Eagles

Michael Bennett has advice for white people trying to combat institutional racism

Michael Bennett has advice for white people trying to combat institutional racism

After a monumentally important week, former Eagles defensive lineman Michael Bennett has a message for white people who want to be more proactive in combating institutional racism.

Bennett, currently a free agent, and Patriots safety Devin McCourty appeared on Chris Long's Green Light podcast on Friday to discuss the ongoing national protests against racism, police brutality, and the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis last Monday night by a police officer in an incident caught on camera. The officer kneeled on his neck for an extended period of time while Floyd was handcuffed.

The trio of current and former NFLers had a lengthy and candid discussion about what has failed, and what needs to be improved, in the United States, and the whole thing is worth a listen.

One part in particular stuck out to me, when Bennett explained what white people looking to help should be doing:

I think now, with George Floyd, it's even shining more light on the racial disparity with the police system, and I think for our white counterparts, I think they need to do some studying.

[...]

I think white people need to start studying. As a black man, I can't tell you how to not be racist. I can't tell you how to be inclusive. I can't tell you any of those things. That's a self journey. That's a self awareness journey. I think African-American people have had to conform myself to fit in certain areas, whether it was in sports or in the culture, being told, 'You're too this, you're too that, you're too that,' and they're basically saying, 'You're too black.' Right? So now it's a situation where [...] you have to figure out your own journey, to really find out why people are feeling this way.

This protest, with George Floyd and these things, there's history behind it. I implore white people to do some research. Go look at Emmett Till. Go look at Steven Biko. Go look at Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba. Go look at what happened to Medgar Evers, when he was killed in front of his house. Go look at what happened to those girls who were bombed in Alabama. Go look at it. It's the history here. Look at it. We talk about Martin Luther King, but look at the history and how Martin Luther King was treated, how he was chased, how he received assassination attempts on his life. This is the man you look up to.

It's a great point from Bennett. This week's protests are about Floyd's killing, but they're really about something larger.

The more you know about how we reached this current moment in history, the better you can try to move forward in a proactive way.

As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank noted this week, it's important to see athletes use their platforms to spread messages just like this one:

The more athletes and celebrities who use their platform to influence and educate and demand change, the more we have a chance to move beyond the racism, homophobia, bigotry and sexism that are so prevalent in our society.

Later in the discussion, Bennett gave his thoughts on Washington's football team:

LONG: Is there anything the NFL can do to prove they're actually on the players' side?

BENNETT: Of course there is. I think the Redskins can change their name. That's one way, that's a start right there. You say the league is not racist, and you have a team that literally has a racial slur for its name? The Redskins? What if it was the Whiteskins, or the Blackskins, or the Yellowskins? People would be upset, right? To me, that's one way.

It would certainly be a start.

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Detailing Jason Peters’ bargain 1-year deal with the Eagles

Detailing Jason Peters’ bargain 1-year deal with the Eagles

The Eagles brought back Jason Peters last month and will start the nine-time Pro Bowl tackle at right guard in the 2020 season, replacing the injured Brandon Brooks. 

Peters, 38, signed a one-year deal to return to the Eagles and now we have all the details on that contract. 

Peters’ one-year deal includes $3 million guaranteed but can be worth up to $6 million, according to a league source. Peters’ salary cap hit in 2020 is $3 million. 

Here’s how his contract breaks down in 2020, according to a source: 

Base salary: $1.8 million 
Signing bonus: $1 million 
Per-game roster bonus: $200,000 total 

In addition to that, his contract also includes $3 million in incentives for playing time, Super Bowl, All-Pro and Pro Bowl in different combinations. Since Peters didn’t accomplish those things last year, all of those are considered to be “Not Likely To Be Earned” incentives, which is why they don’t count against the cap. 

Getting Peters at a $3 million cap hit is a bargain. His renegotiated one-year contract in 2019 came with a base salary of $3.5 million and a cap hit of $8.67 million. His $3 million cap hit in 2020 is his lowest cap hit since the 2007 season, his fourth year in the NFL, when he was still with the Bills. According to OverTheCap, there are 18 right guards around the league with higher cap hits in 2020. 

