UDFA Update

Posted: May 16th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 111 Comments »

There will be a lot of roster adjusting for the next several months. You have 90 spots to fill and lots of fringe players on the roster. When someone fails to impress or gets hurt, you find someone else to bring in.

Evans got hurt so the Eagles put him on IR when he pass through waivers and wasn’t picked. Then the team added an OL to the roster.

I wrote about Salako and the rest of the UDFAs for PE.com.

Doug Pederson and Jeff Stoutland both love big, physical O-linemen and that’s exactly what Salako is. Limited athlete who is stiff and too upright, but he is fun to watch when he is run blocking. He will lock onto defenders and stick with those blocks as long as possible. I could see the Eagles playing him at OG or OT. Long shot to make the roster, but he has NFL size at 6-6, 335.

Getting Evans to IR was a good move. You can never have enough QBs. Evans has NFL potential, but needs a ton of work. He can’t practice this year, but can learn the offense and the mental side of being an NFL QB. That does have value. Evans remains a long shot to ever make an NFL roster, but he will be better prepared next spring.

*****

Trying to figure out which UDFAs will make the team is tricky. I didn’t think C.J. Smith had a chance last year. I loved C Bruce Johnson. Thought he could at least be a practice squad candidate. Smith made the roster and Johnson got cut.

What gives?

One answer is that I’m an idiot.

The other answer is that we often know less about the UDFAs than we do other draft prospects. Did these guys play at top schools? Were they at the Senior Bowl? Were they at the Combine? It is hard enough to project what a 1st rounder will do in the NFL. It gets really tricky when you try to figure out what a small school or lesser known player is going to do.

I don’t know as much about CBs Jomal Wiltz and Randall Goforth as I do about Sidney Jones or Rasul Douglas.

I don’t know as much about Winston Craig as I do Derek Barnett.

There will be pleasant surprises. There will be disappointments. That’s the fun of spring and summer football.

*****

Good night for the Sixers.

Could have been a great night, but oh well. Settling for the 3rd overall pick isn’t too bad.

The Eagles note is part of a running joke on Twitter. The Eagles got a 1st round pick in Derek Barnett. They got another 1st round pick in Sidney Jones. Mel Kiper once mentioned Charles Walker as a future 1st rounder so that gives the Eagles another 1st rounder.

_


  • A_T_G

    Cowboy fans incessantly bragged that La’el Collins was like having another first round pick. The multiple first rounders joke also pokes fun at Cowboy fans, as any good Eagles joke should.

    • Dave

      Don’t forget about Jaylon Smith in 2016.

    • Anders

      It was the combination of La’el Collins, Jaylon Smith and Randy Gregory where people kept saying it was like having an extra 1st round pick.

      • laeagle

        Not to mention Gil Brandt describing the new Cowboys practice facility as worth another 1st round pick. This joke was built, brick by brick, by the shameful actions of Cowboys fans.

    • Bert’s Bells

      I like to think of the Eagles’ draft as getting seven 3rd round picks.

    • Ark87

      Our thing is about being crazy and delusional. Their thing is that they barely watch football, they only show up to brag after wins, and are mia the rest of the time. They might actually think he was picked in the first round, confusing him with Tyron Smith or something.

    • Donald Kalinowski

      We drafted Agholor and Rowe that year. I’d rather have La’el or Jones over both of them.

  • Dude

    Eagles to sign Blount. There’s the answer to our “big back” problem.

    • Bert’s Bells

      Keep him away from the rookies and South Street.

      • Rellihcs

        Uh, that South Street reference hasn’t been accurate for 10-15 years at this point…. but yeah.

        • Bert’s Bells

          It’s a Buckhalter thang.

          • Rellihcs

            I don’t follow but OK.

          • Bert’s Bells

            Buck was busted with a couple fellow rookies (UDFAs, I think) smoking skank on South Street.

          • Rellihcs

            Oh there you go. Aha.

    • A_T_G
    • Patrick

      Dont really care about the big back thing, although its what I personally prefer, but Blount can carry the load and the 300 carries of a primary back, and we get to mix in Sproles, Smallwood and Pumphrey.

