bryan braman

Eagles Stay or Go — De'Vante Bausby to Brandon Brooks

USA Today Images/AP Images

Eagles Stay or Go — De'Vante Bausby to Brandon Brooks

In the second part of our 12-part offseason series examining the future of the world champion Eagles, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro try to figure out who will be on the roster in 2018.

We go alphabetically. Part 1 was Nelson Agholor to Derek Barnett. Today is De'Vante Bausby to Brandon Brooks. 

De'Vante Bausby
Roob: The Eagles liked Bausby enough to keep the 25-year-old cornerback on the practice squad all year. What does that mean for the former undrafted free agent from Pitt (Pittsburg State in Kansas)? Probably nothing. The Eagles are loaded with young corners. Between Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones, they have four corners 24 or younger to build around. Bausby has logged some regular-season playing time with the Bears, but if he hopes to ever really compete for a roster spot on a team's 53-man roster, he's in the wrong place, because it won't happen here.

Verdict: GOES 

Dave: The Eagles added the young cornerback to their practice squad the week before the Chiefs game in Week 2. At the time, it looked like they simply added him because Bausby had previously been with the Chiefs. He heard plenty of that early on during his time with the team, but then he lasted the rest of the season on the practice squad and was re-signed after the year ended. He was good enough to stick around, but the Eagles have plenty of depth at corner to keep him off the roster. 

Verdict: GOES

Will Beatty
Roob: Beatty joined the Eagles halfway through the season as an emergency backup offensive tackle, but with Doug Pederson making it clear that he expects Jason Peters back at left tackle next year, that means Halapoulivaati Vaitai would be the leading backup tackle. I would expect the Eagles would draft a tackle at some point, and that guy could be the fourth tackle. Beatty has had a nice career and now has two Super Bowl rings, but it's hard to imagine that he has any kind of future with the Eagles.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: There's a reason Beatty was on the street until the Eagles called in November. The Birds probably need to upgrade at their backup tackle spots and Beatty is past his prime and shouldn't be the answer. He helped the scout team down the stretch and worked hard to help the Eagles get a Super Bowl ring, but it's time to move on. 

Verdict: GOES

LeGarrette Blount
Roob: This is a tough one because Blount meant so much to this team, both with his unflinchingly unselfish attitude in the locker room and his big-time production on the field. How do you cut ties with a guy who was 14-for-90 rushing with a touchdown in a Super Bowl? But that's the reality the Eagles are facing. Blount is 31 and a free agent. Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement are the future at running back. And as mighty as Blount was in the Super Bowl, he did average 3.5 yards per carry or worse in eight of the last 13 games. Blount is a fun guy to be around and a tremendous natural leader. He played his heart out for this team. It'll be tough to see him go, but I think we'll have to.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: Blount is a 31-year-old unrestricted free agent running back and it wouldn't be crazy to bring him back. After all, Blount shouldn't be very expensive and he was able to combine with Clement and Ajayi to form a pretty dynamic running back group. But Ajayi is going to get an offseason with the Eagles and he's going to take over more of the offense. The Eagles will have a decision to make with both Blount and Sproles hitting free agency. This is a pretty tough one, actually. 

Verdict: GOES 

Nigel Bradham
Roob: The Eagles have several valuable free agents you'd like to have back, but nobody is as important as Bradham, who had a very good year in his second season with the Eagles. The Eagles have depth at running back, tight end, and cornerback, where their most prominent free agents play, but they have very little at linebacker. Especially with Jordan Hicks missing half of two of his three NFL seasons, the Eagles must find a way to sign Bradham.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Bradham is an unrestricted free agent and should be the Eagles' top priority this offseason. It flew a little under the radar, but Bradham's 2017 was a huge reason for the Eagles' successful run to the Super Bowl. After Hicks went down, the Eagles relied on Bradham to make the defensive calls like a MIKE. He and Mychal Kendricks ended up being huge keys to the season. He's still just 28 and it'll be interesting to see how much he'll demand. Either way, the Eagles have to try to bring him back, especially as Hicks recovers from his Achilles tear. And you better believe Jim Schwartz will make his case for keeping a guy who has played for him more than anyone on the team. 

Verdict: STAYS

Bryan Braman
Roob: The Eagles brought Braman in late in the season after injuries took such a toll on special teams, and the former high school javelin star got himself a Super Bowl ring for his six games of work. But there's a reason Braman wasn't on a roster the first few months of the season. He's 30 years old now, turns 31 in May, and special teams is a young man's game. And Braman really doesn't have a position, although he's listed on the roster as a linebacker. It's tough for teams to really invest in a 31-year-old special teams specialist.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: After they brought him back in December, Braman did provide a certain spark to the Eagles' special teams group. But he's 30 now and doesn't give anything on defense. He carved out a nice career in the NFL as a special teams ace, but it seems like his time might be over, especially now that the Eagles have other key special teamers like Kamu Grugier-Hill. 

Verdict: GOES

Brandon Brooks
Roob: Like so many guys on the Eagles, Brooks left a challenge-filled 2016 season in his wake and enjoyed tremendous success in 2017. He played all 16 games, he successfully dealt — in a very public and constructive way — with the anxiety that had been plagued him on and off the field, he made his first Pro Bowl and was an absolute wrecking machine at right guard, especially in the postseason. Brooks is signed for three more years. He's not going anywhere.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: This season, Brooks finally fulfilled his potential and became one of the most dominant offensive guards in the league. More importantly, he bravely put his issues with anxiety in the rearview. Brooks started every game for the Eagles this season and was their most consistent offensive lineman. He also made his first Pro Bowl team in 2017 and it shouldn't be his last. He's under contract for three more seasons. 

