Eagles

Penn State’s KJ Hamler hopes Miles Sanders puts in good word with Eagles

Penn State’s KJ Hamler hopes Miles Sanders puts in good word with Eagles

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State receiver KJ Hamler said he wasn’t surprised to see how much success Miles Sanders had during his rookie season with the Eagles in 2019.

The two are close friends and Hamler claims he knew from his freshman year at Penn State that Sanders would be a successful NFL player.

Hamler, 20, would like to follow in his footsteps, especially if those footsteps lead to Philadelphia.

“It would be great to play with Miles,” Hamler said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday. “I hope he put in a good word.”

Hamler, the 5-foot-9, 178-pound speedster, said he has a meeting on the books with the Eagles on Wednesday. He would relish the opportunity to play with his close friend Sanders if the Eagles decide to draft him.

It’s likely Hamler will be a Day 2 pick in the draft in April. And the Eagles certainly have a need for a speedy receiver.

As a junior in 2019, Hamler caught 56 passes for 904 yards (16.1) and eight touchdowns. He did struggle at times with drops, which he claims was a focus issue. It’s something he wants to improve and show NFL teams that it’s not a problem this week. There’s also a chance Hamler runs an impressive time in the 40-yard dash.

This class of receivers has been called historic, but Hamler is a competitor and he hasn’t shied away from the competition. He wants to be the best of the bunch.

So what separates him from others?

“I’m a dawg,” he said. “That’s just point blank, period. You don’t find a lot of people my size doing some things that I do. For me, my playmaking ability and my dawg mentality just stands out.”

If the Eagles draft Hamler, he would get a chance to play with DeSean Jackson, someone whom Hamler has looked up to for a long time.

The idea of Jackson grooming a young speed receiver is certainly intriguing.

“I just love his playmaking ability,” Hamler said of Jackson. “Whenever you need him to make a play, whether it’s on special teams or on offense, he’s going to do it.”

Throughout this pre-draft process, Hamler has been in contact with his friend Sanders and the Eagles’ running back has given him plenty of advice.

The best piece of advice: “Just stay hungry is probably the main thing. It’s a grown man sport. Basically, you gotta fight for another man’s job.”

Sanders in 2019 had an impressive rookie season. He rushed for over 800 yards, had over 500 yards receiving and six total touchdowns. His 1,327 yards from scrimmage were a record for Eagles rookies.

None of that surprised Hamler. But he was proud.

“I was very proud. I think a lot of us was,” he said. “A lot of people always had this cloud over his head about him playing behind Saquon, Saquon this, Saquon that, but he wanted to be himself. He wanted to make a name for Miles Sanders. I’m proud that he’s doing real well and I’m blessed to be in this opportunity that he was in.”

The Eagles drafted Sanders with the 53rd overall pick in last year’s draft. They now hold the 53rd pick in this year’s draft. It would be somewhat fitting if they used it this year on Hamler. He really would follow in Sanders’ footsteps.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles fan Giovanni Hamilton is keeping everyone smiling with new video series

Eagles fan Giovanni Hamilton is keeping everyone smiling with new video series

If you’re avid on Eagles social media, chances are you’ve come across their biggest Eagles fan. That fan is none other than Giovanni Hamilton. 

Giovanni has been stealing hearts of Eagles fans for quite some time with his reaction videos to the team combined with an abundance of positivity, but he has definitely stepped up his game during the offseason. 

Recently, he started a video series breaking down some of his favorite fun facts that are located within the team media guide given out at the start of the season. He was gifted it and wanted to share his new knowledge with the rest of his followers. 

He has already covered some of his favorite players, but don’t fret. If you missed them, they’re below! 

The first video that kicked off his fun series was about his hero, Carson Wentz. There was too much information to pack into a quick post on Twitter, so he had to upload the whole thing to YouTube. What a way to start things off! 

Jalen Mills has always been a favorite for Giovanni. Ever notice how his hair was green in the past? He was inspired by Mills to dye it so he can match the Eagles’ safety. 

Earlier this week, he decided to focus on Zach Ertz in what was probably his most successful video yet. 

Success meaning the tight end himself saw and shared the video with his own message to Giovanni. 

Next, he completed a fun facts video on Jason Kelce. Not only did we learn Kelce’s love for another sport but his passion for Christmas music as well. 

