Eagles

Eagles

In the 11th of our 12-part offseason series examining the future of the Eagles, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro give their opinions on who will be and who won't be on the roster in 2017. We go alphabetically — part 11 is Tulloch to Walker.

Stephen Tulloch
Unrestricted free agent

Roob: Tulloch is a free agent, and I’d be shocked if he’s back. Tulloch played just 69 snaps on defense last year and 39 of them were the first four weeks of the season. After that he averaged about 2 ½ snaps per game. Tulloch provides veteran leadership but you want your backup linebackers to be young, fast, athletic studs who can run around and make plays on special teams. Tulloch doesn’t play special teams and that’s a luxury the Eagles can’t afford.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz clearly has a ton of respect for Tulloch, but that shouldn’t get him another year with the Eagles. He was the backup linebacker in 2016, but didn’t play much because of Jordan Hicks’ health and he doesn’t contribute anything on special teams. The 32-year-old wouldn’t have even been signed last year had Joe Walker not gotten hurt. 

Verdict: GOES

Paul Turner
Cap hit: $540K

Roob: When I say the Eagles need to totally overhaul the wide receiver spot I meant they need to totally overhaul the wide receiver spot. Turner is a nice story and I get why everybody was rooting for him last year and he had a couple nice catches against the Bengals, but let’s be honest. If the Eagles are going to build a receiving crew that can help this team compete for a championship, Paul Turner isn’t going to be part of it. The Eagles need big-time playmakers at wideout, not projects or experiments or undrafted guys who make great feature stories. Turner isn’t the guy.

 

Verdict: GOES

Dave: Turner deserved a chance to play more in 2016 and didn’t get it. I know he might not be that athletic or even talented, but he catches the ball when it comes to him, which is a lot more than some of the other receivers have going for them. The Eagles are going to upgrade this position one way or the other and that will probably mean bad things for Turner. 

Verdict: GOES

Destiny Vaeao
Cap hit: $542K

Roob: Vaeao played a lot more than anticipated this year as an undrafted rookie, logging 268 snaps, or about 17 per game. He wasn’t great, wasn’t awful. Probably a little more productive overall than you’d expect from an undrafted rookie. Where he fits in movig forward depends on what direction the Eagles go this offseason and what happens with Bennie Logan. I don’t think Vaeao will ever be more than a backup, but he showed this year that he can handle being a rotation fill-in. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Not a bad rookie campaign for the undrafted rookie out of Washington State who had two sacks in limited snaps. He actually ended up being a decent rotational player and moved ahead of Taylor Hart on the depth chart. He’s cheap and should be back next year. 

Verdict: STAYS

Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Cap hit: $596K

Roob: Vaitai overcame a shaky first game against the Redskins and really put together some solid tape before injuries ended his season prematurely. Where does he fit in? Too early to say. He could conceivably move in at right tackle when Jason Peters finally retires or moves on and Lane Johnson – presuming he’s not serving another suspension – swings out to left tackle. Or could be that he’s just earmarked to be a back-up tackle for the next eight years. But either way, Vaitai showed enough to show that he belongs here in some role.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Had Lane Johnson not been suspended, Vaitai probably would have spent his rookie season on the bench. Instead, the fifth-round pick was thrown into the fire and nearly melted. But he was able to withstand a terrible first game and proved to himself and the team that he belongs in the league. With him and Isaac Seumalo, the Eagles drafted two linemen who can grow in Philly. 

 

Verdict: STAYS

Joe Walker
Cap hit: $555K

Roob: A darkhorse, but one that I think has a shot. Joined the Eagles as a seventh-round draft pick out of Oregon of all places last year and spent the year on injured reserve with a torn ACL suffered in the Steelers preseason game. Walker played well before he got hurt, has some size, seems to be very good against the run. Walker is one of those guys who probably won’t ever be a starter, but considering the Eagles’ lack of depth at linebacker, has a chance to not just make the team in the summer, but stick around as a backup linebacker and a special teamer. He’s a longshot but I say he stays.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: It’s a shame Walker ruptured his ACL last preseason because the seventh-rounder had a really good training camp and was going to be the team’s backup and play a role on special teams. He’s been in Philly as he heals from the ACL injury and will spend the offseason here. If he can recover fully, he should be able to compete for that role again. 

Verdict: STAYS