practice days of the week and play that weekend. 

Barnett, it seemed, hurt his ankle during the loss to the Dolphins but was able to finish the game, playing 50 snaps. This season, Barnett is second on the team in sacks with 4 1/2 and has played more snaps (78 percent) than any other defensive lineman. 

The only other defensive players to play more than him this season are Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. 

If Barnett can’t play on Monday, it’s likely Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat will see more playing time and perhaps Genard Avery will see a few more snaps. Maybe even Daeshon Hall or Shareef Miller might get to play a bit. 

Agholor has been dealing with his knee injury since the Patriots game. He missed the game against Seattle, but returned last week to play 63 snaps against the Dolphins. Last week, Agholor was limited in practice the first two days of the week and was not given a game status. 

If Agholor can’t play, Greg Ward could perhaps have a bigger role on Monday night. 

Meanwhile, Grugier-Hill didn’t report concussion symptoms until Thursday and was then placed into the NFL’s concussion protocol. Based on the timing of all that, it seems like a long shot that he’ll be able to play on Monday night. 

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