Eagles

Seeing Sidney Jones this weekend will be glimpse into future

Seeing Sidney Jones this weekend will be glimpse into future

Sidney Jones was a full participant in Thursday’s practice and the second-year cornerback said he will return to action Sunday after missing three games with a hamstring injury. 

That’s good news for the Eagles as they gear up to face the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense, led by future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.

It’ll also give the Eagles a glimpse into their future. 

Because without Ronald Darby (torn ACL) and Jalen Mills (foot), we’re very likely going to see Jones start at outside corner Sunday afternoon. In the first six games of the season, Jones was the team’s nickel corner. But, eventually, the outside is where he’s projected to play long-term. The Eagles are hoping he’ll not only become an outside corner but eventually a star in this league. That’s certainly not out of the question.

After all, the Eagles used a second-round pick on Jones last season despite his torn Achilles because they thought they were getting a first-round pick at a discount. This Sunday, they might start seeing the return on that investment. 

“It’s a big opportunity for me,” Jones said. “Obviously, that’s where I was in college. Nickel, I played there and got some experience in there. If I were to ever play inside again, I’m able to do it. Outside, I can do it. It’s just a great opportunity to be able to do both now.” 

Jones, still just 22, said there’s been a rotation inside and outside during practice this week and the Eagles are bringing him back slowly. Really, he’s just happy to be back. 

After missing most of his rookie season, Jones assumed a big role with the Eagles’ defense this season as the nickel CB. And he felt like he was starting to get into a pretty good rhythm before he suffered his “frustrating” hamstring injury after just eight plays in the Giants game. 

“It’s heartbreaking, but I’m back,” Jones said. “Looking forward to everything going forward now.”

Obviously, this week presents a tough test. Aside from Brees, Jones will have to deal with Michael Thomas, who has quickly blossomed into one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and already has 78 catches through nine games. 

But if Jones is what the Eagles hope he’ll be, he’s going to be their answer to top-flight receivers for years to come. They took a chance on drafting a kid with an Achilles tear in the second round last year because they thought the chance of his returning to form — he was in play for their first-round pick at No. 14 if he didn’t get hurt — was worth the gamble. 

“Expectations are the expectations,” Jones said. “You go out there every day, you fight. You fight to prove yourself, no matter what the expectations are. Top of the roster, bottom of the roster. You’re just expected to compete every day and go out there and fight no matter what. No matter what’s your status.” 

To this point, we have seen just flashes of Jones’ ability. I think he has a really legitimate chance to be a special player. Maybe we’ll get a glimpse of that Sunday.

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Eagles release popular special teamer Chris Maragos

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Eagles release popular special teamer Chris Maragos

Chris Maragos, the popular special teams ace whose career has been derailed by a serious knee injury, was released Friday by the Eagles.

Maragos, 32, played in 47 of 48 games from 2014 through 2016, mainly on special teams but a significant amount at safety in 2015. But he suffered a career-threatening knee injury against the Panthers in Charlotte on Oct. 12, 2017, and hasn’t played since.

Maragos, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks in 2013 in addition to one with the Eagles in 2017, made all the road trips with the Eagles this past season even though he had no chance of playing simply because he was so respected in the locker room and such an effective leader.

“I’m really more of a coach and cheerleader these days than anything else,” he said with a smile before one game this past season.

Maragos went undrafted out of Wisconsin in 2010 and after a season with the 49ers played three years with the Seahawks before signing with the Eagles before the 2014 season.

He was signed through 2019 and will count $250,000 in dead money against the Eagles’ salary cap, which gives the Eagles a $2 million cap savings.

Maragos earned over $10 million in his career, including over $7 million from the Eagles, according to Spotrac. His career earnings high of $2.5 million came in 2016.

Maragos has had two knee operations since originally getting hurt against the Panthers, most recently this past fall. 

Even healthy, Maragos probably wouldn’t have fit in the Eagles’ plans this coming season.

Since re-signing Rodney McLeod to a contract restructure that lowered his 2019 cap figure from $.9 million to $4.84 million, the Eagles have safeties Malcolm Jenkins, McLeod and Tre’ Sullivan under contract, along with Avonte Maddox, who can play either safety or cornerback. 

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Eagles sign Jake Elliott and Rick Lovato to one-year deals

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Eagles sign Jake Elliott and Rick Lovato to one-year deals

The Eagles will have all three of their specialists back for the 2019 season. 

On Friday afternoon, the Eagles announced they signed kicker Jake Elliott and long snapper Rick Lovato to one-year deals that will take them through the next NFL season. 

Both players were set to become exclusive rights free agents, so the Eagles basically controlled their rights. It should have been a no-brainer to bring both back. 

The deals are just one-year contracts similar to what the exclusive rights deals would have been, according to league sources. 

Punter Cameron Johnston was already under contract for the 2019 season, so the trio of specialists will be intact for at least one more year. 

Elliott, 23, joined the Eagles in Week 2 of the 2017 season when Caleb Sturgis was injured. The Eagles signed him off the Bengals’ practice squad; the Bengals had drafted him in the fifth round. With the Eagles, Elliott went on to have a really good rookie season, highlighted by the 61-yard game-winner against the Giants in Week 3. He also hit a 42-yarder and a 46-yarder in Super Bowl LII. 

In both of his first two seasons with the Eagles, Elliott has made 26 of 31 field goal attempts. He is 7 of 11 from 50-plus during his first two NFL seasons. 

Lovato, 26, joined the Eagles in Week 15 of the 2016 season after Jon Dorenbos broke his wrist. The next year, Lovato beat out Dorenbos for the long snapper job. When Lovato was signed during 2016, he had been working at his family’s restaurant in New Jersey. 

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