Eagles

Would it be feasible for Eagles to quarantine a QB in 2020? 

Would it be feasible for Eagles to quarantine a QB in 2020? 

The NFL is still planning to have training camps kick off in late July with extensive guidelines in place to encourage social distancing. The league has already reportedly chopped the preseason in half. And the NFL is now thinking about having fans sign a waiver if they want to attend games in 2020.

Even if there is a 2020 NFL season, it’s not going to be a normal one. 

The NFL is still hoping to have a season during the COVID-19 pandemic, but if it actually happens it’s going to be unlike any NFL season we’ve ever seen. And some teams are already preparing for the real possibility that some of their players test positive. 

Back in early June, on Chris Long’s Green Light podcast, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said he might actually quarantine one of his quarterbacks so they won’t be left without one. 

It’s a valid thought. Quarterback is the most important position in football and if coronavirus ends up going through a quarterback room, it could sink a season. 

After Arians’ comment to Long, I had a chance to ask Eagles head coach Doug Pederson if he had thought through those scenarios and if he would entertain the possibility of quarantining a quarterback. 

He didn’t shoot it down. 

Obviously there are a lot of ways to go about things, and that's one way to do it,” Pederson said on June 16. “If you do it with the quarterback position, do you do it with a receiver, do you do it with a defensive back, something like that. But these are all things that right now, between now and the time we play are really — or I should say the time we get back to training camp, are the scenarios that we need to as a staff think through and the possibilities. 

“But that is definitely something to consider as you move forward to protect the quarterback position, but at the same time you have to think about the entire roster, as well. A lot of different scenarios and a lot of possibilities we'll think about here in the next few weeks.

In Tampa Bay, Arians has Tom Brady as his starter and his second- and third-string quarterbacks are Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin. Both Gabbert and Griffin were with Arians in Tampa Bay last year, so Griffin (the third-stringer) would be a good candidate to quarantine. He’s a 30-year-old lifetime backup who has been in Tampa Bay since 2015. 

The Eagles’ don’t have that same setup. 

The starter obviously can’t be quarantined; Wentz needs first-team practice reps. 

And their depth chart at QB looks like this: Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts, Kyle Lauletta. 

For the Eagles, the idea of quarantining their third-string quarterback won’t work. Hurts is a second-round rookie who is coming into a season without any spring workouts. He needs to spend as much time around Wentz and the coaching staff as possible. Forget the idea of keeping him out of the QB room. 

So that leaves Sudfeld and Lauletta. It’s hard to imagine the Eagles keeping four quarterbacks, so if Lauletta is still around, he’ll be on the practice squad. But he has just one year with the Eagles under his belt and is a young player who would probably benefit more from being with players and coaches. (And I mean no disrespect to Lauletta, but if the season ends up coming down to him, things have gone terribly wrong.) 

That means the most obvious guy to quarantine if the Eagles decide to go that route would be Sudfeld. It would be a strange situation, having your backup quarterback quarantining throughout the week because on game day, he’d need to be active and then join the team. It wouldn’t work out perfectly, but it’s not exactly like there’s an ideal situation in any of this. 

If it isn’t Sudfeld, maybe the Eagles can just ask quasi-retired Josh McCown to quarantine and stay ready at home. Crazier things have happened. 

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What George Kittle’s landmark contract means for Zach Ertz and Eagles

What George Kittle’s landmark contract means for Zach Ertz and Eagles

George Kittle didn’t just reset the tight end market on Thursday. He obliterated it. 

And you can bet Zach Ertz is taking note. 

The 49ers and Kittle just agreed to a groundbreaking contract for the All-Pro tight end that comes with an average of $15 million per season. 

Ertz, 29, is still under contract through the 2021 season but is also in line for a contract extension of his own. And while you might not think he deserves as much money as Kittle or even Travis Kelce (who is also in line for an extension), Ertz might think so. 

