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  1. Undrafted Eagles rookies with solid chances of earning roster spots This might be the best group of undrafted rookie free agents the Eagles have ever signed. When the most recent NFL Draft wrapped, across the board, Philadelphia Eagles fans were enjoying something they hadn’t felt in a while. They still haven’t come down from this mixture of hope and an adrenaline rush. Something about landing Nakobe Dean in the third round when many would have taken him in the first sent shockwaves through this fan base and organization. Then, the hits kept coming with the undrafted free-agent rookie class. If you need evidence of how much the Birds believe in Carson Strong, look no further than the amount of guaranteed money they gave him to sign on. A $320,000 bonus for a guy that didn’t hear his name called in seven rounds is a lot, but this guy might be worth it. Injury questions aside, two things were obvious when Philly rolled the dice on another Carson. One, there was no way he was wearing the number 12 jersey. Second, this is someone that really could have gone in the mid-rounds. He’s that good. Sorry Reid Sinnett! It isn’t looking good! There’s no way the Birds are cutting this guy, and there’s no way they’re stashing him on the practice squad so another team can swoop in (pun intended) and steal him. Keep an eye on him and the three guys that follow on this list. So, no one else feels like Britain Covey and Devon Allen are battling each other for a roster spot? The next time you’re hanging out with your buddies and you’re discussing Eagles football, pay close attention to how much time you spend discussing the wide receiver position. If you aren’t careful, that conversation could go on for an hour or more. After all, 12 guys are competing for what figures to be six roster spots, and we know at least three of those 12 guys are making the roster: A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins. Speed alone does not a wide receiver make in the National Football League, but it’s certainly fun to talk about, and every time we take a trip to YouTube to check out some highlights of Britain Covey taking one to the house or we see Devon Allen light up the track in any meeting that he’s competing in, it’s hard not to think of that speed translating to the gridiron. Still, you can make arguments that support and refute claims that one of them can make the roster. What if the Birds decided to carry two tight ends? What if they did something unconventional and carved out one roster spot that they’d use specifically to house a return ace. Again, it’s doubtful, but they most certainly need one. In theory, that might be the only way Covey or Allen make the roster. They’re both currently staring up on the depth chart at Zach Pascal, Deon Cain, Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward, Josh Hammond, and John Hightower on the depth chart. Kennedy Brooks brings an added dimension currently missing from the Eagles’ running game. It’s been a long time since LeGarrette Blount ran around and, often, over the competition and into the hearts of Eagles fans forever. He wasn’t here long, 16 regular-season games and a three-game march to the Vince Lombardi Trophy during the postseason that followed, but his exit left a void that has yet to be filled long-term. Everyone’s clamored for that workhorse that can chew up yards late if Philly is up on the scoreboard, that guy that can pound the ball between the tackles and provide value in the red zone and on third down. At times, they’ve had that. Jordan Howard comes to mind, but Howard has proven that he isn’t going to be able to give Philly a full 17 games because of his running style. Kennedy Brooks enters 2022’s version of Eagles training camp with fresh legs and a skill set that distinguishes him from Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, in his draft profile of the former Oklahoma Sooners standout, gave him a grade of 6.11 and described him as a "good backup with the potential to develop into a starter”. Finding Brooks in the pool of undrafted rookies has to qualify as a steal for the Eagles offense. We said that when Philly drafted Gainwell in Round 5 last year. We were right, and we’re more confident that Brooks will be able to do the same thing in his rookie campaign this season. He may find himself ahead of Jason Huntley as the fourth running back on Philadelphia’s depth chart in no time. Josh Jobe could make a serious run at an Eagles roster spot… maybe. During a season-long battle with turf toe in his final run at the collegiate level with the Alabama Crimson Tide, Josh Jobe proved he was a solid corner opposite Jalyn Armour-Davis who won the other starting outside cornerback job as the replacement for Patrick Surtain. Before a late-season injury that required surgery, Jobe was Bama’s most talented corner. Philly landed him as one of a trio of intriguing young cornerbacks. Josh Blackwell (Duke Blue Devils) and Mario Goodrich are the other two. Don’t be shocked if it’s Goodrich that proves he’s the most prepared to prove he’s ready for the bright lights of the NFL. Blackwell’s stat line wasn’t overly impressive. He broke up 20 passes during his four-year, 32-game college football career. He never intercepted a pass, but he’d provide tremendous value on special teams. Goodrich was the teammate of a first-round draft choice in 2022, Andrew Booth Jr., but there were times during the season when Goodrich looked every bit the future NFL star that Booth was. The Eagles’ situation at cornerback looks a lot like what’s happening at wide receiver. There are a ton of bodies (13). Three will, most certainly, make the roster (Darius Slay, James Bradberry, and Avonte Maddox), and that means ten guys are battling for what’s probably three jobs on the 53-man roster. We can argue that Goodrich, Blackwell, and Jobe have to pass the likes of Tay Gowan, Craig James, Mac McCain III, Zech McPhearson, Jimmy Moreland, Josiah Scott, and Kary Vincent Jr. on the depth chart to have legitimate shots at roster spots, but we can also argue that we aren’t sure that the UDFA rookies aren’t already as good as those guys are. It should be an intriguing battle at camp. Noah Elliss looks like someone threw an Eagles jersey on a tree. Nothing says ‘nose tackle in a 3-4 defensive scheme’ like six-foot-four and 346 pounds. Defensive linemen are going to be sick of trying to move Noah Elliss off of the line of scrimmage by the time the fourth quarter arrives, but they may not have to. Once we reach September and we’re discussing who should be left off of the Eagles’ 53-man roster, Elliss figures to fall victim to the numbers game. Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, and Milton Williams will all make the roster, and even though Cox and Hargrave aren’t signed past the coming season, the Birds have some young guys hanging out on the roster who are worthy of a conversation: Marvin Wilson, Renell Wren, and the first of Philly’s trio of sixth-round draft choices in 2021, Marlon Tuipulotu. Perhaps the Eagles will rely on a mix of multiple fronts during the 2022 season seeing as how Cox and Williams’ presence makes more sense in the traditional 4-3 defensive alignment. We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but before we get there, it should be fun to see how some of the young guys develop. Keep an eye on Noah Elliss even though he has a tough hill to climb to make Philadelphia’s 53-man roster. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/06/25/undrafted-eagles-rookies-roster-spots/
  2. Eagles defensive strategy begins with their front (as it should) by Dennis Olson11 hours ago Follow @Dennis_Olson6 The philosophy of the Philadelphia Eagles since Howie Roseman has been their general manager (and even before that when Andy Reid handled those duties) has been to build from the trenches and then work from there. Everything starts up front. The Eagles have shown, year in and year out, how much value they place in constructing the offensive and defensive lines, and that hasn’t changed in 2022. Howie dedicated much of his time during the most recent offseason to addressing the defensive line, all to allow himself the opportunity of making two big acquisitions. The Eagles signed EDGE star Haason Reddick back in March at the dawn of the most recent free-agency frenzy. His role? Rely on those big guys up front to push the pocket while he bends at gets to the other team’s signal-caller. The self-proclaimed "weapon” and Camden County native is returning home to the Birds and is looking to be a major force as one of the team’s upgrades at the linebacker position. In addition to Reddick, the Eagles traded up during Round 1 of the most recent NFL Draft to select Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle Jordan Davis. The 2021 Chuck Bednarik Award winner, an award given to the top defensive player in the country, was the anchor of Georgia’s star-studded defensive line. Both Dean and Reddick’s addition, along with the returning stars the Birds fielded in 2021 will be the driving force behind the success of Jonathan Gannon’s defense. The Eagles’ defensive line will need to be one of this team’s strengths (and it probably will be). Last season, the Eagles ranked second to last in the NFL in the sack category with 29. For a team whose desire was to push the pocket and get to the quarterback, that was a massive disappointment. It was clear that they needed more juice. New additions along the line and the return of fan-favorite Brandon Graham will, hopefully, lead to more QB takedowns and pressures during the 2022-2023 NFL season. Looking at the defensive line as a whole, this team is loaded with both depth and talent. At defensive tackle, there’s Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, and Milton Williams. The defensive end group consists of Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham, and Tarron Jackson. The SAM position (middle linebackers) includes the aforementioned Haason Reddick, Kyron Johnson, T.J. Edwards, and Patrick Johnson. The Eagles have invested a vast amount of resources into building this defensive line. They have one of the deepest units in football with Pro Bowl-level talent all over the place. They’ll need to step up big time in 2022 and carry the load. The Eagles’ secondary continues to be a concern. They have holes all over the place, primarily at safety and the outside cornerback position opposite of Darius Slay. While both areas are huge needs, a strong and consistent pass rush by the defensive line can take the pressure off of the secondary (somewhat). That appears to be the plan as it always is, for now. Don’t rule out the possibility of Philly making a few more additions at some point. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/05/20/eagles-pass-rush-defensive-success/
