Eagles

A traveler's guide for Eagles' 2019 road schedule

A traveler's guide for Eagles' 2019 road schedule

There’s no San Francisco on the schedule. No Seattle. No Denver, Phoenix or London.

From a traveler’s perspective, this is not a great schedule.

That doesn’t mean Philadelphians won’t pack airplanes and hotels once again to see their favorite team on the road.

So book those flights to Green Bay, Buffalo and Minneapolis and hope it doesn’t snow!

With the NFL schedule out Wednesday (see Eagles' full schedule), here’s a look what awaits you as you travel to one (or more) of the nine cities the Eagles travel to this coming season.

Week 2 — Atlanta, Sunday, Sept. 15, 8:20 p.m.

Why you should go

Not only a modern cosmopolitan city but one that played a major role in the Civil War and also the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

3 places to visit

1. World of Coca-Cola, 2. Georgia Aquarium, 3. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site 

Travel tip

Atlanta’s MARTA rail system easily connects the airport with downtown and the touristy Buckhead area north of the city.

For more Information, click here.

Week 4 — Green Bay, Thursday, Sept. 26, 8:20 p.m.

Why you should go 

This small community of barely 100,000 is a unique and historic NFL destination.

3 places to visit

1. Lambeau Field, 2. The Outagamie County Historical Society in nearby Appleton, 3. National Railroad Museum in neighboring Ashwaubenon (Most of Lambeau’s parking lots are located in Ashwaubenon).

Travel tip 

Lambeau Stadium is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and the roads can get incredibly congested. If you’re going, leave earlier than you’ve ever left for a sports event.

For more information, click here.

Week 6 — Minnesota, Sunday, Oct. 13, 1 p.m.

Why you should go 

Because who doesn’t want to visit the site of the greatest moment in recent Eagles history.

3 places to visit 

1. Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2. Minnehaha Regional Park (if the waterfall isn’t frozen), 3. Mall of America

Travel tip

You will get lost in the Mall of America. I promise. The place is ridiculously huge. The mall, the world’s largest, has kiosks throughout all the concourses where you can actually print out step-by-step directions to whatever store, restaurant or parking lot you’re looking for. If you don’t use the kiosks, you won’t find your way out, and you’ll be stuck for the rest of your life in a giant mall.

For more information, click here.

Week 7 — Dallas, Sunday, Oct. 20, 8:20 p.m.

Why you should go

Because other than being the home of the Cowboys, Dallas is actually a pretty great city.

3 places to visit 

1. Dealey Plaza Museum, 2. Dallas Museum of Art, 3. Texas Discovery Gardens

Travel tip 

The Dallas Metro area is massive. From Mesquite on the east side to Fort Worth on the west side can easily take an hour and a half with no traffic. Always allow plenty of time to get where you’re going.

For more information, click here.

Week 8 — Buffalo, Sunday, Oct. 27, 1 p.m.

Why you should go 

Honestly? You shouldn’t go. But if you really have your heart set on visiting Buffalo, more power to you!

3 places to visit 

1. Niagara Falls, 2. Waterfront/HarborCenter area, 3. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.

Travel tip 

If you don’t want to fly, you can make the drive — weather permitting — from downtown Philly to Buffalo in about 6½ hours. 

For more information, click here.

Week 13 — Miami, Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m.

Why you should go 

Because in a season in which the Eagles visit Buffalo, Green Bay and Minneapolis, Miami should be somewhat warm when the Eagles get there.

3 places to visit 

1. South Beach, 2. Miami Beach, 3. Everglades National Park.

Travel tip 

Before you book your flight, look into Fort Lauderdale Airport as well as Miami Airport. It’s smaller, nicer, easier to navigate and closer to Hard Rock Stadium and really not much farther to Miami’s beaches and attractions.

For more information, click here.

Week 15 — Washington, Sunday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m.

Why you should go 

Because it’s got more museums (most of them free) and historical sites than anywhere in the country.

