Just a Number?

Posted: March 23rd, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

For the most part, I like the Eagles offseason moves so far. I think the team has gotten better. There is one potential concern.

Retained

Jason Peters – Cut him open and count the rings
Brandon Graham – about to turn 31
Rodney McLeod – about to turn 29
Paul Worrilow – about to turn 29
Ronald Darby – age 25

The New Guys

DeSean Jackson – age 32
Andrew Sendejo – about to turn 32
Vinny Curry – about to turn 31
Malik Jackson – age 29
L.J. Fort – age 29

Ronald Darby must feel like a little kid compared to the rest of these geezers. So, is this a problem?

Age is always a concern in sports, but I don’t think it is a major issue for now. The Eagles still have plenty of outstanding players that are under 30.

Carson Wentz
Fletcher Cox
Zach Ertz
Lane Johnson
Alshon Jeffery

The team also has some other good young talent that could develop into Pro Bowl level players or above average starters.

Dallas Goedert
Derek Barnett
Avonte Maddox
Isaac Seumalo

If you do look long term, the Eagles do have a lot of players that are nearing age 30 and that is something to watch. The team has a lot of draft picks over the next two years and it is crucial that they draft well. They need young, cheap talent.

One thing that makes me more comfortable with adding/keeping so many older players is that they aren’t getting huge money and they aren’t foundational players. As good as Jason Peters is, the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017 with him as a spectator. DeSean Jackson is here to be a complementary player, not the lead receiver.

The other X-factor in all of this is that numbers have changed. 30 is no longer 30. Players take incredible care of themselves. Teams do a much better job of taking care of players. We had never heard of Sports Science a decade ago. Now the Eagles study player movement/activity on a daily basis and know when to take it easy on their guys. Teams now focus on recovery when studying how to help players. This kind of proactive approach by teams and players has helped guys to play into their 30’s at a high level.

There is a real challenge in trying to build a good team, but also to keep young players around. That means taking chances on Derek Barnett or Jordan Mailata or Nate Sudfeld. Not all of the younger options are going to work as hoped. You better not have too many failures or you’ll find yourself rebuilding in a hurry.

The Eagles are okay for now, but they need to find talent in the next two drafts.

*****

The Eagles still have money to spend if they want to.

It will be interesting to see if they use this space for new players, extensions or to roll over to the future. As I keep saying, the important thing is that they have options.

*****

This is fantastic.

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Curry Comes Home

Posted: March 21st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

The Eagles love a deep D-line. They love players who can get into the backfield and make plays. On Thursday, the team added one player who can help in both areas.

We all wondered if the team might go after Curry when Tampa released him. They decided to do just that.

What we don’t know is what to make of this move.

This could mean:

1 – Chris Long isn’t coming back.

That’s certainly what Jeff McLane thinks.

I’m not so certain about that. Fletcher Cox played 830 snaps on defense last year, more than the Eagles would ideally like. They signed Malik Jackson so the team would have another DT who can rush the passer, whether in base or nickel/dime.

I still think there will be plenty of reps for DEs. Go back to 2017. Brandon Graham, Curry, Derek Barnett and Chris Long all played plenty of snaps. The Eagles love to rotate their pass rushers as much as possible.

2 – The Eagles have serious doubts about Josh Sweat.

Sweat showed virtually nothing in 2018. And he got hurt. The coaches sometimes will tell us about how good players look in practice. They say that about Nate Sudfeld and we trust them, more or less. The Eagles actions right now match their words. They haven’t gone after another backup QB.

The team hasn’t said a lot about Sweat, but this move certainly tells us they aren’t counting on him to be a regular player in 2019.

3 – The Eagles just happen to really like Vinny Curry.

I’m sure the coaches love his personality, but his play is less exciting. Again, let’s study their actions. The Eagles released Curry after 2017 and then just signed him to a cheap deal. That doesn’t exactly say “I Love You”.

So what are the Eagles getting? Curry started seven games last year, hurt his ankle and lost his job. Curry had 2.5 sacks. The game tape wasn’t very compelling. Curry will turn 31 this summer and age has caught up with him a bit, but I still think he can be an effective role player.

