Johnathan Cyprien

Eagles trade Johnathan Cyprien to Falcons, acquire Duke Riley

Eagles trade Johnathan Cyprien to Falcons, acquire Duke Riley

The Eagles on Monday acquired 25-year-old linebacker Duke Riley, a third-round pick just two years ago, for veteran safety Johnathan Cyprien.

The Eagles acquired Riley and a 2020 sixth-round pick in exchange for Cyprien and a 2020 seventh-round pick.

Riley will likely have a role only on special teams. He's played just one snap on defense this year, but he did contribute 78 snaps on special teams in the Falcons' first four games. 

By cutting ties with L.J. Fort on Friday to make room on the 53-man roster for Orlando Scandrick and now Cyprien, the Eagles lost two of their four-leading special teams players in terms of snaps played. Fort played 75 and Cyprien 74. 

Cyprien, who the Eagles signed on Aug. 2, is a seven-year veteran with 70 career starts with the Jaguars and Titans, but he had played one 15 defensive snaps in four games with the Eagles.

Riley started 16 games in 2017 and 2018 but had played only one defensive snap this year, in the Falcons’ season-opening loss to the Vikings. 

The former third-round pick out of LSU was considered a huge disappointment with the Falcons after they made him the 10th linebacker taken in the 2017 draft.

So this is essentially a case of “We’ll trade you our guy who can’t play for your guy who can’t play.” 

But the Eagles did move up a round in next year’s draft with the transaction.

The Eagles are now back to six linebackers, with Nigel Bradham, Zach Brown, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, T.J. Edwards and Riley.

The Eagles take over Riley’s rookie contract, which pays him $726,500 this year and $820,000 next year. Cyprien is earning $805,000.

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Stories of Eagles’ jersey number changes after final cuts

Stories of Eagles’ jersey number changes after final cuts

When NFL rosters are at 90 players, jersey numbers get a little tricky. 

The Eagles this past summer were no exception. They had several numbers owned by offensive and defensive players. They had some veterans come late and get paired with odd digits and a lot of times, these things don’t get sorted out until the 90-man roster is pared down to 53. 

As silly as it sounds, most players care about their jersey numbers, at least to varying degrees. A few years ago, when Alshon Jeffery signed here, Nelson Agholor already had No. 17. Jeffery said he didn’t care about his old number. But once he got it back, he showed up in the locker room with a big, blingy No. 17 necklace. I think he cared. 

This year, five Eagles on the initial 53-man roster had their numbers changed after final cuts. Here are those stories: 

Johnathan Cyprien (41—>37) 

When Cyprien signed this summer, the only number he had ever worn in the NFL (No. 37) was already taken by safety Tre Sullivan. Cyprien had that number for his four seasons in Jacksonville and two seasons in Tennessee. So he was stuck with 41 for a while. 

“I made 41 look good. It’s just me,” he joked. “Not too many people can make 37 look good, but I still be looking so fire with it. I think it’s just me.”

But the No. 37 does have some meaning for him. In fact, it dates back to before he got to the NFL, when he was just a prospect coming out of Florida International.  

“The only reason I wear 37, really, I went to the Senior Bowl (in 2013),” he said. “They’re supposed to give you your college number but they didn’t give me my college number. They gave me 37. I wore 7 in college. So they gave me 37; I felt like they tried me. By the time I went to the Senior Bowl, I got MVP of the Senior Bowl (Outstanding Performance Defensive Back). I got to Jacksonville, they said, ‘Alright, we got 33, we got 26 and we got 37.’ So I thought it was meant to be, so I got 37.”

If you’re wondering, No. 7 on the North Team defense that year went to fellow safety T.J. McDonald from USC. McDonald was drafted a round after Cyprien, in the third, and has played and started 75 games in the NFL. 

Hassan Ridgeway (64—>98) 

The Eagles traded for Ridgeway on Day 3 of the draft and all summer, he was one of those split numbers. He wore 64 on defense and undrafted rookie center Keegan Render wore 64 on offense. 

“I’m not no O-lineman,” Ridgeway said, “so I had to get out of that.”

During training camp, 98 belonged to Bruce Hector, who was traded to Arizona and is now back on the Eagles’ practice squad wearing No. 90. For Ridgeway, 98 is a return to his college number at Texas. 

“It was given to me by my (college) D-line coach,” Ridgeway said. “It was my second number. I had 81 at first. He said you gotta have a real D-lineman number. It’s funny I got the same one here.” 