  3. 3 Reasons the Eagles still may not find their quarterback in 2023 Don’t be shocked if Jalen Hurts is still the Eagles’ quarterback in 2023. It’s gotten to a point where we say the same things about the Philadelphia Eagles every offseason. They always need a wide receiver or a cornerback (or both). Our faith in vice president/general manager Howie Roseman teeters between minimal or downright nonexistent. We’re annoyed with this team’s negligence in addressing the linebacker position. There always seems to be a need for another if not two more safeties. Here’s another narrative that we can probably add to the annual offseason mix going forward. ‘Next season, Jalen Hurts will, again, be auditioning for the Philadelphia Eagles’ starting quarterback job’. Let’s focus on that one for a second. Most of us knew that Hurts had the role of being the Eagles QB1 locked up early in 2022’s offseason. Come on. The Eagles never had a shot at Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson. On top of that, no one feels like it’s a foregone conclusion that the best quarterbacks in 2021’s draft class are upgrades, so we gave up on Philly drafting any of those guys before the new league year began. Following Philly’s recent trade with the New Orleans Saints, one that involved eight draft choices, some people are happy with Howie Roseman, Some feel that he’s decided to focus on the long-term health of this Eagles roster. Some feel he just wanted to ensure the Eagles had the draft capital necessary to draft a quarterback in 2023 if Jalen Hurts doesn’t work out. Others still believe that it’s a combination of both of those things. What’s sad is we, again, have to talk about the same things throughout the entire 2022-2023 NFL season. This team is spinning its wheels and waiting for next season. This team isn’t good enough, and again, if Jalen Hurts isn’t the long-term answer at quarterback, what do we do now? Sadly, even with two first-round draft choices at their disposal in next year’s selection meeting, it’s highly possible that the Eagles still won’t find their quarterback next offseason which will mean Jalen Hurts will again be the guy in 2023. Here are three reasons why those are very believable statements. 1. The QBs that figure to be available during free agency in 2023 aren’t attractive options. Just take a look at some of the names of some of the quarterbacks that are scheduled to hit the open market in 2023. Let’s begin with Lamar Jackson. He’s the guy that we believe has the best chance of being retained by his current franchise. Perhaps we can also throw Tom Brady in that discussion. If TB12 wants to play, it’s doubtful that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will tell him that they don’t want him. We’ve watched the drama that has existed between Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals all offseason, but come on. Why on Earth would the Cards move on from him? Who are they going to find that’s better in the next draft class or free agency? That brings us to the rest of the list. Look at some of these names, and please make sure that you’re sitting down when you do so: Jimmy Garoppolo. Derek Carr, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock. We’ll just stop right there. Trust us on this one. The list won’t improve any. What if the Eagles traded for a quarterback? You aren’t going to like that option either. You don’t want Kirk Cousins or someone like that, do you? Sure, there are options in free agency. We just don’t like any of them. If it comes down to keeping Hurts or rolling the dice on any of the guys we just mentioned, we’d all probably rather stick with Hurts. We definitely aren’t packaging any picks to trade for a guy. 2. The Eagles have done nothing to make the offense more alluring for a veteran QB. Guess what? Since 2017, the Philadelphia Eagles have drafted 37 players. One of them has earned a Pro Bowl nod, Josh Sweat. Now, you may not pay attention to things like that, but guys in the NFL do. If you want to lure the best quarterbacks to your team, there’s one surefire way to make that happen. You have to field a team that one of the best quarterbacks wants to play on. Sure, the Eagles have some guys. DeVonta Smith, Miles Sanders, and Dallas Goedert come to mind, but the fact of the matter is this team simply doesn’t have enough talent. If they did, they wouldn’t have posted nine wins in three of the past four seasons. The Eagles are running it back with Jalen Hurts in 2022. The problem is they still haven’t gotten him much help and they’re also running it back with most of the players that contributed to a 9-8 finish and an embarrassing crash-and-burn performance in the first round of the NFL Playoffs. Zach Pascal? Really? Ask yourselves a serious question. Do you expect the Eagles to take a step forward after watching what they’ve done in the offseason? Ask yourselves another question. If you’re an above-average to an elite quarterback, are you packing your bags and setting up shop as the leading man for an Eagles franchise that now always seems to be content with getting better next year? 3. It’s doubtful that the Eagles will have a shot at landing one of the QBs they’re interested in? Unless the Eagles wind up with a top-five selection, which they probably won’t, they probably won’t like next year’s quarterback prospects any more than they like the guys who are considered to be the top targets in this year’s selection meeting. If we were to guess, who would we say are the best quarterbacks in the 2023 draft class are? Let’s just throw two names out there, C.J. Stroud of the Ohio State Buckeyes and the reigning/defending Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young of the Alabama Crimson Tide. They’d have to be considered the cream of the crop, right? Who else are we going to go with? D.J. Uiagalelei? Spencer Rattler? Jayden Daniels? Phil Jerkovec? Will Levis? Anthony Richardson? We won’t pick any of these guys’ games apart yet. We have the entire 2022 college football season to do that, but let’s be serious. Are we certain that there’s a blue-chipper in this draft class that isn’t to be found in the one that preceded it? Stroud delivered for the Buckeyes in 2021. 4,435 yards passing and 44 touchdowns versus only six interceptions is nothing to sneeze at. One can argue that things are a little easier when you have NFL receivers to throw to (it isn’t like things have translated for Justin Fields yet), but let’s not hold the fact that Stroud had great teammates against him. Young tossed 47 scores versus only seven picks, and he completed 66.9 percent of his attempts en route to 4,872 yards passing. He also scored three times as a runner. When all is said and done, Stroud and Young figure to be the first two quarterbacks taken, and they figure to go high. It’s doubtful that the Eagles will have a shot at landing either one of them, and it’s doubtful that they’re going to like the guys behind them. So, how are the Eagles in a better spot to draft a quarterback a year from now than they are now? Why are we talking about trading picks for a quarterback again? Ladies and gentlemen, say this out loud because the next Eagles offseason figures to look strikingly similar to the current version. You shouldn’t be surprised if we’re, again, involved in discussions about the 2023 NFL season being a third-consecutive audition for Mr. Hurts. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/04/10/eagles-quarterback-2023-nfl-draft/
  4. Ranking best Eagles CB draft options after Ahmad Gardner, Derek Stingley It’s time for the Eagles to invest some early-round draft capital in a cornerback. Conversations about the Philadelphia Eagles‘ lack of respect for the linebacker position became monotonous a long time ago. How long have we been complaining about this? Since Andy Reid was pacing the sidelines? What doesn’t get mentioned as often is the fact that Philly’s enthusiasm for investing early draft capital into improving their secondary doesn’t exceed their noticeable and blatant negligence for the linebacker position by a wide margin. We know! We’ve heard this a million times. The Eagles haven’t taken a linebacker in the first round of any NFL Draft since they took Jerry Robinson out of UCLA back in 1979, but when was the last time they took a cornerback during the selection meeting’s opening night? You have to rewind the tape to the addition of Lito Sheppard 26th-overall in 2002. Before that, we haven’t seen a defensive back taken by this team since they added Ben Smith in 1990 and Roynell Young in 1980. That’s it… That’s your list of first-round DBs taken by this proud organization. No one would complain if the jinx was broken with one of those first-rounders in 2022. We expect Ahmad Gardner to be off of everyone’s big board early. We’ve heard rumors that Derek Stingley could surprise everyone and fall to Philly, but that isn’t a guarantee. They’re the cream of the crop though. They’re the best of the bunch. Once they’re off of the board, here are the best cornerbacks the Eagles will have to choose from. Here are two SEC products that might interest the Eagles. Heading into the most recent Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, there were discussions that Kaiir Elam might struggle versus the speedier wide receivers that pro football has to offer. He needed a nice showing in the 40-yard dash to silence those discussions some, and he turned in one. How does 4.39 seconds sound? It’s hard to imagine that anyone who runs that fas could ever have someone question his speed, but whatever. Now, that we have that out of the way, we can discuss other things, like how well he played versus the Alabama Crimson Tide’s gifted receiver corps and the impressive six-foot-two, 196-pound frame. Some NFL team is going to be very happy if they land him. Taking him in Round 1 would be a reach, but if he’s on the board in Round 2, he could be intriguing. At five-foot-eleven and 189 pounds, all roads appear to lead to the slot corner position for former Auburn Tigers standout Roger McCreary. Avonte Maddox has the starting job sewn up for the Birds there, so there are the obligatory conversations about depth. Still, Philadelphia’s more pressing need is on the outside. It’s doubtful that McCreary has any shot at landing with the Eagles, but many of the draft experts rank him ahead of Elam, so we’ll defer to their knowledge here. We rank Eagles potential prospect Andrew Booth slightly behind Kyler Gordon. We’ve seen mock drafts that have projected Clemson’s Andrew Booth to the Eagles at 15 and 16. There have been mocks that have him going to the Eagles at 19. Some projections have him going late in Round 1 and falling out of the first round entirely. The reasons for that are mostly unknown except for the fact that, though this hasn’t been said often, there are questions about whether or not the pre-snap direction he could have been given had more to do with his on-field success than people are letting on. Was Booth really that good or did great coaching and having good talent around him mask some of his deficiencies? The first-round grades for this young man are understandable, but if you’re slightly hesitant about ranking him above Kyler Gordon, easy arguments can be made to support those theories too. Taking Kyler Gordon before the top 20 picks in the NFL Draft seems like a reach, but any theories in which he’s still on the board after the first 20 selections of Round 2 seem like they’re a little farfetched too. Here’s a young man that doesn’t get mentioned enough. He’s six-foot-tall. He tips the scales at 200 pounds, and in his final season in Washington with the Huskies, this future star tallied 45 tackles, two interceptions, and seven pass breakups in his final 12 games at the collegiate level. Daxton Hill and Trent McDuffie are the Eagles’ best options past Sauce and Stingley. It’s almost disrespectful to see how often Daxton Hill has been ignored. He’s six-foot-tall and 192 pounds. He ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash. He can line up and cover outside and slot receivers. That versatility will serve him well at the professional level. Write his name down if you haven’t already. Upon further review, we’re ready to place him in the top five of the best cornerbacks available. Yes, we’re ranking him ahead of Booth. If the Washington Huskies ever find a way to recruit linebackers, offensive linemen, running backs, and wide receivers with the same mastery that they have for finding cornerbacks, this program might become the Alabama of the Pac-12. Add Trent McDuffie to a list of brilliant defensive backs that have come out of the Pacific-Northwest. Now, we know what some of you Eagles fans are thinking. Sidney Jones has turned you off of Washington cornerbacks entirely, but saying you don’t want McDuffie because he and Jones share the same stomping grounds would be like saying the Eagles should never take another Alabama star because Freddie Milons didn’t work out. Trust us on this one. Trent McDuffie is the real deal. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/04/03/eagles-ahmad-gardner-derek-stingley/