Kelce, if you’re seeing this — make sure to let Giovanni know what your favorite Christmas song is … it’s safe to say we’re all curious about it now. 

Most recently, he went on to talk about the only Dallas that Philadelphia fans like — that’s right, Dallas, Goedert. 

“He just wants to help make this strange time we’re in better for people and hopes to put a smile on their face,” said Shannon, Giovanni’s mom.

The positivity of this series has been doing just that — adding smiles to every Eagles fan who has come across these wonderful videos. 

If you want to stay up to date with Giovanni’s series, you can follow him here

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

2020 NFL mock draft: Eagles secure an elite receiver

Eagles plan at safety in 2020 is even cheaper than we first thought

Eagles plan at safety in 2020 is even cheaper than we first thought

We finally have the details on Rodney McLeod’s two-year contract with the Eagles and it’s much less lucrative than we were first led to believe. 

Initially reported as a $12 million deal, McLeod’s two-year deal is worth just $8.65 million, according to a league source. But it also includes $7.8 million in guaranteed money. So you can count on McLeod being with the Eagles through the 2021 season. 

Now that we have full contract details for McLeod, Jalen Mills and Will Parks, we can see that the Eagles are going to have the entire safety position for a very reasonable price in 2020. Will the experiment work? We’ll find out later this year. 

But it is a cost-effective plan. In 2020, all three combine for a cap hit of $7,134,375 million. To put that into perspective, had the Eagles picked up Malcolm Jenkins’ option (if he were willing to play on it), Jenkins would have counted as a $10.887 million cap hit by himself in 2020. 

(By the way, Jenkins this offseason got a four-year deal with the Saints that might turn into a two-year deal.)

According to Spotrac, the Eagles used over $17 million in cap space at safety in 2019, the second-highest total in the league. They will be much lower on that list in 2020. 

Let’s take a look at each individual Eagles deal: 

Rodney McLeod

The Eagles used one of their favorite tricks with the McLeod deal and it’s one they already used earlier this offseason when they signed Javon Hargrave.

Technically, McLeod’s deal is for five years, but the final three years will void automatically (and are included only) for salary cap purposes. The shortest version of this is that the Eagles can spread out the salary cap hit from his $3 million signing bonus over five years instead of two, saving cap space each season. 

McLeod has base salaries of $1.05 million and $3.75 million over the next two seasons. 

Here are McLeod’s cap hits over the next three seasons: 

2020: $1.65 million 
2021: $5.2 million 
2022: $1.8 million 

Remember, in 2022, he won’t be on the team anymore (at least not with this contract) so that money is just left over dead cap money (prorated salary bonus money) the team wanted to push off its books for the next two seasons. 

So in total, McLeod’s two-year deal is worth $8.65 million with $7.8 million guaranteed. But he also has the chance to earn up to $1.7 million in incentives. 

Jalen Mills 

Mills is back with the Eagles in a new hybrid safety/corner position on a one-year deal worth $4 million, but he has the potential to earn another $1 million in incentives. So this could end up being worth a total of $5 million. 

Mills has a base salary of $2 million and got a signing bonus of $2 million, so both count against the cap this year:

2020: $4 million 

His cap hit in 2020 is the highest of the three safeties, but McLeod has a higher one coming in 2021. 

Mills’ deal guaranteed just $2 million and he got that in the form of his signing bonus. His base salary this season isn’t guaranteed, so the Eagles could theoretically cut him to save $2 million but they didn’t sign him to cut him. 

Will Parks 

The newcomer of the group, Parks signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Eagles. He has a $1M fully guaranteed base salary, a $375K signing bonus and $125K in per-game roster bonuses. 

It’s a little tricker to figure out Parks’ salary cap figure for 2020 so stick with me here. For per-game roster bonus money, the cap figure is calculated based on the amount of games Parks played last season, which was 14. So the full $125K would could toward the cap if he played a full season in 2019 — but because he didn’t, we count just $109,375. This doesn’t mean Parks earns any less money; it’s just for cap purposes. 

So we add the base salary, signing bonus money and per-game roster bonus cap hit for a grand total of … 

2020: $1,484,375

It’s a very team-friendly deal for Parks, who is coming off his rookie contract and has some potential. We know McLeod will be with the Eagles in 2021 and it seems like Mills and Parks will get a chance to earn a contract to join him. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles