Eagles

Roob's Random Points, Part 1: Wentz's historic start, incredible run defense, Philadelphia A's

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AP Images

Roob's Random Points, Part 1: Wentz's historic start, incredible run defense, Philadelphia A's

A little Mack Hollins, a little Robbie Robertson, a little Philadelphia Athletics, a little Donnie Jones and a little crosswalk etiquette.

Put it together and you're on your way to Part 1 of this week's 25 Random Points!

Here are the first 12½ random points ... 12½ more coming soon!

1. Carson Wentz isn't just having one of the best seasons of any quarterback this year. He's having one of the best seasons a quarterback has ever had. He's on pace for 39 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The only QBs who've ever had 39 TDs and single-digit interceptions in a season are Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. This is historic stuff!

2. Crazy that there's a former Eagles running back who went to Pitt who's having a terrific year for an AFC East team, but it isn't LeSean McCoy. Shady is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry for the Bills, but Dion Lewis — who replaced Shady at Pitt and was drafted by the Eagles in the fifth round in 2011 — is averaging 5.3 yards per carry for the Patriots.  

3. Most of the run defense numbers the Eagles are putting up are insane, but the one that amazes me the most is that opposing teams have run the ball only 123 times all year against the Eagles. That's 17.6 attempts per game, and that's the second-lowest figure ever against any NFL team through seven games! The only lower figure was against the 1991 Saints (119 carries through seven games). The Eagles have been so dominating against the run, opposing teams aren't even trying to run the football! And Kareem Hunt remains the only opposing running back to reach even 40 yards against the Eagles this year. That's crazy! 

4. I'm going to say it right now: Eagles-Rams at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 10 will be for No. 1 seed in the NFC. And I ain't picking against the Eagles!

5. Interesting that the Eagles are playing the Redskins and 49ers back-to-back. When that happened in 1989, it produced two of the greatest fourth-quarter finishes in NFL history. In the first game, the Eagles trailed the Redskins, 30-14, at halftime at RFK Stadium, then outscored the Redskins, 28-7, in the second half to win, 42-37. A week later at the Vet, the Eagles led the 49ers, 21-10, early in the fourth quarter before Joe Montana threw four touchdown passes in the final 13½ minutes to give the Niners a 38-28 win. Two of the most historic comebacks the Eagles were ever involved in, and they happened seven days apart! 

6. Speaking of those two games, the Eagles are the only team in NFL history to be involved in consecutive games in which the home team led by eight or more points going into the fourth quarter, then allowed 21 or more fourth-quarter points and lost. In fact, after being involved in two such games in eight days, they've been in only two more in the last 28 years — a 40-26 win over the 49ers at Candlestick in 2008 after trailing, 26-17, after the third quarter, and the 38-31 win over the Giants at MetLife Stadium in 2010 after trailing, 24-10, going into the fourth quarter — the DeSean punt return game!

7. I feel like it's only a matter of time before Mack Hollins is getting more targets than Torrey Smith.

8. One of my favorite stats ever was courtesy of baseball stats guru Jayson Stark: Before Wednesday night, there had been 17 extra-inning home runs in the 115-year history of the World Series. Then there were five in 42 minutes.

9. I find it absurd that the Athletics have won more championships than any major professional sports team in Philadelphia history.

10. If you are crossing the street or walking across a parking lot or crossing anywhere I’m driving, I will always stop and let you go by. Every single time. But you better show some hustle! Even if it's just a courtesy jog, you gotta give me something!

11. I find this fascinating: Three of the Band's most beloved songs are The Weight, I Shall Be Released and It Makes no Difference, and each was sung by a different band member — and none were sung by Robbie Robertson! Richard Manuel sang I Shall Be Released, Rick Danko sang It Makes no Difference, and Levon Helm sang The Weight (except the fourth verse, sung by Danko). A truly unique band.

12. Donnie Jones is so underrated.

12½. It blows my mind that four of the seven QBs in NFL history with four touchdown passes and 60 rushing yards in a game were Eagles, yet none of them were Donovan McNabb! On Monday night, Wentz joined Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham and Bobby Hoying in that elite group, along with Rodgers, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III. Bobby Hoying? Really???

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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USA Today Images

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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