  5. Ranking Eagles best trade options at wide receiver during NFL offseason It never ends. Are we still talking about the Philadelphia Eagles‘ need for a wide receiver? Don’t we do this every offseason? Nevermind! Don’t answer that. All that’s going to do is make all of us angry. Then again, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room either. DeVonta Smith is the best wideout on this team. Quez Watkins is a decent second option and Philly’s best deep threat. Once we get past those two, things get tricky. Greg Ward has shown that he can make plays, but the Eagles have shown that they’re never going to stop looking for his replacement. Jalen Reagor and JJ Arcega-Whiteside… How do we say this nicely? Okay, there’s no way to say this nicely AND be honest. They can’t play. So, who’s left? KeeSean Johnson? Deon Cain? John Hightower? It appears that we’ve answered the original question. The Eagles must, again, go out and find a legitimate NFL wide receiver (or two). That leads us to a secondary question. How do they go about finding one? Several draft pundits have attached a wideout to the Birds in their mock drafts. Others have gone another route in their mocks. Sure, they sent a wideout to Philly too, but things only got worse as, in their scenarios, the Birds wound up reaching. Now, let’s say they ignore the wide receiver position in the draft (or they take one late). There are still other options. They can spend a little cash on one in free agency. They can explore some trade options. Let’s focus on that trade idea for a second. Trades rarely happen in the NFL, especially ahead of free agency, but they do occur. It’s time to get creative. Here’s a ranking of four trade options that could make sense. Expect this list to change once or twice before we get to the scouting combine. D.J. Moore isn’t someone the Eagles are eyeing, but he should be. Okay, as tempting as it is to daydream about an Eagles spending spree with all of the new financial freedom they’ve found, it isn’t wise to go blowing money like an 18-year-old that just got his or her first credit card. We’ve all been there. We also remember what it was like when we got that first credit card bill. To maintain Philly’s ability to remain competitive in offseasons that will follow the one they navigate through in 2022, they’ll need to do a better job of managing their coins than they’ve done in the past. That means they’ll need to ‘ball on a budget’. Better yet, they should find budget-friendly ballers, and D.J. Moore definitely falls in that category. Whenever the top young wide receivers in the game are mentioned, D.J.’s name does not come up. Some of that is the result of playing in a small television market. Some of that stems from the fact that he’s had a lot of balls thrown in his direction from a broken-down Cam Newton, Teddy Bridgewater, and a disappointing Sam Darnold. Make no mistake about it though. This guy is the real deal. This must be said. We’ve never heard Moore’s name mentioned in conjunction with Philadelphia, but even if it never is, he’s the type of guy the Birds need. He’s a veteran presence. He’s cost-effective. D.J. Moore isn’t a popular name when mentioned in topics like these, but it should be. His addition would also allow the Eagles to shed a cap-hogger or two seeing as how there’s this unique history of former Eagles winding up in Carolina. A desperate Washington team could clear the books, and that could be good news for the Eagles. Well, how’s this for getting creative? At the time of this story being written and published, there’s seemingly no trade market for someone like Kansas City Chiefs star Mecole Hardman. Washington Commanders star Terry McLaurin could be another story, but before teams explore that option, they could look to the next free-agent class. Everyone’s charged up about the list of impending free agents that are set to hit the market in 2022, and that will, no doubt, be the most interesting topic of discussion as we near March. Just look at some of these names that are expected to hit free agency’s pool: Allen Robinson, T.Y. Hilton, Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, Will Fuller, Odell Beckham Jr. Snagging one of those guys seems easy enough. As is the case every offseason, however, there’s always the possibility that teams who are looking to move on from guys that are nearing the ends of their deals will listen to offers. It never hurts to see if those guys can be dangled out in front of the other 31 NFL franchises to see if there are any bites, and for a Kansas City Chiefs team, one that’s loaded on talent but staring at the possibility of two of their best players hitting the market in 2023 (Tyreek Hill and Hardman), one can make the argument that they may not pay top-dollar to keep both, especially seeing as how they’re loaded on the offensive side of the ball. Washington always seems to be in a salary-cap prison of their own making, and they may be a little more desperate. Teams don’t always ship talent off to a division rival, so a trade with the Commanders seems like a longshot, but the Birds have had an interest in McLaurin for a while. No Eagles fan would have any issue with seeing him trade a burgundy and gold jersey in for one that’s midnight green in color. Here’s a rumor that Eagles enthusiasts keep hearing (and discussing). You didn’t think Calvin Ridley would be left off of the list, did you? We’ve been talking about this one for a while, and even though we shifted our attention to other matters that were more pressing and watched the rumors of an Alabama reunion die down if you think this one won’t pick up steam again very early in the offseason, you’re fooling yourselves. All it takes is for someone to type up a tweet and we’d be diving head-first into the rumor mill again. It appears that the Atlanta Falcons and former Crimson Tide star Calvin Ridley are content in going their separate ways. Ridley, like everyone else on this list, is signed through the 2022 season, making him an unrestricted free agent in 2023. That means that the Falcons can handle this in one of two ways. One, they can work things out with the 26th-overall selection of the 2018 NFL Draft, and both sides can endure 17 more games together. That would mean that Ridley leaves in 2023 and Atlanta gets nothing. The second option is simple. They can see what they can get for a man that was a Second-Team All-Pro in 2020 and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team two years prior. That makes more sense for a team in desperate need of upgrading most of their roster. Ridley isn’t the perfect choice. He might be a better ‘Robin’ than ‘Batman’, but at only 27 years of age, he has more tread on the tire than Marvin Jones, Jarvis Landry, and Brandin Cooks, three guys who are also expected to hit the free-agent market in 2023. Maybe the Eagles have been fawning over the wrong Seahawks star. It seems like it’s been forever since it happened. Once upon a time, the Eagles, with the 57th-overall selection of the 2019 NFL Draft, took JJ Arcega-Whiteside over D.K. Metcalf who the Seattle Seahawks took seven draft spots later at 64. At the time, it made a little sense. JJAW was described as the second-coming of Alshon Jeffery. D.K. was coming off of a neck injury, so several teams were backing off. Unfortunately, it’s hindsight, not foresight that’s always seen in 20-20 vision, and not only is JJAW so far from being the second coming of Alshon Jeffery but the argument can also be made that Jeffrey Lurie could be as productive on the field as Arcega-Whiteside is. We’re teasing of course (sort of), but missing on D.K. was such a gross error in judgment that its effect has carried over to make other bad decisions by the Eagles’ brain trust seem even worse than they are. Taking Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson was another of Philadelphia’s draft-day snafus, but it’s more agonizing because both Metcalf and Jefferson are stars while JJAW and Reagor continue to struggle. Hre’s where the rubber meets the road. Philly could make all of this right. If they moved on from JJAW by finding anyone willing to take him off of their hands, that would assist in creating room for a potential trade with Seattle to add a wideout that should have been a part of the Eagles’ nest in the first place. Can you imagine the battles he and Slay would have at practice? Can you imagine how that would take both of their games to the next level? We’ve talked ourselves into it. Hopefully, you feel the same way. Someone get Howie Roseman on the line immediately. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/02/07/eagles-trade-options-wide-receiver-nfl/
  6. Thoughts on Jalen Hurts and the Eagles trading Wentz one year later One year has passed since the Eagles moved on from Carson Wentz. What a difference a year makes for not only the Philadelphia Eagles but for the Indianapolis Colts as well. One year ago, both teams were starting over at quarterback, and on February 18th of 2021, the Carson Wentz drama fest would end for the Birds as they shipped their franchise quarterback to the Colts for a third-round draft choice in 2021 and a conditional second-round pick that eventually became a first-rounder. Wentz held up his end of the bargain, playing 75 percent of the regular-season offensive snaps in 2021. That was a delight to Eagles fans everywhere. Philadelphia now owns three first-round selections in the next NFL Draft. Originally, the trade was looked at as a win-win for both teams, with Philadelphia getting a fresh start with soon-to-be new head coach Nick Sirianni and quarterback Jalen Hurts. As far as the Colts were concerned, they were giving Frank Reich his guy. The hope was their reunion would transform Wentz back into the MVP candidate he was in 2017. One year later, it appears that the Colts are ready to move on. Wentz might be looking for another team after failing to get the Colts to the playoffs in a soft AFC South division. Things aren’t perfect in Philly, but Jalen Hurts led his team to the playoffs. That’s more than Carson can say. Here are three thoughts on two quarterbacks that are headed in different directions. The former Eagles QB continued his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde play in Indy. Carson Wentz’s numbers following the 2021-2022 NFL season weren’t horrible. He tossed 27 touchdowns versus only seven interceptions, but numbers don’t often tell the full story. The Colts struggled early in the season (and later on), and Wentz continued the up-and-down play Eagles fans had seen for far too long. In the Week 5 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Wentz put up monster numbers (402 yards passing and two touchdowns), and despite Indy’s 1-4 start, the fans weren’t ready to turn on their quarterback just yet. During the first half of the season, Wentz passed for 2,198 yards and 17 touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions, but in the second half of the season, Wentz’s play declined when the team needed him the most (1,365 passing yards with ten touchdowns versus four interceptions). Yes, the Colts have the elite running back in Jonathan Taylor, but there were times when his efforts weren’t enough, and Carson didn’t do much to help him. One of the worst plays of the year for the embattled quarterback came in Week 8’s loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Colts were backed up near the own goal line with 1:26 left in the game. The score was tied at 24, and Wentz sealed his team’s fate with a left-handed pass. Take a look: CLICK ON LINK TO ARTICLE TO VIEW VIDEO Week 17 was another low point. A win would earn the Colts a playoff berth. Wentz didn’t offer much. He went 16 for 27, passing for 148 yards and one touchdown. The loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars came a week later. Wentz stunk up the joint again, going 17 for 29 with 185 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was sacked six times and lost a fumble. Wentz had an up and down year, as did Jalen Hurts, but the new QB1 in Philadelphia had a much happier end to his regular season. Hurts inconsistent play leads to the Philadelphia Eagles early struggles Before the 2021 season began, the Eagles were expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL by various football experts. After the first two months of the campaign, it appears that they would prove their critics right, and the inconsistent play of Jalen Hurts was a contributing factor to the poor start. Hurts came out with guns blazing as he went 27 for 35 with 262 passing yards and three touchdowns in a dominating opening-day 32-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons, but losses to the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and Kansas City Chiefs followed. Head Coach Nick