Ridgeway wasn’t able to wear 98 when he got to Indianapolis as a rookie in 2016. That number belonged to Robert Mathis in his final NFL season. The Colts haven’t retired his number yet, but no one else has worn it since their all-time sack leader. Ridgeway wore 91 in Indy; that number is obviously taken by Fletcher Cox here. 

Zach Brown (51—>52) 

The veteran linebacker, in his first season with the Eagles, didn’t make a drastic number change. He said he wasn’t feeling 51 and called it an “ugly number.” 

Previously, Brown has worn 55 (Titans) and 53 (Bills, Redskins). 

So why 52? 

“I can’t get 53 or 58 or 57, they’re all taken,” Brown said. “And I ain’t paying for a number. Fifty-five is really my number, but BG got it, so him and Nigel isn’t coming up out of it. So I’ll wear 52.”

Shareef Miller (76—>51) 

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Once Brown vacated No. 51, it was open and Miller took it. It got him much closer to what he wore in college: 48. 

And Miller’s favorite pass rushers (Von Miller and Khalil Mack) are in the 50s. He thought it suited him better than 76. 

“I didn’t even know Zach was changing, but I knew after the cuts went down, they called me and asked me if I wanted to change it,” Miller said. “They told me the numbers (that were available) and I took it.”  

Rudy Ford (46—>36)

The Eagles traded for Ford late in training camp, so when he got here there weren’t many options. And the 46 was open after the team released UDFA Jay Liggins. Ford was happy with anything in the 20s or 30s. 

In Arizona, where he spent the last two years and the first two of his career, Ford wore No. 30. That number is owned by Corey Clement here. 

“I was just excited to come to a place where I was excited to show my talents,” Ford said. “It wasn’t about the number. I’m sure somebody wore 46 before I got here. If I was to wear it, I would have put it to great use. Everybody would have known about 46, definitely.”

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Why Howie Roseman can't stop adding new players

Why Howie Roseman can't stop adding new players

Howie Roseman built a roster for training camp. Then he built another one.

Roseman isn’t one to sit around and admire his handiwork. The Eagles’ personnel guru has added 14 players since the START of training camp and hasn’t gone more than two days since camp began without bringing in somebody new.

That's 16 percent of the roster.

No team has brought in more players than the Eagles since training camps began in late July.

The Colts have also added 14 players and the Titans (13), Buccaneers (13) and Raiders (10) are also in double figures. The NFL average is 5.3.

Some of the moves have been necessitated by injury, but for the most part, Roseman is constantly looking for ways to not only upgrade the starting lineup and 53-man roster but also give his coaches and scouts every opportunity to evaluate as many players as possible on the 90-man roster.

Of those 14 new guys, 13 are still on the roster. And a few have legit shots at making the 53.

Let’s take a look at the Howie Roseman 14, where they came from, when they got here, how they’ve done and whether they have a chance to stick:

CB Alex Brown
Signed July 26.
NFL experience: Undrafted free agent.
Chances to stick: Brown was released on Aug. 4.

LB Asantay Brown
Signed Aug. 4.
NFL experience:  This is Brown’s fifth stint with the Eagles in the last year. He’s never been on the 53-man roster, but he did have two stints on the practice squad last year.
Chances to stick:  Despite the Eagles’ injuries at linebacker, Brown is facing long odds to stick. But the fact that they keep bringing him back means there’s something there they like.

S Jonathan Cyprien
Signed Aug. 2.
NFL experience: This is Cyprien’s sixth NFL season. He’s played in 70 games for the Jaguars and Titans, starting all 70.
Chances to stick: Cyprien is definitely in the mix as a backup safety who is also big and physical enough to play linebacker in dime, which considering the Eagles’ linebacker injuries could be huge.

TE Alex Ellis
Signed Aug. 2.
NFL experience: Ellis began his career as an undrafted rookie with the Titans in 2016, has been with five teams over the last four years and has played in eight career games with the Jaguars and Chiefs. He has three career receptions, all in 2016.
Chances to stick: Ellis has caught the ball well since he got here both at practice -- he had a nine-yard TD Thursday night against the Ravens — and seems to be a decent blocker. With Richard Rodgers injured, there’s an opening for a third tight end. It’ll probably be Josh Perkins, but Ellis isn’t bad and definitely a practice squad candidate.