      30 years old is a meh, but he is obviously a short term solution and we can run him into the ground to help Wentz, and then draft or sign for the future once we get some clear views of the offense.

      • Tumtum

        Only way he gets close to 300 carries is if the rest of the RB completely suck. I think they would like to see him at half that MAX.

  • Jernst
  • Rellihcs

    Wow, that changes everything. I was really hoping for that particular oregon bias violation to happen, but thought it was too much of a long-shot.

    Amazing.

  • eagleyankfan

    wonder who they moved off roster.

    Thought they were rebuilding? LOL(at my self). Going to be a fun year…

    • Rellihcs

      Don’t think they needed to move any one off. It’s May. And I thought we were at 89 players anyhow.

      • D3FB

        Were at 89 then signed Billy Brown.

        Since then Evans out but Salako in. So still at 90.

        • Rellihcs

          Oh good point.

        • A_T_G

          And we will need a spot for Barnett.

  • ChoTime

    So, another 1-year rental who will be the best player at his position. Golden State is buying a championship; the Eagles are buying a 1st round playoff loss.

    • Ark87

      If we’re lucky.

      I mean that in 2 ways.
      From the cynical stance: I doubt we will get to the playoffs without a bunch of luck.

      From the other point of view, Doug needs some wins so that literally anyone can believe in him. He needs the wins more than the 14th overall pick (as opposed to 20 or something)

      • ChoTime

        I agree, I don’t see any reason to expect a playoff berth. But I thought “buying a first-round playoff loss” was catchier than “buying a team that misses the playoffs by a game or two.”

        • Ark87

          good point, but I want to expand on my second point because it was more relevant to your original point.

          It’s true we have a crap ton of 1-year deals, and we are built for short-term mediocrity (and nothing long term). If it works out, striving so hard for the mediocrity just hurts our draft stock. And there will be little stability to build on any success. We’ll sign who we can, but who knows what happens in 2018. Or we get 2011 all over again, too many new faces, and mercs at that. So it may be a lose-lose. The flip side is Doug needs a team to have a chance of building any credibility so he can build something, and Howie/Joe need to give Doug a team so they can properly evaluate him. I’m of the opinion that this is a make or break year Doug, we are just too conspicuously built to be a blank slate in 2018 for that to not be the case. Just a guess, of course.

    • D3FB

      I’m not sure I get this position at all.

      What’s the downside to low dollar veteran stop gaps?

      Who are Long/Robinson/Blount keeping off the roster?

      • ChoTime

        The downside is that we’ll probably pick up some wins, hurting our draft position, during the time when we should be building our team from the draft or at least with smart free agent acquisitions. It’s a symptom of being on the wheel of mediocrity.

        • CrackSammich

          If you have the opportunity to win, you win.

        • bill

          I’ll agree that “the wheel of mediocrity” is a definite thing in the NBA. But just as surely, “the wheel of suck” is a thing in the NFL. There are plenty of examples of teams that had many years of high picks and never get off the wheel.

          In the NFL, the wheel of mediocrity has more to do with not having a franchise QB than not being at the top of the draft (especially with the plan the Eagles have seemed to settle on). So, for the Eagles, it all depends on Wentz. If he turns into a franchise QB, they can make do with mediocre (or worse) draft positions. If he doesn’t, a couple years of high draft positions aren’t really going to do much more than make them mediocre.

          I’m fine with putting the emphasis on developing Wentz. If you’re successful, you’ll be able to find pieces to surround him with. If you fail, your draft position isn’t really going to be affected much by the stopgaps you surround him with, and you’re going to be looking to spend all the resources you can to find a franchise QB in short order anyway.

        • D3FB

          This isn’t the NBA. There isn’t an 8 seed purgatory hell.

          If the difference between picking 14 and 21 is the difference in how your team develops, you should fire the shit out of everyone.

          The one thing you really have to have is a franchize QB. This offseason was about improving conditions for Wentz to develop.

          If the franchise is fucked long term. It’s because Wentz didn’t develop. Not because we won 9 games and not 7.

