Carson Wentz's big plays and historic numbers for Eagles' D

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Carson Wentz's big plays and historic numbers for Eagles' D

In this week's edition of Roob Stats, we look at first-quarter defense, touchdown streaks, 50-yard touchdowns and 50-yard field goals and much more!
First-quarter defense 
• The Eagles have now gone 10 straight games without allowing a first-quarter touchdown. That's their longest such streak since a 13-gamer in 1971.
• In 12 home games under Jim Schwartz, the Eagles have allowed just one first-quarter touchdown … an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass last November.
Fletcher Cox vs. Brandon Graham
• Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham continued to battle for the Eagles' career sack lead among active players, with each recording sacks against the 49ers.
• Graham now leads Cox 33-32 in a crowded field. There are 11 Eagles with between 29½ and 34 sacks. Graham is tied for 10th in Eagles history with William Thomas, and Cox is now tied for 13th with Corey Simon.
• Two more sacks will move Graham past William Fuller (35½) and Dennis Harrison (34). Next for Cox is Kenny Clarke (32½).
Ertz piling up the touchdowns
• Zach Ertz became the first Eagles tight end with a touchdown catch in four straight games since three-time Pro Bowler Charle Young did it over the 1974 and 1975 seasons. Young was actually at the game Sunday, his first trip back to Philadephia in 40 years.
• Only two Eagles tight ends have had more touchdowns in an entire season than the six Zach Ertz already has: Pete Retzlaff had eight in 1964 and 1965 and Brent Celek had eight in 2009.
Big plays from Wentz
• Carson Wentz’s 53-yard TD pass to Alshon Jeffery gave him five TD passes of 50 yards or more this year, which halfway through the season is already fourth-most in Eagles history and tied for fifth-most in NFL history after eight games.

• Nelson Agholor, Torrey Smith, Mack Hollins and Jeffery all have at least one 50-yard TD catch. The last time the Eagles had four guys with a 50-yard TD in the same season was 2006 (Correll Buckhalter, Brian Westbrook, Donte' Stallworth, Reggie Brown and Hank Baskett).
• Wentz has now had a passer rating of 83 or higher in nine straight games, the second-longest streak in Eagles history behind Michael Vick's 11-game streak in 2010.
• Wentz now has 19 touchdown passes and five interceptions halfway through the season. Only one other quarterback in his second year has had 19 or more TDs and five or fewer INTs in a season and that's his backup, Nick Foles (27-2 in 2013).
• Wentz is one of only six QBs in NFL history 24 or younger with 19 touchdowns in the first half of a season. Dan Marino had 24 in 1984, Bobby Layne 20 in 1951 and Derek Carr (2015), Matt Stafford (2011) and Deshaun Watson Wentz did it this year.
Weekly Jake Elliott stats
• Jake Elliott's 51-yard field goal Sunday gave him five 50-yard field goals in his first seven career games. That broke the Eagles record of four 50-yarders in a season set last year by Caleb Sturgis.
• It's also already the third-most 50-yarders in NFL history by a rookie behind Blair Walsh, who made 10 in 2012, and Greg Zuerlein, who made seven, also in 2012.
• Elliott already has the sixth-most 50-yarders in Eagles history, behind only David Akers (15), Sturgis and Tom Dempsey (7) and Paul McFadden and Tony Franklin (6).
Miscellaneous facts and figures
• The Eagles have scored 26 or more points in six straight games, matching third third-longest streak in franchise history. They scored 26 in seven straight games both over the 2003 and 2004 seasons and in 2010.

• Corey Clement’s 5.4 yards per carry average on 10 for 54 is the highest by an undrafted Eagles rookie with at least 10 carries since Vaughn Hebron had a 6.6 average vs. the Cardinals in 1993.

• The Eagles' streak of six straight games rushing for 100 or more yards and allowing fewer than 100 yards is the 12th-longest such streak in NFL history.  

• The Eagles on Sunday scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes of a first half for the first time since 2009, when they did it against the Giants on a 54-yard Donovan McNabb TD pass to DeSean Jackson and — after a Quinton Demps interception — McNabb's 23-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin.

• The Eagles have scored 28 or more points in three straight games despite not scoring a first-quarter touchdown in any of them. It's the first time in franchise history that's happened.

Eagles hoping no-risk, high-reward veteran signings can rekindle past success

Eagles hoping no-risk, high-reward veteran signings can rekindle past success

When you’re in salary cap hell, you have to be creative when building a roster.

And one tactic Howie Roseman used when putting together the Eagles team that begins training camp Thursday is signing a handful of no-risk, high-reward guys.

Players trying to revive their careers. Players trying to reclaim past glory. Players running out of chances.

These are no-risk, high-reward guys. They could become contributors, but if it doesn’t work out? The Eagles can release them before the season with modest or no cap ramifications.