DE Kasim Edebali
Signed Aug. 6
NFL experience:  Has bounced around the league for six years (Saints, Broncos, Lions, Rams, Saints, Bears, Bengals) and played in 62 games with two starts. He has eight career sacks, five in 2015 with the Saints but none since 2016.
Chances to stick: Edebali hasn’t made a huge impression since he got here and although the Eagles need defensive end depth he’s behind Daeshon Hall, Sharif Miller and Josh Sweat.

S Rudy Ford 
Aug. 22.
NFL experience:  Ford, the Cards’ sixth-round pick in 2017, has played in 23 games with one start for Arizona the last two years, mainly on special teams. He’s averaged 20 special teams snaps in those 23 games, which is a ton.
Chances to stick: Ford doesn’t have a ton of time to impress the coaches, but his special teams experience gives him a fighting chance.

DE Eli Harold 
Aug. 9
NFL experience:  Harold was the 49ers’ third-round pick in 2015 but only had five sacks in three seasons in San Francisco before spending a year with the Lions last year, adding four more sacks. He’s in his fifth season but only 25 years old.
Chances to stick: Harold hasn’t flashed in limited playing time the last two preseason games — 29 total snaps, which tells you he’s probably still on the outside looking in.

CB Ajene Harris
Aug. 6
NFL experience:  Undrafted rookie out of Stanford.
Chances to stick:  Slim, considering the Eagles’ depth at corner, but he’s definitely a practice squad candidate. Harris even had a sack on a blitz in the Titans preseason game.

QB Josh McCown
 Aug. 17
NFL experience: McCown has played in 99 games with 76 starts for the Cards, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns and Jets since the Cards drafted him in the third round of the 2002 draft.
Chances to stick:  McCown begins the season as the Eagles’ No. 2 quarterback and will remain there until — and possibly beyond

CB Orlando Scandrick
 July 27
NFL experience:  Scandrick has played 140 games starting 76 over 11 years, the first 10 with the Cowboys, last year with the Chiefs.
Chances to stick:  He’s looked OK since arriving here. The Eagles need a backup slot corner with Cre’Von LeBlanc out indefinitely, and Scandrick probably has the inside track.

CB Sojourn Shelton
 Aug. 11
NFL experience: Shelton had two stints on the Bengals’ practice squad in 2017 but was out of football last year after the Bengals released him in late August.
Chances to stick:  Shelton is a long-range project but could find himself on the practice squad.

DT Aziz Shittu
 Aug. 13
NFL experience:  Shittu has bounced around for four years but has never played in a regular-season game. He was at OTAs with the Eagles in 2016 and in camp here in 2017 and 2018 then spent some time on the Cowboys’ practice squad last year.
Chances to stick: The Eagles like Shittu enough to keep bringing him back for camp, but with their depth at defensive tackle, his best hope at this point is the practice squad.

OT Brett Toth
 Aug. 16
NFL experience:  Undrafted rookie.
Chances to stick:  Toth is an interesting case. You can read his whole story here, but he hasn’t played since the end of the 2017 season at Army and is much lighter than he needs to be to really compete on the o-line. The Eagles actually could keep him on the 53 to protect him from the waiver process.

LB Chris Worley
Acquired:  Aug. 18
NFL experience:  Played two games last year for the Bengals as an undrafted rookie, with all 37 snaps coming on special teams.
Chances to stick: Slim, but you never know. The Eagles certainly need linebacking depth and if they like what they see from Worley on special teams he could stick around.

The moves:
July 26: Claimed CB Alex Brown off waivers
July 27: Signed CB Orlando Scandrick, waived DT Anthony Rush
Aug. 2: Signed S Jonathan Cyprien, waived LB Joey Alfieri
Aug. 2: Signed TE Alex Ellis, waived S Godwin Igwebuike
Aug. 4: Signed LB Asantay Brown, waived CB Alex Brown
Aug. 6: Signed DE Kasim Edebali, placed DE Joe Ostman on IR
Aug. 6: Signed CB Ajene Harris, waived/injured OT Casey Tucker
Aug. 9: Acquired DE Eli Harold from Bills for OT Ryan Bates
Aug. 11: Signed CB Sojourn Shelton, waived/injured WR Shelton Gibson
Aug. 13: Signed DT Aziz Shittu, waived S Blake Countess w. injury settlement
Aug. 16: Signed OT Brett Toth, waived CB Jay Liggins
Aug. 17: Signed QB Josh McCown, waived WR Braxton Miller
Aug. 18: Signed LB Chris Worley, waived LB Paul Worrilow
Aug. 22: Acquired S Rudy Ford from Cards for DT Bruce Hector

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