          • Insomniac

            Of course it is. We’re going to tank for Darnold and trade Wentz to the Browns for their first round pick. We’ll take another QB with that pick and then flip him for another first round pick until we hit on the next Brady/Rodgers. #justhinkiethings

          • ChoTime

            I see where you’re going with this, but am just not convinced there is some huge difference between 7 and 9 wins in Carson’s development. However, there is a big difference between getting a young player on a multi-year contract who could turn out to be a cornerstone and a mercenary who’s going to go to the highest bidder next year.

          • D3FB

            The difference isn’t between 9 wins and 7 wins.

            It’s about his development. He doesn’t need 7 all pro skill players, but he does need competence around him. They did not have that last year. They do this year. It may manifest itself as two extra wins, but it’s not about the wins themselves. It’s about the development of Wentz.

            It’s the NFL again, if your franchise crumbles because you picked in the early 20s and not the teens, fire everyone.

        • xmbk

          I just don’t see downside to getting wins. The Sixers have ruined the way people think in this town.

      • kajomo

        I personally like the signing, but i do question HR’s vision and patience. He is on the record of saying that we are done signing stop gap players and will focus on signing players that can be a long term solution for this team. I think we have set a record for 1 year contracts in an offseason. Even if we end up re-signing AJ and Jernigan, guy s like Blount, Robinson, and Long are too old to be long term answers.

        Again I like the signing. I think it will help Carson’s development to have a guy like Blount. HR just seemed to have a plan, but has been too Impatient to let it play out.

        • Rellihcs

          I don’t think anything Howie did is a sign of impatience. Signing guys like Jernigan, Alshon, Long, and now Blount – to me don’t hurt long term, and there really weren’t better options in the short term.

          Wanting to build for the future doesn’t/shouldn’t negate signing no harm short term help.

          If Howie were to “be more patient” (to stick to “the plan”) at the detriment of the football team this year, that would be stupid.

          • kajomo

            1) I didn’t say that what he was doing is wrong. It just isn’t what he claimed the plan was. My issue is what seems to be a “need” to make moves. It’s not a rare occurrence. He stated this plan before the offseason and has gone against it numerous time in only a few months.

            2) there is a argument to be made that this team has no real shot this year. Each of these signings takes away future cap dollars and can potential hurt draft stock. I’m not saying a I fully agree with this, but I completely understand this approach.

            3) I really do think this organization is impatient. From Lurie on down they feel pressure to win more games now. As stated in #2 this can be a detriment to long term sucess

          • Rellihcs

            How do 1 year deals take away future cap dollars?

            I think trying to stick to a plan that you stated prior to the draft is silly. I don’t think we should hold Howie to what he says to the media.

          • RogerPodacter

            is there some kind of ‘carry-over’ amount of cap that you can bring to next year if you don’t use it this year? thats the only thing i can think of.

          • D3FB

            We’re talking about a pretty negligble amount of money for the stop gaps.

          • RogerPodacter

            oh, 100% agree. that was just my best guess what he was speaking about in regards to future cap space.
            I don’t think that it is quite as clear as ‘if you are X under the cap, you get +X on next years cap’. I’m sure it would be a small % of that X.

          • D3FB

            Nope full cap space rolls over. You just have to spend 90% of available cap over a five year period.

          • kajomo

            Since unused cap dollars roll over to the following years cap space we loose future cap space with each short term signing we make this year.

            Let’s say Timmy J blows it up. If Long’s and Blount’s 2017 contracts are the difference in being able to re-sign him that would be a bad long term move.

            Again, I am not against the moves that have been made, but worry that Howie and/or this organization lack the patience necessary to build the right way.

          • FairOaks

            Unused cap space rolls over, but that is a one-time increase for the next year’s cap — it’s not like you can assume you’ll have the equivalent cap space in future years to sign a long-term player. It’s really just extra space for a 1-year contract next year instead. And if Blount improves the running game for this season, and takes pressure off Wentz, that is well worth it now.