Check out what Ertz said about the comparisons to Kittle and Kelce last week: 

I do consider myself in that upper echelon of guys, in that same tier with all those guys,” Ertz said last Friday. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but I think a lot of guys in this building feel the same way about me. I’m never in the business of comparing people. I think all three of us are at the top of our games, and I think we’re all perfect in the offense that we play in, honestly. I think we all have unique skill sets. We’re all very different, with some similarities. But overall I don’t think my game is any less than any of their games.

We’ll eventually find out if the front office agrees with him. Because the Eagles are going to face a really critical decision soon regarding Ertz. And the existence of Dallas Goedert only adds more layers to this situation. 

Ertz, 29, signed an extension in 2016 that gave him an average per year of $8.5 million. While he might not get to the $15 APY that Kittle just got, he’s going to aim to be in that area. That’s the natural progression of contracts in the NFL. My guess is he gets in the $11-13 million per season range, which is still a really big investment on a player who will likely be over 30 when that deal happens. 

For a long time, the market for tight ends has been really stagnant. The Jimmy Graham $10 million APY had been the benchmark until Austin Hooper passed that with a $10.5 APY this offseason. Now, Kittle has demolished that. 

It’s also worth noting that NFL Network’s Mike Silver reported earlier this offseason that Ertz actually turned down a deal during the 2019 season that was more lucrative than the deal Hooper signed. That should give you an idea of Ertz’s mindset. (But it was the right decision; let Kittle or Kelce reset the market.) 

There’s no questioning what Ertz has meant to the Eagles offense. He’s been their leading receiver in each of the last four seasons and this is the guy who caught the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl! He’s in the middle of an absolutely tremendous career. 

Ertz last week emphasized his desire to play for the Eagles for his entire career. But it’s never that simple. 

Remember, Goedert is still just 25, he has two more years left on his rookie contract and is already a top 10 tight end in the NFL. And while Ertz has put up incredible — like Hall of Fame — receiving numbers, Goedert is definitely a more well-rounded player. Heck, ProFootballFocus actually ranked Goedert ahead of Ertz for the 2020 season.

The one thing that seems clear is that it’s going to be really hard to keep both talented tight ends long-term. 

If the Eagles want to keep Ertz, they’re going to have to give him a huge contract. This Kittle deal just created some framework and a potential obstacle. 

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Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Greg Ward Jr. became a great story for the Eagles last season, when he began the year on the practice squad and ended up being their best receiver down the stretch. 

But is he more than a good story? 

Doug Pederson seems to think so. 

The one thing now as he goes into this season, he's in that rotation, in that starting mix for us,” Pederson said on a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday. “It's just a matter of him embracing every day, getting better. Being a former quarterback, he understands our offense. Being in our offense, he knows the concepts and the routes. He and Carson (Wentz) have a really good feel for one another.

“I think for him now it's just a matter of continuing to get better each and every day and putting in the work. We expect some really big things from Greg. He can also be a leader. He can be a leader of that group. Him and DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, these guys, they can be leaders now and mentors to these young players.

In one year’s time, Ward has gone from practice squad player to being a leader in a wide receiver room that includes three draft picks, an undrafted rookie and a second-year draft pick. 

Ward, 25, is technically in Year 4 of his NFL career but he didn’t get a chance to play until the 2019 season and even then he didn’t play until November. 

Ward finished last season with 28 catches for 254 yards and a game-winning touchdown in a huge contest against Washington. 

Maybe Ward will never become a star player in the NFL, but he’s sure-handed, dependable and earned the trust of his quarterback and coaching staff last season. 

If you look at the Eagles’ group of receivers, Ward is probably the top candidate to win the slot job. DeSean Jackson is going to be the starting Z receiver and at the X the Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Rookie 1st-round pick Jalen Reagor is learning both outside spots. 

Eventually, could Reagor play in the slot? Absolutely. In fact, I’d love to see him in there because he’d bring an explosiveness to the position that Ward probably can’t offer. 

But Ward is going to play a lot in 2020. He’s going to have a chance to become more than a great story. 

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