With Peters’ cap number known and after removing Marquise Goodwin — Goodwin opted out of the 2020 season — to replace him with the 52nd highest paid player (the top 51 count for cap purposes), the Eagles have $23,804,112 in cap space for the 2020 season. 

But before you get visions of Jadeveon Clowney or another high-priced free agent still available, you have to remember that the Eagles probably need to carry this cap amount into next season. 

Last week, when I looked at the 2021 cap situation, I estimated by carrying over $23 million and it looks like I was pretty close. Even with carrying over that much, the Eagles are still nearly $60 million over the salary cap if it hits the floor of $175 million in 2021. It could be higher, but that’s the floor based on the expected revenue drop this season. 

So the Eagles will need to carry over all (or at least most) of their cap space in 2020 into 2021. Getting Peters for a bargain this season will only help. 

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Rodney McLeod on Eagles secondary: ‘It’s time to live up to that standard’

Rodney McLeod on Eagles secondary: ‘It’s time to live up to that standard’

“The Eagles’ secondary __________”

You can fill in the blank with whatever word you want, but you get the idea. The Eagles’ secondary has struggled the last two years, and Rodney McLeod has had enough.

Time to do something about it.

Part of it is pass rush, part of it is situational, but over the last two years, the Eagles’ secondary has allowed the 5th-most passing yards in the NFL and the 2nd most passing TDs of 40 yards or more and has the 5th-fewest interceptions.

Enter new secondary coach Marquand Manuel. Enter all-pro cornerback Darius Slay. Enter Nickell Robey-Coleman in the slot. Enter Jalen Mills at safety. Enter Will Parks and K’Von Wallace. Good-bye Malcolm Jenkins and presumably a few other familiar faces.

It’s time for this secondary to be a strength of the Eagles. Not a weakness.

As a secondary, I felt that we were a little bit disrespected at times and I think now it’s time to live up to that standard,” McLeod said Thursday. “A standard that’s been set with people that played way before us. The Brian Dawkins of the world. The Troy Vincents. Malcolm (Jenkins). I think when you think of guys who have put on the jersey before us, we owe them that. And so we want to get back to the secondary taking over this defense and winning the game and putting the game on our back, and that’s the standard 'M' (Manuel) is holding us to as well as the players in this room.

The Eagles were 29th in pass defense in 2018 and 19th last year. A lot of that was injuries. But a lot wasn’t.

A lot was just a unit that needed to be overhauled.

The Eagles haven’t had a top-10 pass defense since – believe it or not – 2012, when the 4-12 team was ranked 9th.  Mainly because everybody was always up big against them and just ran the ball.

Their last top-5 pass defense was the 2008 unit, with the late Jim Johnson’s last year as defensive coordinator and current Bills head coach Sean McDermott as secondary coach.

Manuel replaces Corey Undlin, now the Lions’ defensive coordinator.

McLeod said Manuel is already emphasizing to his group that it’s time for the Eagles’ secondary to get back to playing like the Eagles’ secondary of old.

“I think people respect him because he’s played the game, because of his passion and because of the way he coaches this group,” McLeod said. “And because the expectations that he has for us. It’s a very high standard. He’s coached a lot of good secondaries and we want to be another group to be respected in this league and treated as such. He’s going to fit perfectly. We’re going to be good.”

This is the first time since 2013 that Jenkins won’t be lining up at safety for the Eagles, but it’s also the first time they have a Pro Bowl cornerback in his prime on the field since Asante Samuel in 2011.

A lot of newcomers, a lot of change. And McLeod is determined to put out a product on the field that fans can appreciate and opposing players will respect.

It’s been a while.

“It’s a talented group,” he said. “It’s a room full of depth and talented individuals and hungry guys too, willing to compete, and that’s what we have to do. We have to create that culture and bring out the best in all of us in order to be the best.

“We’re all professionals and guys are committed and that’s what you need in order to win. For this season, it’s all about who is able to eliminate distractions and adapt and sacrifice. Both in and out of this building. That’s what it’s going to take.”

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