Sirianni’s game plan to attack through the air wasn’t working, but once the Eagles committed themselves to establishing the ground game, things turned in the second half of the season. As Sirianni started to incorporate the running game more into the Eagles’ game plan, the offense got rolling. Philly ended the regular season with an 8-5 record in their final 13 games, thrusting the Birds to a mark of 9-8 and a playoff berth. Hurts would rush for 900 yards and nine touchdowns over that span, and even though Philly’s season ended in the Wild Card Round with a 31-15 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite some growing pains with Hurts, he had an incredible season running with the ball as he led all quarterbacks in rushing yards (784) and rushing touchdowns (10). Jalen also set a franchise record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season. So who won this trade? Was it the Colts or the Eagles? The Philadelphia Eagles won in the Carson Wentz trade Can you believe it? Howie Roseman pulled off a great trade that worked in the Eagles’ favor. Philadelphia’s general manager gets a lot of criticism for his moves and draft selections ( and rightly so), but this trade could be remembered for a long time as one that got the Birds out of a bad situation and gave them a fresh start. The Philadelphia Eagles traded a quarterback who seemed to give up on the team (and himself), one who seemingly won’t return to the near-MVP form he reached in 2017. Roseman finagled his way out of paying Wentz that big contract… well, some of it anyway. That freed up some money and after using the third-round pick he acquired in Wentz’s trade to move up into the 10th spot in the first round of last year’s draft, he landed star rookie wide receiver, DeVonta Smith. The former Heisman Trophy winner is off to a good start (64 receptions for 916 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns in his rookie season), and as mentioned earlier, he managed to snag another first-rounder in the trade thanks to Wentz playing 75% of Indy’s offensive snaps. The Colts, on the other hand, didn’t just land a quarterback that failed them, they lost on this trade because after mortgaging some of the future to acquire Frank Reich’s guy, they’re back in the market for a franchise signal-caller. They definitely didn’t get what they paid for. One can say the story still isn’t done, that the Eagles might move on from Hurts. Some might ask if that can truly be used as ammunition for the ‘Eagles won the trade’ argument, but Hurts was a second-round draft selection that no one expected to start. If he takes the next step, Howie will be seen as being a genius. Roseman shouldn’t move on from Hurts. Not yet. He should use the Eagles’ draft capital to build up the receiving corps and give Jalen and this Eagles defense some weapons. Philadelphia has a young offense. Hurts has proven he can be the leader that this team needs. Coming off of a playoff season, the future in Philadelphia might be a little brighter than we originally thought. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/02/19/jalen-hurts-eagles-trading-wentz/
  7. 3 thoughts as Howie Roseman’s deal with the Eagles nears its end Who would have thunk? Howie Roseman is, again, on the minds of Eagles fans. We haven’t even reached the start of the new League Year, which is set for March 16th, and if we didn’t know any better, we could probably make the argument that it’s started already. After all, there aren’t any days off for the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the other 31 franchises, right? Before we even reached kickoff in the most recent Super Bowl, everyone who was a fan of one of the 30 teams who weren’t playing had their mind was on mock drafts, the next class of NFL rookies, free agency, and the coming draft. It seems like we say this every offseason, but the next few months will be huge for this Eagles team. We’ve been so busy discussing the contracts of Eagles players that we forgot about Howie Roseman‘s deal. You know, the one that expires in 2022. Jeffrey Lurie has a decision to make after the NFL’s 2022-2023 season concludes as his vice president/general manager, a man who’s been with the Eagles organization in some capacity or another since 2000, is nearing the end of a shiny new deal he signed back in 2018. Are you interested? We figured you would be. Buckle up. There’s much to discuss. There are three things to consider concerning Howie Roseman and the Eagles. Remember how good things were in August of 2018? The Eagles were coming off of a Super Bowl. Howie Roseman had just won the Pro Football Writers Association Executive of the Year Award, and everyone was buzzing about a ‘new norm’ that Doug Pederson was talking about. It seemed Doug and Howie would be a part of the organization for years to come. Hold up! Wait a minute! Y’all thought we were finished (in our Meek Mill voices)… Fast forward back to the present, and things have changed. Doug is the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars now. Half of the Eagles’ fan base can’t stand the sight of Howie Roseman. Here are three things to think about now as Howie enters the biggest season of his career. 1. Dare we say Jalen Hurts might save Howie’s job? While it’s easy to bring up bad contract extensions that look even worse years later (Alshon Jeffery’s for instance), it has to be stated that, even though it’s easy to forget that Howie’s job description encompasses more than managing the salary cap and gearing up for the draft, if we’re being fair, once you get over the way he’s butchered the wide receiver position, Roseman’s drafts aren’t terrible. They aren’t great either, but they aren’t atrocious. Every NFL team misses on draft picks, but take the Jalen Hurts selection in 2020 for example. Viewed as a horrible decision at the time, that one seems to have worked out in Howie’s favor. Jalen has a long way to go, but after Carson Wentz’s sudden and rapid regression, it was nice to have that card to play. We’ll see how things go in year three. Jalen, if he’s able to take the next step, could help Howie earn a new deal at the end of the 2022-2023 NFL season. Unless of course… You know what? It’s probably time that we move on to the next theory. Expect some huge roster moves by this Eagles team in 2022. Nothing says ‘win now’ like a contract reaching its end. Many of the fans have called for Howie’s dismissal, but we’ve never heard anything that demonstrates Eagles Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie was ready to move on. There might be a reason for that. 2. Jeffrey Lurie is fiercely loyal to Howie Roseman. Forget football, here’s something that will always be true in any business. No one hangs around an organization for two decades if the owner doesn’t like them or trust them. Howie Roseman has worked his way up through this Eagles’ organization after starting as a member of the salary cap staff counsel (2000-2002) to now being the executive vice president/general manager. He’s seen four head coaches (Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, Doug Pederson, Nick Sirianni), and while some agonize over whether Howie should be given the pink slip, we’ve seen huge demonstrations of Lurie’s loyalty to Howie before. When it came down to deciding between Doug Pederson and Howie, Jeffrey chose Howie. Many moons before that, former Eagles president Joe Banner, who was also a childhood friend of Jeffrey Lurie’s, got into a power struggle with Roseman. Roseman stayed. Banner didn’t. Sure, we can go back and forth about what we think, but when you weigh the evidence, things seem to be pretty clear. Howie’s job is a lot safer than you might think. As it always is, the next Eagles season will be intriguing for more reasons than one. Philadelphia enters the 2022 offseason with draft capital and money to spend. Howie Roseman will get another shot to build what everyone hopes is a winning roster. Don’t look now, but whether you’re a fan of his or not, there’s some potential with an Eagles team that just made the postseason to conclude the 2021-2022 NFL season. That’s good for the general manager. There is one more thing you need to consider, however. 3. Don’t be shocked if those QB rumors pick up steam again. As stated earlier, nothing says ‘win now’ more than the end of a contract extension. The Eagles have proven that they can win with Jalen Hurts. They just haven’t proven that they can beat elite quarterbacks, and here’s something else that you can bet bottom dollar on. The Eagles want one of those elite quarterbacks on their team. Jalen Hurts can grow into one. The question is this. How patient are the Birds going to be? Sure, we were told that Jalen’s job is safe, but Howie’s under a microscope. No one plays the ‘it’s him or me’ game better than you know who. If you believe the Eagles won’t pull the plug on the current QB1 if they have a shot at acquiring an elite quarterback or if Jalen struggles quickly, you haven’t been paying attention. Nine wins and barely speaking into the playoffs may not cut it. Dare we say Howie Roseman is on a much warmer seat? Who’s ready for some football? We most certainly are! Time is flying. You won’t have to wait much longer. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/02/20/eagles-news-howie-roseman-deal/
  8. Philadelphia Eagles five easiest roster decisions for the offense Might the Eagles shop two former first-rounders during the 2022 offseason? Everyone that was watching remembers the night the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor with the 21st-overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft. There was excitement because we were all quarantining (and the draft was the first live sporting event that we had seen in a while). There was also the shock and horror that came along with Philly’s decision to take Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson. Reagor’s selection, ever since that night, has stung for another reason. One, Jefferson has blossomed into a star, and Reagor hasn’t. Second, the Eagles had also taken Andre Dillard with the 22nd-overall selection of the 2019 NFL Draft. That decision hasn’t produced much fruit either. Dillard missed the entire 2020 NFL season due to torn biceps. We’ve also learned that he’s, at best, average and incapable of playing right tackle. Seeing him lose his spot to a former rugby star that never played American football before 2018 hasn’t helped his case either. The Eagles, if they’re wise, will spend some time trying to shop them both. Philly’s brass can be stubborn, but if they’re wise, they’ll shop both to see what interested trade partners are willing to offer. They’ll never get more for either guy than they can get for them right now. That should be one of the easiest roster decisions that the Eagles make as we enter the offseason. Here are for more that also qualify. It’s time for the Eagles to finally end the JJ Arcega-Whiteside experiment. There’s this old philosophy that talks about captains going down with the ship. We get it. We completely understand its meaning. Very rarely, however, have we heard about ships going down because of the captain though unless, of course, you want to bring up The Titanic. Either way, that’s still a bad look. Now, while JJ Arcega-Whiteside has never proven to be a leader on this team, in the locker room or on the field, we’d like to tie him to that sinking ship analogy. Ever since his selection by the Eagles with the 57th-overall selection, during Round 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft, he’s done nothing to prove that he’s worthy of the organization placing so much faith in him. He was labeled, internally, as the second coming of Alshon Jeffery in his prime. Unfortunately, he more closely resembles the broken-down Alshon Jeffery that we last saw. Heck, Jeffrey Lurie might even look better running routes. Okay, that last statement might be a stretch, but it isn’t much of one. We realize that Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni calls him Philly’s ‘enforcer’ and all, but the jig is up. The Eagles’ brass isn’t going to pacify the fan base with that ‘this is the year’ rhetoric. The experiment has run its course. It’s failed, and it’s time to move on. If the Miami Dolphins were willing to take Mack Hollins and give him playing time, we’re convinced that we can get something for JJAW. At this point, we’ll take anything, and yes, we do mean anything… a pack of crackers… more snacks in the break room… yes fans, anything! The Eagles need to do whatever it takes to land Mike Williams. By now, we’ve all agonized over the Eagles’ snafus when it comes to drafting wide receivers long enough. There are times when it feels like Howie Roseman is a spy who’s been sent to ruin this team from the inside. After much discussion, we’ve realized that he’s on our side. He just has no clue about how to evaluate and draft wide receiver prospects. It’s for that reason that we’re on the side of him trying to buy one this time around. We realize that these types of conversations can be subjective, but here’s our theory on who the top wide receivers are that are expected to hit the free-agency pool in March. Davante Adams (Green Bay) Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay) Mike Williams (LA Chargers) Odell Beckham Jr. (LA Rams) Allen Robinson (Chicago) There are others, but no one should object too much about those guys earning a place in the top five. Here’s what you want to think about if you’re like us and you believe the Birds are better suited to buy a receiver than draft one. Davante Adams is sure to cost more than the Eagles will want to pay. That’s if the Green Bay Packers allow him to walk in free agency. There’s no guarantee of that. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not allow Chris Godwin to get away either, but if both test free agency, they’ll be the most expensive fish in the pool. Mike Williams is the third-best receiver in free agency. Odell Beckham Jr. proved he has some juice left, but he’s deteriorating physically. There are no guarantees with Allen Robinson. The Eagles have freed up some cap space, but they don’t need to blow all of their money on Adams or Godwin. Williams won’t be inexpensive either, but in terms of the best bang for Philly’s bucks, this may be the guy. He also gives them the veteran presence in the locker room they’ve needed for a while. The Eagles need to move on from Nate Herbig and Jason Croom. There isn’t much of a need for dissection or a ton of thought here. The Eagles expect Isaac Seumalo to return from injury in 2022 (more on that in a second). He’s never made a Pro Bowl. He’s never been voted All-Pro, but it’s easy to get overlooked when you’ve had Jason Peters, Jordan Mailata, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson as teammates. Make no mistake about it though. Isaac is the best left guard no one talks about. Behind him on the depth chart is Landon Dickerson. Philly also has solid youth at the guard position with Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta, and Kayode Awosika. There’s no need to spend money on Nate Herbig that can be used to fill a more pressing need at another position, nor do the Eagles need to hang on to tight end Jason Croom. Even though he’s earned the rare distinction of having his lone NFL reception result in a touchdown, there isn’t much of an argument for him staying. Dallas Goedert is set as this team’s TE1, and the Birds have better prospects at the position in Jack Stoll, Tyree Jackson (if they can get something out of him), and Noah Togiai. The Eagles can also draft a tight end come April if they’re pressed about adding another body. The Eagles must extend Isaac Seumalo. Gosh, you guys have a great memory. If you’re thinking to yourselves that we mentioned Isaac Seumalo as someone the Eagles could consider trading to clear even more cap room, you’re right. There are always two sides to every story though, and while there’s nothing wrong with asking if it’s wide for the Birds to consider moving on and saving themselves the $7.6 million he’d be due in 2022 (he counts as 5.8 million in dead money), there’s no denying the fact that this team’s offensive line is, without question, better with him than they are without him. If you’ll remember, he was a big part of this team’s O-line winning the Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year Award on the eve of Super Bowl LII. Seumalo is signed through the 2022 season, and this team has proven that they can win without him, but this is one of the better players on this team’s offensive roster. Again, he’s the best left guard that no one talks about when he’s healthy. This team isn’t in a position where they can ship off their best players, and Seumalo definitely falls into that category, It’s time for Howie Roseman to get on the line with Isaac’s agent. It’s time to begin discussing whether or not an extension can be drawn up. Sure, he missed most of the 2021-2022 NFL season with an injury, but overall, he’s proven to be fairly sturdy. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/02/19/eagles-easiest-roster-decisions-offense/
  9. NFL writer believes Jalen Hurts puts Eagles in ‘QB purgatory’ Even if we all disagree about which side of the argument we support, we can understand why the debate exists. Following four starts as QB1 to close his rookie season, the Philadelphia Eagles still weren’t banking on Jalen Hurts. Instead, they held on to the hope that they could repair the burned bridge linking themselves and Carson Wentz. We all know how that turned out. Though few believed the second-round draftee from Alabama Crimson Tide and Oklahoma Sooners fame would eventually slide past Wentz on the depth chart, that’s exactly what happened. Rumor has it that Carson saw the signs early, and that helped lead to his lack of confidence and on-field deterioration. Time has flown by. Wentz is gone, and the 2022-2023 NFL season will be Hurts’ third. His second, one that doubled as an 18-week, 17-game audition, was supposed to answer our questions about him, about whether or not he’s the man to lead this franchise. It didn’t do that at all, and that’s why conversations about whether or not the Eagles are in the market for a quarterback remain. We close in on the NFL Scouting Combine, the next free-agency cycle, and the 2022 NFL Draft. Don’t expect the questions about Jalen Hurts or the rumor mill churning around his name to slow down any. Jalen Hurts lands in what ESPN calls ‘QB purgatory’. Here’s something that you’re certain to find as being interesting. One of ESPN’s more trusted voices, staff writer Jeremy Fowler, recently constructed a list of ‘overhaul tiers’ for each of the NFL’s 32 NFL franchises. The Philadelphia Eagles landed in the category of teams who are ‘stuck in QB purgatory’. Are you interested? We thought you might be. Here’s some of what Fowler had to say on the subject. It’s fair to say that many would agree with his assessment. He also mentioned Philly’s offensive line, commending them for their solid play, but he also expresses concern about Philly’s secondary. Again, it doesn’t take much to see where he’s coming from there. Successful teams often build from the trenches and work their way to the perimeter, but the consistently elite teams field elite quarterbacks. People are worried in Philadelphia, and as stated earlier, even if you believe that they shouldn’t be, you can see why they are. Everything we thought we liked about Hurts was confirmed in 2022. We knew that he was mature. We knew that he was super-focused and a leader. If that was all that it took to be a franchise quarterback, there’s no question that Hurts would be the guy. Unfortunately, just being good enough won’t cut it. The NFL’s elite players at the position must also prove that they can win from the pocket on a week-in and week-out basis. Franchise quarterbacks must be able to outduel other signal-callers in that upper tier and elevate teammates. Those are the areas in which questions about Hurts come from. When he’s shared the field with some of the game’s better talent at the position, he’s normally been outclassed. That doesn’t mean that he won’t improve. There’s no reason to believe that he won’t as he gains experience, but no one knows how much time he’ll be given, not even the Eagles themselves. How patient do they intend to be? It shouldn’t take long to figure it out, but for now, the franchise is stuck in neutral, asking the same questions that they asked themselves last season: Is Jalen Hurts the guy? Should Philly explore other options for the position? Have we seen the best that Hurts has to offer, or is he another, shall we say, Russell Wilson? The pressure is as intense as it ever was. We’ll see if it forges Jalen Hurts into a diamond or proves he’s a pipe on the verge of bursting. Stay tuned. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/02/12/nfl-jalen-hurts-eagles-purgatory/
  10. Potential Eagles free-agent targets with connections to Jonathan Gannon Might Jonathan Gannon’s return influence how the Eagles attack free agency? It’s been a roller-coaster ride for Jonathan Gannon over the past year. There’s no other way his journey can be described. Shortly after Nick Sirianni was named as the Philadelphia Eagles‘ head coach, he went to work on assembling his staff. Gannon, a man that spent the past three seasons with him in the Indianapolis Colts organization, was his choice to lead the defense. Sirianni was Indy’s offensive coordinator from 2018 to 2020. J.G. also served as a part of Frank Reich’s staff. He was the defensive backs coach for the Colts over that same period. One of the immediate questions that came after Gannon’s hire centered around the fact that he had never called plays before. Let’s just say there were growing pains. J.G.’s defense saw criticism as they were bludgeoned on a week-in and week-out basis. There are moments where they looked like they had a handle on things, but they also made pedestrian quarterbacks look like Joe Montana. Gannon was called out publicly by Fletcher Cox on one occasion and Javon Hargrave on another. People were calling for his job before the midpoint of the season. Somehow J.G. righted his ship but heading into the offseason, there’s much to fix on the defensive side of the ball. Now, while that may not sound like a future head coach, by the time we reached the end of the Eagles’ season, Gannon was a candidate that several teams were interested in. Go figure. In the end, several interviews led to nothing, and J.G. is expected to be Philadelphia’s D.C. again in 2022. The Birds are armed with draft capital and money to spend in free agency. The expectation is that holes will be filled on Gannon’s side of the ball. Philly should and can be expected to be players in free agency. Some of the available talent has connections to you know who. Let’s take a look at a handful. Here are five guys that should have a market. Might the Philadelphia Eagles be among the interested parties? Anthony Barr is a better option than a former Vikings LB the Eagles added in 2021. It’s no secret that Gannon’s arrival in Philly had a lot to do with two former Minnesota Vikings being added during last year’s free-agency signing period seeing as how Gannon spent four seasons in Minneapolis as the Vikings’ assistant DBs coach of course. Eric Wilson signed a one-year deal on April 14th. Anthony Harris was added via a one-year prove-it deal of his own almost one full month earlier on March 16th. Wilson struggled mightily and was released on November 3rd after starting two of the seven games that he appeared in. Harris was much better for Philly than his former Vikings teammate was. He’s no Brian Dawkins, but he fared well in Gannon’s scheme, eventually settling into an above-average safety rotation that also featured Rodney McLeod and a steadily-improving Marcus Epps. Has he gotten good or what? All that’s been said to say this. Wilson’s struggles probably won’t have any effect on the interest the Eagles brass could have in another Minnesota linebacker, Anthony Barr. He’s one of Minnesota’s impending free agents, and he fills a huge need for these Birds on the defensive side of the ball if h hits the market. He turns 30 in March, and that will turn some teams off. Still, he’d be a tremendous player at the second level in the Eagles’ 4-3 scheme. Four of his eight NFL seasons have ended with his name being added to the Pro Bowl roster. That hasn’t happened since 2018, but Barr is more than