            It’s always a balance, and any holes you fail to fill in the draft pretty much need to be filled with veterans. We had way too many holes to fill them all. And of course, CB is only going to be (mostly) filled long-term if Jones works out, which we won’t know until next year, so we need stopgaps again this year.

            Whether Blount actually is better remains to be seen — the last time he signed for more money in Pittsburgh he clashed with coaches and was released partway into the season. So he has only really produced under Belichik which is a concern.

          • CrackSammich

            Blount was released when he got busted with pot, and was the less talented of the two busted for pot.

            Unused cap money can be rolled over forever, assuming you hit the salary floor totals.

          • FairOaks

            Um… no. He got busted with Bell before the season (any suspension would be the following year). He then played 11 games for the Steelers; the bust had nothing to do with it. By the end, since Bell was emerging as their feature back, he was really frustrated by the lack of playing time. So in that 11th game he left the field during the game and went back to the locker room. He was released the next day.

            Yes, unused cap money can be rolled over forever. It’s not much use if you never actually use it though. Having the extra cap room can obviously help if you get stuck by injury etc. and need to fill short-term gaps, so it’s not worthless — but you are always balancing the need this year versus the potential need the next year. I guess the team did not fill a hole they wanted during the draft, so they will sign a stopgap again to give some competition at RB.

          • xmbk

            If the Long and Blount contracts stop the team from signing Jernigan long term, Howie is not the cap wizard he gets credit for being. Any GM who couldn’t manage that deserves to be fired for incompetence.

          • D3FB

            THISSSSSSSS

          • D3FB

            A half a dozen draft spots and what like $5mil in cap space isn’t shit in the grand scheme. They are certainly offset by winning and the effects that can have on retention and acuisition of players.

            Also tanking in the NFL is morally bankrupt. This isn’t basketball. Joe Thomas is going to live fewer years.

          • kajomo

            Again I didn’t say I disliked the moves HR has made.

            It’s more to do with his incessant need to make moves. Teams like Balt and Pitt are the teams we are trying to emulate. They tend to be more patient and stick with a plan of developing drafted players. Howie seems like he cannot help himself at times.

            Overall I actually like HR, but I do question whether he can develop and follow through with a plan for building a championship caliber team. The moves he made this offseason seem to be in direct conflict with the plan he explained earlier in the year.

            Maybe these signing were value just too good to pass up. Or maybe it is a sign that he is not willing to show patience to let his plan come to fruition.

          • D3FB

            Baltimore and Pitt can do that because they have 6th rounders from 2014 they’ve been grooming. We obviously don’t have that stability. Green Bay is the extreme case for this and they’ve probably cost themselves a championship or two in the last decade becasue of their overrelying on not signing any FA.

            Also stop gap FAs this year
            Ravens:
            Carr
            Woodhead
            Webb
            Levine

            Steelers:
            Alualu
            Sensabaugh
            Justin Hunter
            Kniles Davis

            Everyone does it.

            We’ll have 10+ rookies on the 53.

          • xmbk

            There is no good argument for #2, unless you want to make it for pretty much every team outside New England. The Eagles would have to get lucky to win it all. If they tank for 3 years and hoard all their resources, they will still have to get lucky. It’s a bad football strategy.

        • D3FB

          He can want to move away from signing stop gaps. But he also entered the offseason with almost no cap space and has made the team more competitive.

          None of the signings are even a little bit detrimental in the long term.

          You complain about Blount Robinson and Long.

          WHO ARE THEY TAKING SNAPS FROM?

          What he wants to move away from is the Bradley Fletchers and Cary WIlliams where you pay actual money to convince yourself you’ve filled a hole when everybody knows that best case you’ve kicked the can for two years.

          Every position on the team (except S) has a young player

          • ChoTime

            Man, people are circling the wagons again. I’m already missing the post-Chip clarity.

            Roseman is doing a decent job cleaning up the mess (that he helped make) and making the team better. I understand he was in a bad position and perhaps he is even making the best of it. But with these moves I am not seeing the typical trajectory of a winning program here.

    • Tumtum

      I think scratcherk was a lot closer up above.