He can play left or right end. Curry can slide inside on passing downs if needed. He is still a good run defender. Curry can set the edge, something that is critical for Jim Schwartz’s DEs. Curry still has a good motor and can make effort plays.

One of the keys here is that it doesn’t feel like Curry is being promised anything. If Long is back, Curry could be battling Sweat and/or a rookie for a roster spot. If Long is gone, that does change things and Curry suddenly is a lot more important.

Let’s turn to Jimmy Bama for his take on this.

He’s right.

One thing about this. Curry genuinely wanted to come back to Philly. Last year he went for the money and the results showed. This is different.

https://twitter.com/Eagles/status/1108817738372448256

That doesn’t mean Curry is going to suddenly turn into Michael Bennett. That’s just not happening. But I do think scheme, team and environment can make a big difference for veteran players. I’d be shocked if Curry isn’t better than he was last year. Then again, that’s setting the bar pretty low.

I’m okay with Curry coming back. One issue I do have is that the DL needs some young talent. I hope the Eagles still take a DE in the upcoming draft. They don’t have to go for a DE in the first round, but they need another young pass rusher to add to the mix.

*****

Only $4.5m guaranteed? That’s cheap for a talented starting CB.

Darby is going to have a chip on his shoulder this year. That’s peanuts compared to what he was expecting to make.

That chip could be good or bad. Is he gambling to make plays to boost his stock? Does he play his best football?

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Let’s Talk Duke

Posted: March 20th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

It’s March so I thought we should talk about Duke. Will Zion Williamson put on a show and lead Duke on a magical run? Will Coach K get his sixth national title?

Oh wait. Wrong Duke.

There has been a lot of talk about the Eagles and Duke Johnson. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to it, but there might be something to this.

Adam Caplan knows the Eagles pretty well. He doesn’t say the Eagles are the team, but you can connect the dots. My guess is that he’s talking about the Eagles.

Caplan mentions that Johnson won’t be bringing much in compensation. A late round pick should do the trick.

Why would the Eagles be so interested in Johnson?

He is an interesting player, even going back to college. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry and 10.4 yards per reception. He was more playmaker than workhorse. That trend has carried over to the NFL, where he has 299 career carries and 235 receptions. He averages 4.3 yards per carry and 9.2 yards per reception.

Johnson is a good runner. He is a dangerous receiver. You can see where the Eagles would love to add a young RB with that kind of ability into their offense.

I loved this clip.

The ability to see space to the outside and then get out there…that’s impressive.

Watch this video and you can get a feel for his ability as a receiver.

You could think of him as similar to Corey Clement, but more explosive. Johnson is a 4.54 guy. Clement ran 4.68 at the Combine. If you put a guy with Johnson’s ability in the Eagles offense, he can be a playmaker.

Johnson is also durable, having played in all 64 possible games in his career. He hasn’t gotten a ton of touches, but he is used on a regular basis.

Johnson shows potential as a pass blocker. That’s important. You can see some evidence in this mic’d up video.

I don’t know if the Eagles will make a deal for Johnson, but he is an interesting player.

He’s under contract through the end of 2021. He is due to earn $3.05M this year and $4.85M in 2020. The price for this year is reasonable. The price for 2020 would depend on performance. That might turn out to be a fair rate or it might be way too much for a pure role player.

The Eagles are going to make a move or a couple of moves at RB. They need to get better there. Johnson is the guy being talked about the most, but that doesn’t mean there is legit interest. It feels like there is, but this could be more speculation than fact, even with a reputable source like Caplan talking about Johnson and the Eagles.

Howie Roseman and the Eagles are being very calculated right now. We’re in a buyer’s market at this point. There is no rush to make a move. You take your time and make sure the move makes sense for you.

Something will happen at RB. We just don’t know when.

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Eagles Add a Safety

Posted: March 18th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 2 Comments »

The Eagles have a strong pair of starting safeties in Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. Depth was an issue last year so the Eagles didn’t want that to be the case this season.

This move makes a lot of sense, in some respects. Sendejo is a natural FS. When McLeod got hurt last year, the Eagles didn’t have anyone who was an ideal fit for that role. Sendejo could step in and start if needed. He has started 58 games in his career and has been part of some great defenses.