3 places to visit 

1. The Lincoln Memorial, 2. The Washington Monument, 3. The Smithsonian museums.

Travel tip 

Don’t drive. Take the train and use Washington’s expansive Metro system to get around the city and neighboring towns.

For more information, click here.

Week 17 — East Rutherford, Sunday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m.

Why you should go 

Because the Eagles always win. The Eagles are 10-2 against the Giants at the Meadowlands since 2008

3 places to visit 

OK, this is a challenge, but here we go: 1. Outlet shopping across the N.J. Turnpike in Secaucus, 2. Nearby Jersey City is a growing, bustling city, and the large downtown plaza at the end of Christopher Columbus Boulevard — J. Owen Grundy Park — offers incredible views across the river of Manhattan, 3. The Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum in nearby Teterboro.

Travel tip 

If you’re taking the N.J. Turnpike to MetLife Stadium, make sure you stay to the left just past Exit 14 and take the so-called Western Spur north to the stadium area instead of the Eastern Spur, which will take you into Hoboken and the Lincoln Tunnel.

For more information, click here.

Preseason, Game 2 — Jacksonville, Thursday, Aug. 15, 7 p.m.

Why you should go 

It’s Florida, so many of the attractions in Jacksonville are water-related. Beaches, water parks, fishing, cruises, etc. But Jacksonville is also a real hub for art galleries and museums. And it’s only a two-hour drive from Disney World.

3 places to visit 

1. Jacksonville Zoo, 2. Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, 3. Historic Amelia Island

Travel tip 

TIAA Bank Field, where the Eagles played in the 2004 Super Bowl, is in downtown Jacksonville, within easy walking distance of numerous hotels. If you’re only going in for the game, there’s no reason to rent a car.

For more information, click here.

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How Eagles helped Nigel Bradham by cutting him now

How Eagles helped Nigel Bradham by cutting him now

The Eagles formally released linebacker Nigel Bradham on Wednesday, one day after it was initially reported that the team had decided not to exercise his $8 million contract option and a month before they had to.

Bradham’s contract requires the Eagles to decide by the last day of the 2019 league year — in this case March 18 — whether to extend his deal by a year and pay him $8 million in base salary for 2020 or not exercise the option, allowing him to become a free agent.

But by releasing him on Wednesday — a full four weeks before they were required to — the Eagles give Bradham the opportunity to begin talking to teams and potentially negotiating a new contract before the start of free agency, which is also March 18.

Now that he’s no longer the Eagles’ property, he’s an unrestricted free agent a month before all the other linebackers hit the market.

It's a courtesy that gives him a head start on the mid-March free agency frenzy.

The Eagles and Bradham renegotiated his contract in March of 2018, and that renegotiation ran through 2022 but gave the Eagles an escape clause in the form of option years after the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Because there’s no remaining guaranteed money in Bradham’s deal, the cap ramifications are no different if they release him now or formally decline his option next month. 

Bradham will count about $5.3 million in dead money under the Eagles’ 2020 cap, according to Spotrac, instead of the $9 million he would have counted if the Eagles’ kept him.

Bradham, who turns 31 in September, spent four years with the Eagles and started 64 of a possible 70 games, including the postseason.

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NFL trade rumors: Why Stefon Diggs makes sense for the Eagles

NFL trade rumors: Why Stefon Diggs makes sense for the Eagles

On Tuesday night, receiver Stefon Diggs sent the internet into a tizzy when he apparently erased any mention of the Vikings from his Instagram account. 

We’re taking a bit of a leap here (gotta love 2020) but if this is Diggs’ somehow voicing his frustration with the Vikings it wouldn’t be the first time. And it would also basically be a Bat Signal to the other 31 NFL teams: “Come and get me!” 

The Eagles should. 

