NFL considering delaying start of free agency

NFL considering delaying start of free agency

The NFL is considering delaying the start of free agency, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.

Free agency is scheduled to open with the legal tampering period at noon Monday and then the open signing period starting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

But with NFL teams shutting down their facilities, some travel being restricted and other leagues shutting down because of COVID-19, the league understands there are logistical reasons to wait and also it just wouldn’t be a good look for the NFL right now for players to celebrate massive long-term multi-year contracts during such a challenging time.

According to Florio, the league plans to wait until Sunday before making any announcement on free agency. Player voting for the new CBA proposal ends on Saturday, and Florio said the league prefers to wait until that's over.

The NFL delayed free agency until the opening of training camp during the 2011 lockout. That was the free agency period that delivered the Eagles Nnamdi Asomugha, Steve Smith, Cullen Jenkins and the rest of the Dream Team.

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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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Most important Eagles for 2020: Zach Ertz is still a beast

Most important Eagles for 2020: Zach Ertz is still a beast

Over the next four weeks, we’ll be counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season. 

20: Nate Sudfeld 
19. Avonte Maddox
18. Nathan Gerry
17. Dallas Goedert  
16. Derek Barnett
15. Jalen Reagor 
14. Jalen Mills
13. Brandon Brooks
12. Rodney McLeod
11. Javon Hargrave
10. Miles Sanders  
9. Andre Dillard
8. Brandon Graham
7. Zach Ertz 

We got to Dallas Goedert earlier in this countdown at No. 17, but let’s not lose sight of just how good Zach Ertz is. He’s still the better tight end and one of the three best in the entire league. 

Last season, Ertz caught 88 passes for 916 yards, both the second-highest totals of his career and he also added four touchdowns. He’s been to three straight Pro Bowls and has caught 70+ passes for 800+ yards in five straight seasons. 

There are just two players in the NFL who have longer season streaks with 70/800: DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones, who have both done it for six straight seasons. 

The craziest thing is that Ertz has gone 70/800 for five straight seasons and just two other Eagles have ever had 70/800 in two straight seasons: Irving Fryar from 1996-97 and Jordan Matthews in 2015-16. 

So what Ertz is doing isn’t just amazing. He’s putting up all-time great numbers. 

With 65 more catches, he’ll pass Harold Carmichael for first on the Eagles’ all-time receptions list. 

Ertz and Carson Wentz have become close on and off the field and Ertz is his go-to target. Of his 204 catches over the last two seasons, 122 of them have gone for first downs. 

One main reason Ertz has been so important to the Eagles is because they haven’t had consistent play at the receiver position. He’s been the offense’s best and most consistent weapon in the last several seasons. In fact, he’s led the team in receiving for each of the last four years. 

While the Eagles have added some new receivers this offseason, my best guess is that as long as Ertz stays healthy, he’ll lead the team in receptions again in 2020. 

Ertz is 29 now and he’s under contract through the 2021 season, which also happens to be when Goedert’s contract runs out. The Eagles will eventually have a decision to make, but as long as Ertz keeps playing at this high of a level, he’s going to be a key part of the Eagles’ offense. 

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