When you’re in salary cap hell, you can’t sign all the free agents you want. So you sign the free agents that you can. And you do that by signing players nobody else wants. Guys with no leverage.

One tool Roseman likes to use is the NFL’s minimum-salary benefit, which gives teams some salary cap relief when they sign veteran players to certain deals.

The minimum-salary benefit can be used only for veterans with at least four years of experience who sign one-year minimum-wage deals with combined bonuses equalling $90,000 or less. 

Here’s a look at four of these no-risk, high-reward players the Eagles added this offseason.

Markus Wheaton

The Eagles signed Wheaton to a one-year deal with a $790,000 base salary (sixth-year minimum) with a $45,000 signing bonus, a $45,000 workout bonus but a cap number of $720,000, thanks to the minimum-salary benefit.

If the Eagles release Wheaton before the season, he would count just $90,000 against the cap, the value of his two bonuses.

Wheaton is only 27 and should be in his prime but has done nearly nothing the last two seasons after two very good years.

In 2014 and 2015, he combined for 97 catches for 1,393 yards, seven touchdowns and a 14.4 average. He had seven catches of 40 yards or more during those two years. Pretty good production.

But the last two years, Wheaton had just seven catches for 102 yards and one TD for the Steelers and Bears.

If he’s healthy and can be even half the player he was in 2014 and 2015, he could really help as a fourth receiver.

Matt Jones

The Eagles signed Jones to a two-year, $1.51 million deal that includes base salaries of $705,000 this year and $805,000 next year with no bonus money, which means no dead cap money if he’s released.

Even though Jones’ deal is not subject to the minimum-salary benefit, his base salaries of $705,000 and $805,000 are minimum wage for a third-year veteran in 2018 and a fourth-year vet in 2019.

Jones was one of the NFL’s best running backs the first half of 2016. Through seven games, he had 460 yards and a 4.6 average with three TDs. In a mid-October win over the Eagles at FedEx Field, he ran for 135 yards, the most rushing yards against the Eagles the last two years.

But he hurt his knee and never got his job back, then was released before last season. He resurfaced with the Colts but had only five carries all year.

Jones is only 25 and is a good enough receiver that he caught 19 passes for 304 yards and a TD as a rookie reserve.

With LeGarrette Blount gone, Jay Ajayi on a pitch count because of chronic knee soreness, Corey Clement’s role still undefined and Darren Sproles likely to be limited on offense at 35 years old, Jones will have a chance to work his way into the mix.

And if it doesn’t work out? No cap hit.

Richard Rodgers

The Eagles signed Rodgers to a one-year, $880,000 contract that includes a $790,000 base salary, a $45,000 signing bonus, a $45,000 workout bonus and a $720,000 cap figure, courtesy of the minimum-salary benefit rule.

If the Eagles release him, he’ll count $245,000 in dead money, the amount of guaranteed money in his one-year deal.

As recently as 2015, Rodgers caught 58 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdowns, which ranked him 12th among all NFL tight ends in catches and fifth in TDs. But he dropped to 30 catches in 2016 and just 12 last year.

Rodgers is only 26 and should be in his prime, but he’s reached only 30 yards twice in his last 31 games.

With Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, the Eagles have a potent 1-2 punch, but if Rodgers can regain his form of 2015, it would give Doug Pederson even more options in a ridiculously talented array of skill players.

LaRoy Reynolds

The Eagles signed Reynolds to a one-year, $880,000 contract that includes a $790,000 base salary, a $90,000 roster bonus and a reduced $720,000 cap figure.

Because there’s nothing guaranteed in his contract, the Eagles would not absorb any dead money under the cap if they release him before the season.

Reynolds, now with his fourth team in four years, has played in 68 games with seven starts. He’s only 27 and is considered an above-average special teamer and adequate depth linebacker.

The Eagles have some big question marks at linebacker, with Paul Worrilow (Reynolds’ former teammate) out for the year, Mychal Kendricks now with the Browns, Nigel Bradham suspended for the opener and Jordan Hicks able to finish one of his first three seasons.

Reynolds will have a chance to work into that mix. If not? No harm done.

More on the Eagles

Eagle Eye: When does a contract negotiation become a problem?

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Eagle Eye: When does a contract negotiation become a problem?

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, John Clark and Barrett Brooks are pumped for the start of training camp. Following MLB Commissioner's comments on Mike Trout's marketability, the guys discuss if it's on the player or the league to market an athlete? The Falcons said they will not give Julio Jones a new contract. At what point does a public contract negotiation become a distraction in the locker room?

1:00 - Guys are excited for the start of training camp.
4:45 - Is it on a player or a league to market an athlete?
11:00 - When does a Julio Jones contract situation become a locker room distraction?
18:00 - When money starts dividing a locker room.

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