    • Mac

      I know a lot of folks in here hate this mentality but from where I’m sitting all any team needs is a foot in the door of the playoffs, and from that point on all bets are off as to who will win the Superbowl. My view is that its close to 50/50 luck/skill.

      It’s a mix of the luck of who your opponent will be in the playoffs, the luck of how injured your team is vs the other team, and the sheer luck how the ball bounces on kickoffs and punts… which I think weighs in almost as heavily as how well your team was built, plays, and coaches.

      There’s also the argument of getting the young bucks accustomed to the routine of playing in a playoff game atmosphere (win or lose) to consider.

      So, why not take a stab at it?

      • ChoTime

        If it’s half luck, then the Tom Brady must be the luckiest man alive. I would say it’s about 33.3% QB, 33.3% team, 33.3% luck. We can cross our fingers on the 1st and 3rd part, I’m not too impressed with the 2nd.

        BTW, guys, I’m normally in for wins over draft position. It’s just that we seem to be going to the extreme here in trying to eke out that 9th win this year, and it just feels very hamster-wheel-ish. If that’s a word.

        • bill

          “I have no need for luck.” – Charles Ponzi.

          (I just made this quote up, to be clear.)

          • Dude

            “I have no need for luck.” – Charles Ponzi

            -bill

        • Mac

          I love draft position as much as the next guy, but I see that as a consolation prize for not making the playoffs.

          I agree with your premise that this is mostly about developing Wentz. I do think that a RB committee of Sproles, Smallwood, Blount, and Pumphrey should be pretty nice for Wentz to work with this year (though I will admit that my favorite part of the Blount acquisition is a cease and desist order for this year on the “big back” complaint).

          • ChoTime

            I’d like to take credit for that premise, but I think it was D3FB who’d suggested that one. I see my role more as the traditional pessimist.

        • Ben

          The Eagles are not depending on luck.

          They are bringing in players that can help them win now and they will have exclusive rights to sign the players worth keeping around.

          Would you prefer a long drawn out rebuild like that hot mess they are creating in Cleveland?

          • ChoTime

            Exclusive rights in what sense?

        • Bert’s Bells

          There won’t be many who would argue against Tom Brady being the luckiest man alive.

      • xmbk

        No, you have the right mentality for the NFL. Compete every year, develop a winning tradition, and hope to strike lightning in the playoffs. If Wentz is who we hope he is, you want to give him as many shots as possible.

    • xmbk

      If this really was the deal that gets the team into the playoffs, then it was an outstanding move. No matter what happens once they are there.

      • Ben

        agreed 200%

  • Henly125

    The only way the Blount signing pans out is if he knocks out a player from Dallas after a nationally televised game.

    Don’t let me down, LeGarrette.

    • mtn_green

      Legend

      • Henly125

        Correct, but the punch came at the end of the game. He saved the best for last that night.

  • scratcherk

    This approach makes a lot of sense to me. We were more than a year away from competing and building up the roster especially with our cap situation. Now we have a bunch of one year rentals while we build the roster. They’ll leave next year and put us in good shape for compensatory picks. Keep us competitive in the short run and put us in good position to build for future

    • Tumtum

      Finally figured out the whole compete now, build for the future thing. Though, they have kind of been doing this for a while now. Short term contracts have been given to other guys like NC last year.

      I do like it though. Really liking Howie and Joe team. I really liked what Howie did last year too obvious….getting Carson was pretty amazing.

      • Bert’s Bells

        It’s very hard in the NFL to go from crappy to good. I saw a metric once that the average win variance from one season to the next is +/- 1.5 (still don’t know what half a win is…).

        The upshot of that is, tanking in the NFL usually doesn’t work. Building winning programs does.

        The 538 takes this into account in their projections too.

        • Tumtum

          The difference of being 9-7 or 7-9 is massive too.. crazy league.

  • RobNE

    you know who has an extra first round pick? Sixers the next two years.

    Blount’s son was in my son’s class and is a really nice kid. His wife also was very nice. I guess sometimes I think these guys are celebrities but most of them move around a lot, don’t get superstar money, get hurt, and wonder every year whether he will be on the team. So on a personal level I’m glad for him and his family.