capable. Keep an eye on him. He could be added for a bargain price. Could Mackensie Alexander fill a potential void on the opposite side of Darius Slay? During two of J.G.’s four seasons in Minneapolis as the Vikings’ assistant defensive backs coach, he got to know Mackensie Alexander very well after Minnesota made the former Clemson Tigers star the 54th-overall selection during Round 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft. Alexander arrived, and the expectations were he’d provide immediate results. After all, he was a First-team All-ACC nod and a Third-team All-American following his final season at the collegiate level in 2015. It hasn’t quite worked out as the Vikes would have liked. His first four seasons at football’s highest level concluded with a trip to the injured reserve. The Cincinnati Bengals added him by way of a one-year deal on March 30th before the Vikes re-signed him for a second stint on March 29th of last year. Alexander figures to walk during the offseason. He’s never been voted to a Pro Bowl. He’s never been an All-Pro, but if there’s one area where Jonathan Gannon excels, it’s in getting the best out of his secondary. In Gannon’s scheme during the 2021-2022 season, Darius Slay enjoyed a Pro Bowl season. Avonte Maddox had a fantastic run. The Birds found a nice rotation a safety. Don’t rule out the possibility of Alexander finally reaching his ceiling if he reunites with J.G. That is if the Philadelphia Eagles have any interest. Only time will tell if they are. Could Xavier Rhodes re-establish himself in an Eagles jersey? Once upon a time, Xavier Rhodes was seen by many as being one of the best young corners in the game. Now, he’s 31 years old. He turns 32 in June, and he figures to leave the Indianapolis Colts three months before that happens. That would mean that Indy had decided to move on after one season. Rhodes’ story is similar to that of Mackensie Alexander’s. They both played under Gannon in Minnesota. They both have made their living by chasing some of the game’s best wideouts around, but Rhodes has done something that Alexander couldn’t. He’s found his way onto three Pro Bowl rosters (2016, 2017, and 2019). On March 13th of 2020, Minnesota released Rhodes after seven years. With Indy, he earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after picking Sam Darnold off twice in Week 3 of the most recent NFL season. The only way to connect the dots between the Eagles and Rhodes is to, again, bring up the four seasons that they shared from 2014 to 2017. Still, even if you do so, it seems highly unlikely that Philly would want to start and pay top dollar for two cornerbacks who are over the 30-year-old threshold. Who knows though? We’ve been wrong before. It will be interesting to see what the market is for Rhodes as we near free agency. We’ll see if there’s any interest by the Birds at that time. Al-Quadin Muhammad could be the elixir for the Eagles pass rush. Regardless of how the game of football evolves, certain rules will always be true. The pass rush helps the guys in coverage and vice versa. The Eagles, knowing that, signed Ryan Kerrigan to a one-year deal in 2021, and that blew up in their faces almost immediately. The former Washington star had nothing left. The Birds had buyer’s remorse all season, but hope springs eternal. This could all get turned around relatively quickly. Kerrigan and Derek Barnett are expected to leave in free agency, but Josh Sweat is still on the team. As is a young star in Tarron Jackson. Earlier this offseason, it was learned that Brandon Graham, despite coming off of a significant injury, is still in this team’s plans for 2022. If the Eagles draft a young EDGE star and add one via free agency, they could be in business. Pay very close attention to Al-Quadin Muhammad if you aren’t already. In the right system, he could take a step towards stardom. In 64 regular-season games as a member of the Colts, he’s started 25 games. 47 of those games and eight of those starts came with Gannon standing on the same sideline. The results have been good for someone playing in a rotational role. He has 127 tackles and 11 sacks to show for his work. He’d look really good in an Eagles jersey, and at 26 years of age (he turns 27 in March), he has plenty of gas left in the tank. Everson Griffen is old, but he’d still upgrade the Eagles’ pass rush. Knowing that Everson Griffen is 34 years old is enough to turn much of the Eagles contingent off immediately. By NFL standards, he’s a senior citizen, and easy arguments can be made for any theory stating the Birds don’t need another guy on defense that’s over 30. Keep this in mind. Brandon Graham is 33 and turns 34 in April. Do you see where this is headed? Here’s why adding Everson Griffen might work. Philly doesn’t need Griffen to be the guy that earned a Second-Team All-Pro nod in 2017. They don’t need him to be the guy that racked up four Pro Bowl nods in the span of five seasons. Here’s all that has to happen. If Griffen could serve as another veteran presence and join that already-impressive defensive end rotation, let’s say he’d handle about 15-20 snaps in pass-rushing situations, that would give the Birds the extra punch that they thought they were getting from Ryan Kerrigan. Griffen is definitely still capable of doing that. In 2020, his second stint with the Vikings, he appeared in nine games and made six starts. The result was 15 tackles, a forced fumble, five sacks, and ten additional quarterback hits. Just in case you’re keeping score, Fletcher Cox played in 16 games for the Birds. He added 35 tackles, two forced fumbles, and 3.5 sacks to the Eagles’ cause. Trust us. Griffen can contribute in a limited role. That isn’t to say that the Birds need to break the bank. That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t draft someone and seek other options first, but if he’s hanging around and Philly can get him for a discount, this could be an idea that’s worth tossing around. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/02/10/eagles-free-agent-jonathan-gannon/
  11. Potential Eagles free-agent targets with connections to Nick Sirianni by Geoffrey Knox Eagles HC Nick Sirianni is already familiar with some of 2022’s NFL free-agent class. Time flies huh? It seems like it just started, but we’re already in year two of the Nick Sirianni era as the Philadelphia Eagles‘ head coach. Is anyone ready to place any wagers or take the over/under on what happens next? He’s seemingly had this ability to overachieve, and that makes the next chapter of his story, one that will be written in 2022, one that we’ll enjoy reading. Step one is improving a roster that helped Sirianni become the only rookie NFL head coach in 2021 that led his team to the postseason. Now, it’s about making this team better. The NFL Scouting Combine runs from Tuesday, March 1st until Monday, March 7th. The free-agency period comes after that on March 16th. Interestingly enough, several players that figure to hit the market have ties to the Eagles’ head coach, and you know how coaches like to bring in ‘their guys’. Marlon Mack is someone that falls in that category, though there’s no reason for Philly to pursue him. Coach was his offensive coordinator for three seasons though from 2018 until 2020. There are other NFL stars that Nick Sirianni knows fairly well too. Some of the following are worth mentioning. Some of these guys make sense for Philly. Some don’t. Get a load of some of the names that are on this list though. You can argue among yourselves about whether or not they’re worth the investment or a discussion. Would the Chiefs move on from Melvin Ingram? Would the Eagles show interest? With everything that we know about Melvin Ingram, it’s interesting that the Kansas City Chiefs could acquire him from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a sixth-round draft choice. It seems like a steal, but hey, that’s how the ball bounces in the NFL sometimes. Ingram hasn’t necessarily been a world-beater for the Chiefs, but he’s occasionally shown flashes of the guy that earned the first of three consecutive Pro Bowl nods in 2017, Sirianni’s final season with the Chargers (they had just moved to Los Angeles from San Diego). K.C. has yet to extend Ingram. Maybe he hits free agency. Maybe he doesn’t. Who knows? Maybe Father Time is catching up to him. Then again, maybe it isn’t. It’s easy to assume that he has a little left, but here are two things that we can say. One, he can play with his hand in the dirt or stand up, and any NFL team could use that type of versatility. Second, if he isn’t overworked (it wouldn’t be wise at this juncture), in a rotational role, he’d surely be more of a contributor to the Eagles than Ryan Kerrigan was. Some of you thought that Kerrigan’s addition was ‘low-risk and high-reward’, and Ingram was better than Ryan then and now. That isn’t to say that Philly should open the purse to land a veteran that turns 33 years young during the offseason, but he’s definitely worth a mention on a list of guys with ties to Nick Sirianni. T.Y. Hilton would add a veteran presence to the Eagles wide receiver corps. This is one of the more obvious connections. While Ingram was played on the opposite side of the ball from where Sirianni was coaching, T.Y. Hilton‘s relationship with Nick Sirianni was more direct as it’s common knowledge that the Eagles’ current head coach was the offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts from 2018 until 2020. T.Y. isn’t the receiver that he once was, and he hasn’t played a full season since 2017, but he’s better than a lot of the guys who are out there. At this point, it would make more sense for the Birds to go the route of adding someone with more tread on the tire, but the argument can be made that a veteran presence is needed in the wide receivers room. In 2021, T.Y. appeared in ten games for the Colts, and he hauled in 23 receptions for 331 yards and three touchdowns. He isn’t running past anyone consistently anymore, but he’d probably be more productive in the Eagles’ offense than JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Jalen Reagor, Tyree Jackson combined. Keep an eye on this one. It should be interesting to see where T.Y. lands. It’s hard to imagine that being Philly though, but you can’t mention impending free agents that have ties to Nick Sirianni and not bring up one of the more obvious. Could Melvin Gordon re-establish himself in the Eagles’ vaunted rushing attack? Once upon a time, this was someone that much of the Eagles fan base was interested in. LeGarrette Blount’s career in Philadelphia was of the one-and-done variety, but gosh, we all miss him. Ever since he’s been gone, there’s been this thirst for another workhorse, someone who could carry the ball 25 times a game and soak contests away in the fourth quarter if the Birds are up. It was for that reason that, when Melvin Gordon began expressing his desire to leave the Chargers, the ears of Birds fans and some of the Philly media perked up. In the end, nothing came of it, and that was probably for a good reason. Gordon hasn’t done much in the years that followed his disagreement with L.A. It’s easy to see a connection between him and Sirianni though. They were a part of the same franchise from 2015 to 2017, and however unlikely this pairing between the Eagles and Gordon seems, there’s no way the two-time Pro Bowler (2016, 2018) wouldn’t enjoy a resurgence running behind that vaunted Eagles offensive line. He’d only be 29 after he celebrates another birthday on April 13th. Think about this. We’re talking about a rotation of backs featuring Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell and, possibly, Boston Scott and/or Jordan Howard. That’s almost enough to make one’s mouth water. If he doesn’t have to be ‘the guy’ Ebron could upgrade the Eagles’ passing attack. What happened to Eric Ebron? Wasn’t he seen as one of the better young tight ends in the game a few years ago? His first four seasons in Detroit were solid. Then, in 2018, after signing a two-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, he earned his one and only Pro Bowl nod after snagging 66 receptions for 750 yards and reaching the end zone 13 times. In 2019, he was also solid (31 receptions, 375 receiving