You can see Sendejo’s ability in these clips. He has good range and ball skills. He can be a big hitter.

The Eagles could see Sendejo as more than just a backup FS.

Maragos came to Philly to be a backup safety, but also to be a key STer and a leader on those units. Maragos is gone and the Eagles surely want a veteran presence on STs. Sendejo was in the league for three years before starting so he understands the value of being a role player. He could be a good STer and leader.

The only question I’ve got in regard to this move is what it means for Avonte Maddox. Sendejo might be too good to just play on STs. He might have asked the Eagles to promise that he would be the #3 safety. That’s fine for bumping Tre Sullivan out of the mix. It wouldn’t be for Maddox.

The Eagles need Maddox on the field. I don’t care if they play him at CB, in the slot or at safety. He needs to play.

So if Sendejo is the #3 safety, is Maddox moving back to CB? You just re-signed Ronald Darby. And you still have Mills, Jones, Douglas and LeBlanc.

Maybe this means the team will trade one of the young DBs.

Or maybe the Eagles just want a lot of depth. If you have Maddox and Sendejo as the backup safeties and let them battle for playing time, you’d have outstanding depth. And you would still have a deep group of CBs.

The Eagles have a deep set of DBs right now. That gives them a lot of options.

*****

Ngata was a terrific player for a long time. I remember watching him at Oregon and being blown away by  his combination of size, athleticism and agility.

To put his career in perspective, he and Brodrick Bunkley were rookies together. Feels like Bunk has been gone from the league for years. Ngata is just now walking away. That’s pretty darn impressive.

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Cap Space

Posted: March 18th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Eagles have made several moves in the last couple of weeks. One thing they’ve been masterful at is creating cap space. That all started with letting Nick Foles become a free agent. That took $20M off the books and got the Eagles under the cap. They’ve continued to create space since then.

As of Sunday morning, the Eagles had the 11th most cap space in the league.

That’s crazy.

We don’t know all the deals that have been factored into that. Ronald Darby agreed to terms, but we haven’t seen anything about him signing a new deal so that figure probably doesn’t include him. And to be fair, we don’t know what his deal is. It was reported to be $8.5M, but is that the real figure or the maxed out figure if he plays all 16 games and hits certain bonuses?

Just for arguments sake, let’s say the Eagles have around $20M in cap space.

Coleman was cheap. Since the Eagles passed on him, that tells you there was a concern. That means character or medical. I’ve never heard anything about Coleman being arrested or suspended so that means there is likely a medical concern.

He does have the sickle cell trait. That usually is only a regular factor for players in Denver, where the thin air is an issue. But maybe the Eagles have their own concerns about players with the trait. I don’t recall them having any players with it. Coleman could have a degenerative knee, shoulder or back issue that the Eagles saw at the Combine when he was a prospect. They check out all the prospects and keep detailed medical reports on them.

Something kept the Eagles from signing Coleman. I don’t think it was talent or money.

https://twitter.com/Ceesnation/status/1107479846316376074

I’ve had people ask about Suh or Justin Houston. I don’t see either move as likely. Never say never when it comes to the Eagles and DL, but I don’t see those moves happening.

The draft is loaded with DL. The Eagles need cheap, young talent on the line. I think they’ll draft a DT or even two and a DE. If things go horribly wrong in late April, the team could go for a veteran after the draft.

I think both Wentz and the Eagles want to see how things play out this year. Both sides want to see if he stays healthy. That will affect his value in a major way. Wentz is going to get a big deal. We just don’t know how big.

The Eagles know they need help at RB. There are plenty of choices left. No stars, but the Eagles showed in 2017 that they don’t need elite RBs to have a dynamic offense. There could be a trade in the works. I don’t know anything more than you. Maybe we’ll get some good rumors this week.

I could still see the Eagles taking a look at veteran QBs. I don’t know what they truly think of Nate Sudfeld.

The team needs to add a veteran OL (G/C), but that won’t cost a lot.

Having cap space means the Eagles have options. That’s the real key here. Howie Roseman can look around the league and see who he wants to go after.

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