Eagles

NFL Notes: Ravens OL John Urschel, 26, retires after 3 seasons

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NFL Notes: Ravens OL John Urschel, 26, retires after 3 seasons

OWINGS MILLS, Md.  -- Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel has retired from the NFL after just three seasons.

Urschel, a former fifth round pick from Penn State in 2014, received notoriety for pursuing his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the offseason. He started 13 games over the past three seasons and was expected to compete for a starting role at center or guard. Instead, he will pursue other interests outside of football.

"This morning, John Urschel informed me of his decision to retire from football," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a statement Thursday. "We respect John and respect his decision. We appreciate his efforts over the past three years and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

Vikings: Bridgewater knows return will happen
MANKATO, Minn. -- Minutes after Teddy Bridgewater's left knee dislocated beneath him, the result of one bad step on a routine drop-back during practice nearly a year ago, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback was hustled into an ambulance.

Head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman went with him. Bridgewater's promising NFL career was hanging in the balance. The fate of his leg was, too.

"I'm pretty sure both of us were pretty nervous about that conversation," Bridgewater said in his first media address since the massive injury shook the organization 331 days ago.

"I'm glad everyone reacted in a timely manner and we were able to save my leg, if that's what you want to call it" (see full story).

Steelers: Team hands former Eagle Villanueva 4-year extension
LATROBE, Pa. -- The Pittsburgh Steelers and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva have agreed to a four-year contract that will keep the former Army Ranger protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's blindside for the rest of the decade.

Financial terms of the deal, reached just as the team was reporting to training camp at Saint Vincent College on Thursday, were not disclosed.

Villanueva, an Army graduate who served in Afghanistan, started every game for the defending AFC North champions last season. The 28-year-old joined the team's practice squad in 2014 and made the 53-man roster in 2015.

The contract means Pittsburgh's entire starting offensive line is signed through the 2018 season.

Broncos: RB Booker expected to miss 6 weeks with wrist injury
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Broncos coach Vance Joseph's first training camp got off to a rough start with word that Devontae Booker will undergo wrist surgery Friday and is expected to miss six weeks.

Booker was pushing to unseat C.J. Anderson as Denver's starting running back. He suffered a hairline fracture during organized team activities in June, marring a solid spring for the second-year pro as he bounced back from a rough rookie season that followed two knee surgeries.

The Broncos had been planning to split first-team snaps at training camp between Booker and Anderson, who is returning from a torn meniscus that sidelined him over the last half of last season.

If Booker's recovery goes well, he will be back in time for the season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 11 (see full story).

Bengals: Tearful ‘Pacman’ accepts suspension
CINCINNATI -- Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones accepted his one-game suspension for an offseason misdemeanor conviction, and he got emotional Thursday over the unwavering support he's received from Bengals owner Mike Brown.

Jones is suspended by the NFL for the season opener as a result of his confrontation with a hotel security employee and an obscenity-filled tirade against arresting police officers. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge as part of an agreement, and other charges were dropped.

In his first public comments since the suspension, Jones accepted responsibility.

"I take all accountability for what I did and my actions and my words," Jones said. "So I accept it, the one-game suspension. I'm ready to move on, man" (see full story).

Detailing Jason Peters’ bargain 1-year deal with the Eagles

Detailing Jason Peters’ bargain 1-year deal with the Eagles

The Eagles brought back Jason Peters last month and will start the nine-time Pro Bowl tackle at right guard in the 2020 season, replacing the injured Brandon Brooks. 

Peters, 38, signed a one-year deal to return to the Eagles and now we have all the details on that contract. 

Peters’ one-year deal includes $3 million guaranteed but can be worth up to $6 million, according to a league source. Peters’ salary cap hit in 2020 is $3 million. 

Here’s how his contract breaks down in 2020, according to a source: 

Base salary: $1.8 million 
Signing bonus: $1 million 
Per-game roster bonus: $200,000 total 

In addition to that, his contract also includes $3 million in incentives for playing time, Super Bowl, All-Pro and Pro Bowl in different combinations. Since Peters didn’t accomplish those things last year, all of those are considered to be “Not Likely To Be Earned” incentives, which is why they don’t count against the cap. 