Verdict: STAYS

Super Bowl win would be extra special to these 4 Eagles

USA Today Images/AP Images

Super Bowl win would be extra special to these 4 Eagles

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- At one point this season, Dannell Ellerbe, Kenjon Barner, Will Beatty and Bryan Braman were all free agents on the street.

Now they're in the Super Bowl.

All three — from the different times they've joined or rejoined the team — have helped them get to this point. And there's a decent chance all four will be able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night. It's been a crazy few months.

"It has [been crazy]," Braman said. "I feel like it's just all a part of the job. But this was the first time I've experienced this situation. But it's pretty special, man. It's kind of how they say the thing can go. One minute you can be jobless, the next minute you're playing in the Super Bowl.

Braman, 30, is a career special teams player. This week, he admitted it was tough for him to watch most of the 2017 season until he was signed on Dec. 12. As the season went on, he couldn't help but think about his future as the situation became more and more stressful.

Barner has a much different story. The running back was released on Sept. 2, but on the very next day, he went to Lake Havasu in Arizona to go wakeboarding and wakesurfing. He obviously wanted to be back in the NFL, but the 28-year-old was strangely at peace.

"Everybody was asking me, 'how are you at ease?'" Barner recalled. "'How are you doing what you're doing? You should be upset.' About what? Something I can't control? I'm not going to sit here and worry about anything I can't control. Me having faith, that's what made it so peaceful."

Twenty-four days later, the Eagles placed Darren Sproles on injured reserve and Barner's phone rang. He's been their return man ever since.

Ellerbe, 32, was pretty calm as well. He played just last season, so he patiently waited for the right call to come in. According to Ellerbe, other teams were interested in him, but he waited until he found the right situation. That came with the Eagles on Nov. 13.

Since then, the former Super Bowl champion has gone from a backup to the team's starting middle linebacker in its base package.

"It's definitely a blessing," Ellerbe said. "I knew the call was going to come. ... I never once got discouraged because I didn't go through a whole season without getting picked up. I knew I was eventually going to get picked up."

Just one day after the team added Ellerbe, it brought in depth on the offensive line in Beatty. Another former Super Bowl champ, Beatty joined the team and has been trying to make the most of his second chance.

A former second-round pick, many think Beatty never lived up to his potential with the Giants. Since joining the Eagles, he's been working with the team's scout team and tries to give the team's defensive ends the best possible work he can in practice. He takes pride in knowing he's elevating their play.

While he didn't boast confidence like Ellerbe, he tried to not let his time without a team wear on him.

"You never know what the future's going to hold," he said. "You have to make sure you're mentally strong. ... When I had time to sit and wait to see where I'm going to go, I had a lot of time for reflection. Ever since I got with this team, I'm like 'how can I let this team know I'm thankful for the opportunity? Thankful for the second chance and for what they saw in me.' Whatever you saw in me, it was only a glimpse of what I can do. Show them I can do more. How can I help this team each and every week?"

The group of players watched plenty of the Eagles from afar, so when they joined the team, they thought there was a decent chance they might end up in Minnesota in February for the Super Bowl.

"That's always the hope," Beatty said. "That's always the dream, that you're playing in this game on the big stage. You're working every week to be in the playoffs. I had that opportunity to experience that but I didn't take full advantage of that moment. I want to make sure that I'm living in the moment now, I'm embracing the moment."

Pair of Eagles special teamers find redemption

AP Images

Pair of Eagles special teamers find redemption

Bryan Braman didn't hang his head and he didn't try to force anything. He was just hoping he'd get a chance for redemption.

He did.

After Braman dove and touched a live ball on the previous punt in the second quarter Saturday, allowing the Falcons to punch in their only touchdown of the divisional round playoff game, Braman was back on the field for another punt.

This time, he broke through the line and got his outstretched hand on the football, forcing a 22-yard punt.

"Considering I was looked at as the reason we turned it over down there low in the red zone, it was big for me," Braman said after the Eagles' 15-10 win. "I was able to keep my head in the game and turn it around after what happened earlier in the game.

"It led to three points before we went into the half. It was definitely important for us to take advantage of everything we can. Whether it was just a couple yards from the tip, it changed the flight of the ball and caused it to not travel as far as we could."

After Braman was initially called for running into the kicker, he began telling the officials he tipped the ball, which would negate the penalty. The video replay showed he was right.

The veteran special teamer made up for his earlier blunder and he did it without forcing it.

"I couldn't think too much about having to make up for it," he said. "I just had to let it go and continue to do my job. There are some things you can't control. That was a freak thing. There's nothing I could do about that. If I were to let it affect me, then I start reaching. That's when other bad things start to happen."

The Eagles got the ball at their 28-yard line and were able to drive 37 yards to set up a 53-yard field goal from Jake Elliott. He nailed it and the Eagles cut the lead to 10-9, taking some momentum into halftime.

"That was huge," head coach Doug Pederson said. "Just to be able to get down there with — we're out of timeouts, Nick [Foles] to Alshon [Jeffery] on the sideline was huge to get us into that field goal range. … It was great to get momentum with our defense coming back out to start the second half."

It wasn't just Braman who got some redemption. Elliott did, too. The rookie kicker missed an extra point early in the second quarter but drilled the 53-yarder, his first of three consecutive field goals.

His 53-yarder was the longest in Eagles playoff history and was the longest ever by a rookie in the playoffs.

"Obviously, I missed the previous one so I wanted to bounce back better," Elliott said, "and I'm glad we had that opportunity."