It’s funny. Before all those rumors began to swirl on Tuesday night, I was on NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Quick Slants and was asked for one potential trade target for the Birds. The name I gave was Diggs. He made sense even before this. While there’s no guarantee the Vikings trade him, it’s worth finding out. 

If you haven’t noticed, the Eagles are in desperate need of help at receiver. It’s why about 85 percent of mock drafts have them taking one in the first round of the draft in a couple months. But any player they pick in the draft is an unknown. Diggs is not. 

There are three big reasons why Diggs should be attractive to the Eagles: 

1. He just turned 26 back in November

The Eagles are committed to getting younger this offseason and getting Diggs now would kind of be like signing a free agent after his rookie deal. The Eagles have been getting older but Diggs would help them get younger. No, he’s not a 21-year-old anymore but he is arguably entering his prime. 

2. Diggs is already one of the best receivers in the NFL

Despite his targets dropping from 149 in 2018 to 94 in 2019 (ostensibly one of the reasons for his displeasure), Diggs still managed to have more receiving yards this past season. Since the 2016 season, Diggs has 313 catches, 3,903 yards and 26 touchdowns. There are just six players in the league with better stats in those four seasons: DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Travis Kelce and Michael Thomas. 

What has been impressive about Diggs is that he’s been successful in different ways. After averaging 10.0 yards per catch in 2018, he averaged 17.9 (a career high) in 2019 and was a tremendous deep threat. Just three players in the NFL had a higher yards-per-catch average in 2019. 

The Eagles certainly saw what he can do. In Week 6 against the Birds, he had his best game of the 2019 season. He caught seven passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. That was the only time this season he was targeted over 10 times in a game. 

3. Diggs is relatively cost-controlled for another four seasons

While trading for Diggs will cost draft equity (we’ll get to that soon), his salary will be cheaper than that of a free agent of the same caliber because he’s already locked up. While multiple teams will out-bid each other for free agents and end up over-paying, Diggs has a contract that runs through the 2023 season and it’s a very reasonable contract. By the end of it, there’s a very good chance he’ll be extremely underpaid. Even though he just signed the five-year extension in the summer of 2018, he’s already just the 13th highest-paid NFL receiver in terms of APY, according to OverTheCap. 

Check out his base salaries for the remainder of the contract: 

2020: $10.9M
2021: $11.4M
2022: $11.4M
2023: $11.4M

No, that’s not exactly cheap like a rookie contract would be but it’s very manageable. And once the new CBA is eventually worked out, those prices will probably look even better. And there are some performance escalators written in, but if Diggs hits them, both sides would be happy. 

So what will it take? 

This is the big question. I think we all agree that Diggs is a good player and the Eagles would love to have him. But what would they have to give up in a trade? 

Well, the Vikings are going to start any negotiation with a first-round pick at minimum. They should. All those reasons I listed above are reasons why they should have teams lining up for Diggs. It’ll be interesting to see just how bad things really are between Diggs and the Vikings, though. There was definitely frustration during the 2019 season but he finished out the year. Is it bad enough that it’s an untenable situation? If so, then the Vikings would lose some leverage. 

If it’s a second-round pick, this is an easier conversation. The real question is whether or not the Eagles would be willing to give up a first-round pick. I kind of doubt they’d be willing to but you can make a real case for it. It’s easy to say the Eagles should just focus on the draft and take one of the many talented options with the 21st pick but there’s no guarantee they’ll hit. In fact, their history picking receivers, especially in the last decade, shouldn’t instill much confidence. They have drafted four Day 1 or Day 2 receivers since 2010: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff. 

None of them ever became what Diggs is right now. And there’s a good chance any player taken at 21 won’t become what he is either. 

Maybe GM Howie Roseman and the Eagles will be worried about Diggs’ fit in the building; after all, he has created enough drama in Minnesota to bring all of this up in the first place. Would that eventually happen here? Hard to say. This isn’t a no-brainer but it’s worth a call or two. 

Pick up the phone, Howie. 

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