Eagles

One final look at how former Eagles fared in AAF

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One final look at how former Eagles fared in AAF

It really is a shame the Alliance of American Football won’t even make it through its first season. It’s a shame things were mismanaged to the point that they couldn’t even make it through one rotation. 

Really, it’s just a huge shame for the players, who reportedly had to pay for their own plane trips home and away from the failed venture. 

Because there’s enough talent out there for a developmental league, but perhaps without direct affiliation with the NFL, one will never survive. I was rooting for the AAF to succeed. You have to remember, every NFL team cuts its roster from 90 to 53 players before every season. That’s 1,184 talented football players without jobs. Sure, some go to practice squads, some go to Canada. But having a developmental league here in the United States was such an intriguing possibility. Maybe the XFL will have more success in its second go, but it’s hard to be optimistic. 

I get the flaws. There aren’t enough good quarterbacks to fill NFL rosters and without top tier QB (and OL) play, the product suffers. If you were going to watch the AAF — or if you did — you needed to temper your expectations. 

I just really feel for the players. This was supposed to be a chance at development for a lot of young guys. Think about how long it takes some players to grow. If Nelson Agholor or Brandon Graham weren’t first-round picks, would they have ever been given the chance to properly develop? And then there are guys who change position. Greg Ward Jr., a former college QB, is still learning the WR position. A guy like that, one who wants to make a massive change in positions, could really benefit from a chance to hone their craft. Now, those guys won’t get those chances, at least not in this league. 

Maybe some NFL teams will sign a few of the standout players in this league, but for many of them, they’ll just be without jobs playing football. Several of those players include former Eagles. 

Since the AAF’s one and only season is now abruptly over, here’s a final look at how former Eagles players fared: 

WR Greg Ward Jr. (San Antonio Commanders): The former Houston QB caught 22 passes for 214 yards (9.7). I couldn’t find punt return stats, but he returned at least one for a TD. 

WR Josh Huff (Arizona Hotshots): The former Eagles’ third-round pick caught 11 passes for 163 yards (14.8). 

CB De’Vante Bausby (San Antonio Commanders): Last spring, Bausby was lining up as the Eagles’ starting nickel corner, then he didn’t make the team. In the AAF, he led the league with four INTs. 

DL Winston Craig (San Antonio Commanders): The former training camp body had 2 1/2 sacks after a really quick start. 

CB Ron Brooks (San Diego Fleet): Once the Eagles’ starting nickel corner, Brooks suffered a devastating injury in 2016 and hasn’t played in the NFL since. He had 13 tackles and one interception in the AAF. 

DL Danny Ezechukwu (San Antonio Commanders): Ezechukwu, who was with the Eagles last training camp, had 14 solo tackles. 

TE Anthony Denham (Salt Lake Stallions): He never played in a regular season game with the Eagles, but he was on the 53-man roster. He caught 18 passes for 179 yards (9.9) and a TD. 

WR Freddie Martino (Arizona Hotshots): Martino, once a training camp standout and practice squader in Philly, caught 11 passes for 126 yards (11.5). 

CB C.J. Smith (Salt Lake Stallions): Carson Wentz’s teammate at NDSU, Smith had 23 tackles and 1 INT. 

CB Dexter McDougle (Arizona Hotshots): It’s hard to believe McDougle was basically a starter for a brief moment in 2018, but he struggled mightily. In the AAF, he had 13 tackles and an interception. 

S Ed Reynolds (Atlanta Legends): A former fifth-round pick by the Eagles, Reynolds was fifth in the league in tackles with 35 and added a sack. 

DB Jerome Couplin III: Once a fan favorite in Philly, Couplin had 27 tackles, all solo. 

QB Aaron Murray (Atlanta Legends): Murray completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,048 yards with 3 touchdowns and 7 INTs. He was seventh in the league in passing yards. 

QB Christian Hackenberg (Memphis Express): The career of Hackenberg is still in disarray. He completed just 51 percent of his passes for 283 yards, 0 TDs and 3 INTs. 

LB Quentin Gause (Memphis Express): The linebacker from Buffalo had three tackles. 