yards, and three trips to the end zone). Nick Sirianni was his offensive coordinator during each of those seasons. It’s in the years that followed where he’s seemingly drifted in anonymity. His 56-reception, 558-yard, and five-touchdown season in 2020 was followed by an injury-riddled 2021 campaign where he was passed by Pat Freiermuth on the depth chart, he wound up on the injured reserve, and he missed all but eight games. Ebron may not be what he once was. That’s still to be determined, but if he’s the ‘Robin’ to someone else’s ‘Batman’, a Dallas Goedert for instance, he could thrive. We refuse to believe, regardless of how his past two seasons have gone, that he isn’t better than Tyree Jackson and Richard Rodgers, two guys the Eagles seem hell-bent on pushing at all costs. Muhammad’s addition would upgrade the Eagles pass rush significantly. Now, here’s someone the Eagles fan base and media would fall in love with. The argument can be made that other defensive ends in the NFL are better than Al-Quadin Muhammad. If he hits the free-agency pool, he won’t be the most sought-after player at his position, but that isn’t a knock on him and his potential. He may not necessarily be what you would call elite, at least not yet. Give him some time though. All he needs is a good position coach and a chance. Muhammad has added 127 tackles, 11 sacks, 30 additional quarterback hits, and three forced fumbles to his NFL resume in four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts after appearing in four games with the New Orleans Saints as a rookie. That means that he and Sirianni were a part of the same organization for three seasons. With Derek Barnett and Ryan Kerrigan both headed towards free agency and with there seemingly being plans to hang on to Brandon Graham, the Eagles’ defensive end position is losing players and aging simultaneously. Two talented youngsters, Josh Sweat and Tarron Jackson, are both still in the mix, but the Birds may want to explore options in free agency and the draft. Al-Quadin Muhammad is a nice place to begin looking. He might be everything Philly thought they were getting in Ryan Kerrigan this past season and from Barnett for just about the entire time they’ve known him. Imagine Mike Williams in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform for a second. The buzz that would build if the Philadelphia Eagles added Mike Williams probably wouldn’t be the same as it was when this team traded for another receiver that wore the number 81 jersey in 2004 (Terrell Owens), but gosh darn it, it would definitely get some people talking. More importantly than that, it would kill two birds with one stone. It gives Philadelphia’s offense a true and bona fide playmaker. It also gives the Eagles a veteran presence in the wide receivers room that some might say is lacking. Right now, Greg Ward is the elder statesman, and there’s no nice way to put this. Aaron Moorehead is failing as this unit’s position coach. Williams’ resume speaks for itself. In 74 career games with 48 starts (those numbers include two playoff games), he’s hauled in 234 yards for 3,772 receiving yards and 26 trips to the end zone. He and Nick Sirianni spent 2018, 2019, and 2020 together. Amazingly, he’s never been to the Pro Bowl. Don’t let that fool you though. He’s a premier talent that hasn’t even reached his ceiling or his prime. If Philly nabs him, he, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins can do some damage for a long time. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/01/29/eagles-free-agent-nick-sirianni/
  12. Easy trades that would save Eagles over $16 million in salary cap space There aren’t many constants in the NFL, except for maybe one, and that’s knowing that things will change. Sure we know that every season there are perennial events that the Philadelphia Eagles and the league’s other 31 teams will participate in, like the annual draft and training camp. We also know that there will be roster turnover during every offseason. Now that we’re thinking about it, these days, we don’t even know if some of the rules will be re-written from one season to the next. The point is this. If you want to be a successful franchise and if you want to win with consistency, the ability to adapt and move on must be a part of your organization’s DNA. The Eagles used to abide by that rule. They often moved on from players earlier than they sometimes needed to, Brian Dawkins for instance. Nowadays, more often than not, they move on from players a year too late. Check out Nelson Agholor, Derek Barnett, or Alshon Jeffery’s story if you need proof of that. Change has come again for Philly as one of their veterans, Brandon Brooks, has stared his own mortality in the face and has chosen to ride off into the sunset. The Eagles have restructured his deal some as a result, and that will create some cap relief. Next comes decisions about what they want to do in free agency. If they’re looking to create even more cap space once those decisions are made, they can find it by simply making a few moves with some of the guys who are scheduled to be a part of this team’s roster in 2022. Here are four that qualify. Buckle up, we’ve found four potential trade pieces that collectively free up over $16 million in cap space if the Birds are looking to move on. JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s 2022 Eagles cap hit: $1.5 million It seems almost asinine to believe that the Eagles would be able to find a trade partner that’s batty enough to shake hands with Philadelphia to close the deal on a trade that takes JJ Arcega-Whiteside off of their hands. It wouldn’t be impossible. We see these things all of the time. Other NFL teams are busy and sometimes don’t scout players properly enough. It happens. They have their rosters to look after. There’s also the component of JJAW being a former second-round draft choice. Somewhere, there’s a wide receiver’s coach that believes he can fix this guy. So, we repeat for those of you that weren’t listening to us the first time. Someone would take Arcega-Whiteside. That’s a fact. Hey, you didn’t think anyone wanted Mack Hollins, and he’s found a home with the Miami Dolphins. There were even more of you that believed Nelson Agholor was finished, and look at his career since leaving Philly. He’s had two jobs. Howie needs to get on the phone. Unfortunately, the Birds won’t get much for a disappointing receiver that has one touchdown reception in three seasons, but the more important thing to consider is the Eagles save $1.5 million by dumping him on someone else. If they decide to cut him, it costs the team $405,222. It’s time to give JJAW his walking papers. He can’t be on this team in 2022. He just can’t. Jalen Reagor’s 2022 Eagles cap hit: $3.6 million It’s doubtful that you’ll be able to find anyone that would shed a tear if Jalen Reagor wasn’t on this Eagles team in 2022. Every time we watch this guy play, we get sick. Every time we watch Justin Jefferson play, the feeling gets worse, and heading into the offseason, with 11 draft picks and money to spend, there’s no reason why Philadephia can’t move on from Reagor and pursue one of the better free agents that will hit the market come March. It appears that, even though Reagor has been demoted, the Eagles are content with the idea of keeping him around for another season. There’s been a discussion, and he knows what’s expected of him in 2022. Wait! Did he not know what was expected of him when Philly spent the 21st-overall selection on him in 2021’s NFL Draft? That’s interesting. The Eagles might want to rethink any theory that ends with Reagor sticking around for another year. They’ve held on to JJAW for much too long. Do they need to repeat that error by giving Reagor too many chances? Here are some of the wide receivers that are expected to hit the free-agent market: Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, Will Fuller, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. We’ve seen enough All of those guys are better than Reagor. Trading number 18 cleans up $3.6 million. The price tag more than doubles if he’s cut ($7.8 million), so that definitely isn’t an option. Still, the money he’s making can be spent on some better talent. Every day that Jalen Reagor hangs around is a day that this receiving corps isn’t getting any better. We’ve seen his ceiling, and it isn’t as high as we thought it was. Andre Dillard’s 2022 Eagles cap hit: $3.9 million Well, you had to know that Andre Dillard would make the list. The 22nd-overall selection in 2019’s NFL Draft enters the 2022 regular season knowing that it’s the final year of his rookie deal. That is unless, of course, Philly exercises a fifth-year option to keep him around in 2023. Here’s what might be the most frustrating thing about the man that this organization drafted with hopes that he’d be the heir apparent to Jason Peters. He never earned the job, and on top of that, he let a former rugby star that never played the game before 2018 beat him out for the starting left tackle position. That never should have happened, so if it seems like people are hard on Andre Dillard, it’s because they should be. He enters the 2022 NFL season with a price tag of $3.9 million if he’s kept around. The Birds don’t save a dime of that money if he’s cut, so that shouldn’t be a part of the thought process. Dillard gives the Eagles some depth along their offensive line, and that’s always a necessity. Still, in all honesty, if that’s all that he’s capable of being, the Birds can move him elsewhere and find someone to do the job for less money. Keep in mind the fact that they already have some young talent like Le’Raven Clark. Isaac Seumalo’s 2022 Eagles cap hit: $7.6 million In one of the more underrated moves of the 2021-2022 Eagles regular season, the Eagles moved their highly-touted rookie offensive lineman, Landon Dickerson, from the right guard position to left guard, and the results were extraordinary. It doesn’t sound like much of a move, but Philadelphia reaped some immediate rewards simply by making that decision. Dickerson, who had struggled on the right side of the offensive line, flourished on the left. An injury to Isaac Seumalo opened the door, and as good as Seumalo is (he’s one of the better and most underrated offensive linemen in the game), the Birds proved they can be just as effective along the offensive front without him. Now, why is that important? It’s simple. If nothing changed between now and the start of the 2022 regular season, Seumalo would walk into the campaign as the seventh-highest paid player on the Eagles roster. His salary counts as over $7.6 million versus the cap. He also represents $5.8 million in dead money. The Birds have some good young stars in Dickerson and Jack Driscoll though the latter gets hurt a lot, and with 11 picks in the coming selection meeting, Philly has some draft capital to find another interior lineman or two if need be. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/01/27/trades-eagles-17-million-salary-cap/