  • Ryan Rambo
    • scratcherk

      hes got more wiggle than i realized.

      • ACViking

        nift?

        or just wiggle?

        • scratcherk

          Nift:

          Noun
          (plural nifts)

          (obsolete) Niece.

          he may have a few of those too.

        • Ryan Rambo

          Nifty wiggle?

        • Rellihcs

          He’s nifty and wiggly enough to make the defender wift

    • CrackSammich

      lol, love the fat guy jump cut at 2:27.

    • Mitchell

      He has excellent balance.

  • Insomniac

    Well there’s our big back but I didn’t think he was exactly Pederson’s style of RB. I like the signing.

  • Sean Stott

    Very happy we rounded out the RB corps. If we can figure out two half decent starting corners I think this roster is solid.

  • Will Defence Win Championship

    Way to go Howie and Joe with the signing of LB at RB, now all we need is an answer at CB’s this upcoming season and were are about to rock the NFL…Keep up the excellent collaboration work. I absolutely Love it!!!!

  • Ben

    YES !!!!! I am going to fire up a Blount in celebration.
    I don’t what you guys think about this singing but I am stoked.
    He is a proven top NFL RB who has shown he can play on a high level.
    With our O line, I don’t see that trend changing anytime soon.

  • unhinged

    I am late to get this news. Was any other team wooing Blount?

    • Rellihcs

      Giants and Cardinals and i think Detroit too.

      • Tumtum

        Yeah.. never heard a peep about us either

        • Rellihcs

          Exactly. Amazing Howie does it.

  • anon

    So happy!!!!

  • anon

    So if we suck this year it’s the coach right, because we are stacked. Pats could win a ring with this team

    • meteorologist

      Not stacked on defense. Need depth at all 3 levels and need starting caliber CBs to step up.

    • Sean Stott

      If we suck this year it’s absolutely coaching issue.

      • Tumtum

        We do have a 2nd year QB. Don’t expect a seasoned vet just yet.

    • A_T_G

      If we suck this year it is the fans – creating a toxic environment and feeding a carnivorous media.

    • Insomniac

      How exactly are we stacked?

  • Media Mike

    I don’t always agree with Barnwell, but this was a pretty fair take from a national writer

    http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/page/Barnwell2017GradesNFCEast/bill-barnwell-2017-nfl-offseason-report-card-free-agency-draft-nfc-east-dallas-cowboys-new-york-giants-philadelphia-eagles-washington-redskins

    Key passage

    “With that in mind, the Eagles should make their call on Matthews now. If they feel like Matthews is a big part of their future, they should lock him up, using the leverage of that bargain rookie deal while Matthews is still a year from free agency. If he isn’t in their long-term plans, the Eagles are probably better off trading Matthews now than waiting a year. The Eagles would get a compensatory draft pick if Matthews left in free agency, but that pick wouldn’t arrive until 2019, and it would come only if the Eagles were to stay out of the free-agent market. Getting a third-round selection for Matthews would lock in what amounts to a top-level comp pick, and it would probably come in the 2018 draft.”

    • CrackSammich

      And as always, I’d like to remind everyone involved that Matthews won’t net you a 3rd.

  • Media Mike

    I’m sure this was said lower (yes, LOWER – always sort by newest) down the thread, but I really hope the roster addition of Blount coupled with Seumalo / new LG combo blocking will really fix Pederson’s horrid play calling. That’s such a vital need for the team.

  • Dragon_Eagle

    Blount is a really good signing. He’s not going to put us over the top, we’re still some key pieces and some seasoning of core roster players away from that. What he does do though is create a serious running threat, particularly in short yardage, which defenses have to respect. Why is that important? Allows Carson to learn how to work with that, gives him extra options under center while keeping defenses honest.

    Making the playoffs and getting that experience under his belt is the goal. Not going to be easy this year. Its all about developing Carson this year. Alshon, Blount, and grabbing every freaking OL body we can afford.

    Go Birds.