RB Terrell Watson (San Diego Fleet): Watson, who scored the final touchdown of the Eagles’ 2016 season, carried the ball 63 times for 271 yards (4.3) and 2 TDs. 

WR Seantavius Jones (Atlanta Legends): He’s the most famous Seantavious in Eagles history, although he never played in a game and was with the team for just a couple months in the offseason. He caught 24 passes for 298 yards (12.4). 

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Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Another week, another starting wide receiver changing teams - and the Eagles still remain on the sidelines.

The Rams traded Brandin Cooks and a future fourth-round pick to the Texans on Thursday for the No. 57 pick in this month's NFL Draft, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Cooks, 26, is headed to his fourth team since being drafted by the Saints in 2014, and his third team since 2017.

The Texans' move, of course, comes a little more than three weeks after Houston traded DeAndre Hopkins, a superior wide receiver, to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for basically a second-round pick and running back David Johnson.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman implied in late March that the Eagles were involved in the Hopkins discussions, but couldn't - or didn't want to - match the Cardinals' offer. It was an interesting argument, considering the Birds' absolutely dire need for wide receiver help, but Roseman isn't one to overpay when he draws a line in the sand. 

It's unclear whether the Eagles were in the mix for Cooks, a player who they've been linked to in previous trade talks.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro broke down the pros and cons of a potential Cooks-to-Eagles deal, and concluded that while Roseman should've at least been talking to the Rams about Cooks, trading a second-round pick for a player with concussion history who isn't getting any younger wouldn't be a smart use of capital:

Should they trade away the No. 53 pick for him? No way! Especially not in a draft that’s this deep at receiver. And not for a high-priced player coming off his worst NFL season and who might be one concussion away from the end of his career.

The fact that the Texans' Bill O'Brien, not exactly one of football's most revered decision-makers at the moment, traded the No. 57 pick for Cooks tells that Dave was on the money.

Of course, this leaves the Eagles with one fewer way to fix their wide receiver woes. They are clearly eyeing the draft, where a historically deep wide receiver class should net at least one contributor.

Will it be in the first round? Players like Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs seem like game-changers, but they might not be available without the Eagles trading up. If they don't, guys like Brandon Aiyuk could be available with the second-round pick Roseman just decided to not trade.

And if they wait past the first wave of top-tier wideout talent, there are plenty of names to watch in the later rounds.

One thing's for certain: things are starting to heat up, and that's normally when Roseman starts making moves.

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Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

“There’s a whole lot left. That’s all I can tell you. You haven’t seen nothing yet," Sidney Jones said Thursday afternoon in an interview. 

Jones is going into his third real season in the NFL. He has gone through injuries. He’s been a healthy scratch.

Howie Roseman said, “It’s time for him to prove it," and Jones agrees.

“Adversity builds character," he said. "I feel like I have weathered the storm. I am ready to show what I can do and prove it."

Jones is working out in Texas with noted defensive backs trainer Ronnie Braxton. They are working on physical and mental techniques. I asked Jones if his confidence has been affected through his ups and downs.

“It probably could have," he said. "I’m not going to lie. But you’ve got to keep pushing through it and that’s where I’m at right now, working with everybody in my circle that’s getting me back right." 

Jones is also working with veteran cornerback Chris Harris, who was just named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team. Jones wishes Harris would’ve signed with the Eagles, but Harris chose the Chargers in free agency. 

“Just to be around guys like that and to watch him and watch his moves and see how they go about their business, I can just follow him and pick up tips," Jones said.

Jones is thrilled the Eagles traded for his “boy” Darius Slay. Jones says having Slay with the cornerback will help him, and he says the two have a similar body type.

“Veteran leadership," he said. "He’s been around the game and has experience. I think it’s going to be really good for us."

Jones said the Eagles did not say anything to him after they traded for Slay. The word is Jones and Avonte Maddox will compete for the other outside cornerback spot, and Jones is ready to compete. 

“I am ready," he said. "I don’t think anybody is working as hard as me right now”

How motivated is he?

“I can’t even describe," he said. "It’s not even on the radar. It’s 1,000 times above that. I’m excited, man.”

Jones and his fiancée donated $25,000 to The Philly Pledge, following Rodney McLeod’s lead. Jones wants to help people in Philly, and wants to stay in Philly.  

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