Getting Peters at a $3 million cap hit is a bargain. His renegotiated one-year contract in 2019 came with a base salary of $3.5 million and a cap hit of $8.67 million. His $3 million cap hit in 2020 is his lowest cap hit since the 2007 season, his fourth year in the NFL, when he was still with the Bills. According to OverTheCap, there are 18 right guards around the league with higher cap hits in 2020. 

With Peters’ cap number known and after removing Marquise Goodwin — Goodwin opted out of the 2020 season — to replace him with the 52nd highest paid player (the top 51 count for cap purposes), the Eagles have $23,804,112 in cap space for the 2020 season. 

But before you get visions of Jadeveon Clowney or another high-priced free agent still available, you have to remember that the Eagles probably need to carry this cap amount into next season. 

Last week, when I looked at the 2021 cap situation, I estimated by carrying over $23 million and it looks like I was pretty close. Even with carrying over that much, the Eagles are still nearly $60 million over the salary cap if it hits the floor of $175 million in 2021. It could be higher, but that’s the floor based on the expected revenue drop this season. 

So the Eagles will need to carry over all (or at least most) of their cap space in 2020 into 2021. Getting Peters for a bargain this season will only help. 

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Rodney McLeod on Eagles secondary: ‘It’s time to live up to that standard’

Rodney McLeod on Eagles secondary: ‘It’s time to live up to that standard’

“The Eagles’ secondary __________”

You can fill in the blank with whatever word you want, but you get the idea. The Eagles’ secondary has struggled the last two years, and Rodney McLeod has had enough.

Time to do something about it.

Part of it is pass rush, part of it is situational, but over the last two years, the Eagles’ secondary has allowed the 5th-most passing yards in the NFL and the 2nd most passing TDs of 40 yards or more and has the 5th-fewest interceptions.

Enter new secondary coach Marquand Manuel. Enter all-pro cornerback Darius Slay. Enter Nickell Robey-Coleman in the slot. Enter Jalen Mills at safety. Enter Will Parks and K’Von Wallace. Good-bye Malcolm Jenkins and presumably a few other familiar faces.

It’s time for this secondary to be a strength of the Eagles. Not a weakness.

As a secondary, I felt that we were a little bit disrespected at times and I think now it’s time to live up to that standard,” McLeod said Thursday. “A standard that’s been set with people that played way before us. The Brian Dawkins of the world. The Troy Vincents. Malcolm (Jenkins). I think when you think of guys who have put on the jersey before us, we owe them that. And so we want to get back to the secondary taking over this defense and winning the game and putting the game on our back, and that’s the standard 'M' (Manuel) is holding us to as well as the players in this room.

The Eagles were 29th in pass defense in 2018 and 19th last year. A lot of that was injuries. But a lot wasn’t.

A lot was just a unit that needed to be overhauled.

The Eagles haven’t had a top-10 pass defense since – believe it or not – 2012, when the 4-12 team was ranked 9th.  Mainly because everybody was always up big against them and just ran the ball.

Their last top-5 pass defense was the 2008 unit, with the late Jim Johnson’s last year as defensive coordinator and current Bills head coach Sean McDermott as secondary coach.

Manuel replaces Corey Undlin, now the Lions’ defensive coordinator.

McLeod said Manuel is already emphasizing to his group that it’s time for the Eagles’ secondary to get back to playing like the Eagles’ secondary of old.

“I think people respect him because he’s played the game, because of his passion and because of the way he coaches this group,” McLeod said. “And because the expectations that he has for us. It’s a very high standard. He’s coached a lot of good secondaries and we want to be another group to be respected in this league and treated as such. He’s going to fit perfectly. We’re going to be good.”

This is the first time since 2013 that Jenkins won’t be lining up at safety for the Eagles, but it’s also the first time they have a Pro Bowl cornerback in his prime on the field since Asante Samuel in 2011.

A lot of newcomers, a lot of change. And McLeod is determined to put out a product on the field that fans can appreciate and opposing players will respect.

It’s been a while.

“It’s a talented group,” he said. “It’s a room full of depth and talented individuals and hungry guys too, willing to compete, and that’s what we have to do. We have to create that culture and bring out the best in all of us in order to be the best.

“We’re all professionals and guys are committed and that’s what you need in order to win. For this season, it’s all about who is able to eliminate distractions and adapt and sacrifice. Both in and out of this building. That’s what it’s going to take.”

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