  13. Philadelphia Eagles could find another EDGE star in Florida State standout There’s a bit of a buzz surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles. Sure, they got spanked in the Wild Card Round, but there’s another side to that coin. They were never supposed to make the postseason anyway remember? The Birds enter an offseason following a season that produced more wins than many of us expected, and in a league that prides itself on parity, you have to feel great in knowing Philly will have tons of draft capital and money to spend in the coming offseason. With three first-round picks, this team is in a prime position to upgrade itself substantially. Unfortunately, vice president/general manager Howie Roseman still has the final say-so on who’s selected, but oh well. You can’t have everything, right? The Philadelphia Eagles could strike gold by adding another FSU EDGE star. Whenever teams reach Round 3 or later, things are seen as a crapshoot. If you can find a player that has the ability of a starter, that’s excellent, but let’s face it. Once you reach the middle of the seven-round selection meeting, teams are hoping to get lucky, and the Philadelphia Eagles got lucky in 2018. Josh Sweat was the 130th-overall selection during Round 4 of that year’s NFL Draft, and we can officially state that decision has worked out to their benefit. The Eagles believe in Sweat as they should, and that’s been evidenced by the three-year, $40 million extension that he signed on September 18th. He’s produced 17.5 sacks over the past three seasons while serving primarily as a reserve piece in Philly’s EDGE rotation, but now with an aging Brandon Graham (if he’s retained) and the possibility of Philly moving on from both Derek Barnett and Ryan Kerrigan in the offseason, his duties will increase. Tarron Jackson is here, but the Birds still need help at the EDGE position. If they’re looking to add some, they could strike gold by adding one of the top prospects from the same program that produced Sweat, the Florida State Seminoles. Write Jermaine Johnson II‘s name down if you haven’t already. He’s six-foot-five. He tips the scales at 260 pounds, and following two seasons with the mighty Georgia Bulldogs, he transferred the FSU where he racked up 70 total tackles (including 17.5 for a loss) to go along with 11.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He could be a riser in the 2022 NFL Draft, and NJ.com’s Mike Rosenstein mentioned him as his choice for the Eagles with the 19th-overall selection recently. Now, here’s the thing. Some will state that taking Johnson in the first round is a reach. Some will see him as one of the five best EDGE stars of the next draft class, but when it’s all said and done, here’s what must be considered. There are a lot of talented defensive ends in the coming selection meeting, but they could go quickly, and for an Eagles team that won’t select before the 15th-overall selection, you shouldn’t be surprised if Jermaine Johnson is the best EDGE prospect available when we reach the back half of the first round. That won’t be a loss for the Philadelphia Eagles. The last time they plucked someone from FSU’s pool, things worked out very well, and Johnson can be even better than Josh Sweat was. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/01/27/philadelphia-eagles-edge-florida-state/
  14. Potential Eagles replacements for Rodney McLeod in 2022 NFL Draft The Eagles have some interesting safety options in the 2022 NFL Draft. Time flies huh? Doesn’t it feel like New Year’s Eve was a week ago? It won’t be long before we’re hours away from the 2022 NFL Draft and asking ourselves questions about what the Philadelphia Eagles might do with the three selections they’ll have in the first round (or if they’ll trade one of them). As of right now, there seems to be no reason to make said trade unless it leads to landing a franchise-altering quarterback because Philadelphia’s offseason questions extend far beyond who lines up behind center. They have a lot of holes. There are needs all over the roster, and Philadelphia will have decisions to make about everyone scheduled to become a free agent, including one of their best players on defense, team captain Rodney McLeod. As is the case with many of the Eagles’ other impending free agents, arguments can be made for keeping McLeod and moving on. No one should be surprised if he leaves or stays, but if both sides do move on, there’s a huge void at Philadephia’s safety position. Keep in mind the fact that Anthony Harris is at the end of his deal with the Eagles as well. Thankfully, the Birds will have options in the NFL Draft if they look for help there. Kyle Hamilton appears to be the cream of the crop, but with Philadelphia selecting at 15,16, and 19, it seems doubtful that he’ll be available when the Birds are on the clock. With that being said, there may be a need to look elsewhere. Here’s a ranking of the best safety options available once we get past Hamilton. Any of these guys would look great in an Eagles jersey. Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Yusuf Corker Who would have thought? They play football in Lexington Kentucky now folks! It took them a while, but the Wildcats are inching their way towards being a consistent contender in the SEC East. Sure, they aren’t on the level of the Georgia Bulldogs, but Mark Stoops has this program headed in the right direction. Guys like Yusuf Corker are big reasons why that’s the case. This six-foot, 197-pound safety prospect racked up 241 total tackles, two sacks, three interceptions, 14 pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and a defensive touchdown in 43 career games at the collegiate level. That’s pretty good work for a guy playing at a ‘basketball school’ in the NCAA’s best conference and best NFL farm system. Once we dig into the draft process, the expectation is that Corker will be one of the top ten safeties on everyone’s draft board. A huge Pro Day, scouting combine, and/or Reese’s Senior Bowl will improve his draft stock, but in the meantime, expect for there to be some buzz that builds around this 2021 Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist. Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Brad Hawkins It may not have ended how the citizens of Ann Arbor hoped it would, but it was quite the ride for the Michigan Wolverines during the 2021-2022 college football season. Now, they have to prove that they’re up for the task again as they attempt to replace a ton of defensive starters and, possibly, their head coach. The Maize and Blue has to replace everyone from Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo at the EDGE to Brad Hawkins in the defensive secondary. You can best believe the six-foot-one, 221-pound Hawkins will be one of the more sought-after prospects in the coming NFL Draft. Like Yusuf Corker, Hawkins is one of the ten best safeties entering the NFL. Unlike Corker, Hawkins played in the Big Ten. Some debate whether or not the football played in the Big Ten is on par with what we see in the Southeastern Conference. That tail kicking the Bulldogs gave the Wolverines in the semi-final round of the College Football Playoff would suggest that it isn’t. Still, after 178 total tackles, eight pass breakups, and two forced fumbles, Brad Hawkins has placed his name on a lot of NFL radars. Might the Eagles be one of them? We won’t have to wait too much longer to find out if they’re interested. Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Isaiah Pola-Mao Throughout his career, Yusuf Corker proved that he had a nose for the football and could force a few turnovers. You wonder how he’ll fare versus fleet-footed receivers in space or big tight ends that can catch and run at the professional level, however. Brad Hawkins is a sure tackler for the most part, but he hasn’t ever proven to be the guy that can force turnovers with any consistency, and let’s face it. There’s certainly more to playing in the NFL than that, but every team loves seeing that component from the guys that provide the last line of defense. Hawkins isn’t a ball-hawk. That’s been evidenced by the fact that, in 42 career games at the collegiate level that span five NCAA seasons, he’s never hauled in an interception. In Isaiah Pola-Mao, any team that acquires him gets the best of both worlds. He didn’t rack a single interception in his final season with the USC Trojans, but he has five for his 32 game career to go along with the 178 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and eight pass breakups. Write his name down, and circle it. You’re going to hear it with more frequency as we move through February, through March, and into April. Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Daxton Hill Remember when we talked about all of that talent the Wolverines need to replace? Yeah, we may have forgotten to mention Daxton Hill. Former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz would have loved this guy. He’s one of those guys that has the skill set to suggest that he can be one of those ‘positionless players’ Schwartz couldn’t stop going on and on about. With proper coaching and a good teacher, Daxton Hill has the potential to be what Eagles fans thought they were supposed to be getting with K’Von Wallace. Remember when we said Wallace lined up everywhere for the Clemson Tigers and might be able to do that at the pro level for Philly? Well, that hasn’t happened yet, at least not right now. We have seen Hill do that for the Maize and Blue though. We slot him slightly ahead of his former teammate Hawkins for two reasons. One, Hill seems to pop off of the screen more. Second, Hill can play deep, or he can line up closer to the line of scrimmage to play a little slot corner if need be. The NFL is an entirely different game. We all know that, but it will be interesting to see if Hill’s skill set translates to the NFL. Heaven help opposing offenses if it does. This young man and his former teammate should be joys to watch at the pro level. Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Jaquan Brisker Here’s our initial theory on Jaquan Brisker. He’s the best safety prospect entering the NFL Draft not named Kyle Hamilton. In 34 career games at the NCAA level, he tallied 151 tackles, including ten for a loss of yardage. Add that to five interceptions and 14 pass breakups. Expect his name to be called during Round 1 of the selection meeting in April. The Eagles have both won and lost when fishing in Penn State’s pool of talent. Miles Sanders qualifies as a win. Shareef Miller, a Philadelphia native, was a huge miss (and he’s out of the NFL after only three seasons and failing to register a single statistic in an NFL game). Honorable mention: R.J. Roderick (South Carolina Gamecocks), Kenderick Duncan (Louisville Cardinals), and Lewis Cine (Georgia Bulldogs) Here’s a list of three guys to pay attention to, though all three might be drafted after Round 1. R.J. Roderick tallied 199 total tackles in 41 career games with the Gamecocks. Kenderick Duncan, after a nice ride with Georgia Southern, transferred to the Louisville Cardinals and proved to be pro-ready. Lewis Cine has a lot of eyes on him after winning a College Football Playoff National Championship with the Georgia Bulldogs. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/01/22/eagles-replacements-rodney-mcleod/
  15. Eagles dodged a bullet via Kenny Golladay’s acquisition by Giants by Geoffrey Knox Perhaps the most encouraging storyline that will come out of the Philadelphia Eagles 2021-2022 season is as follows. A team we’d thought would enter the campaign with, at best, hopes of winning as many games as they can in a rebuilding year earned a playoff berth. As great as that story will be to share with our grandchildren, here’s something else to ponder. Regardless of how the Birds’ season ends, the future looks bright. There’s reason to be optimistic about the offseason. Philadelphia will have a ton of draft capital. They’ll have money to spend in free agency. Part of the reason for that is, even though we thought Eagles vice president/general manager Howie Roseman was a moron for taking Jalen Hurts in Round 2 of 2020’s NFL Draft, he was right. The rest of us were wrong, but based on Howie’s history, none of us were prepared for that. Why would we have been? The other reason that Philly’s in a better position than originally believed is they ignored expensive and highly-touted free agents while also passing on some disgruntled guys who would have been costly to sign. Remember when ‘Yannick Ngakoue to the Eagles’ was a thing? Yep, Philly dodged a bullet there. They also dodged two others as two big fish of the past two free-agency cycles signed with a division rival. Thank goodness the Eagles didn’t sign Kenny Golladay. Part of the deal with loving the Eagles means you’re constantly talking about this team’s need for wide receivers and cornerbacks. They just can’t find suitable talent for the position. It’s been the same old story in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, it was believed that the Eagles would land one of the top two available talents at the cornerback position, Byron Jones or James Bradberry. They didn’t get either one of them. Jones wound up with the Miami Dolphins. Bradberry joined the hated New York Giants. In 2021, no Birds enthusiast would have complained had Philly landed one of the better talents at wide receiver, but the money to spend wasn’t there thanks to some bad deals handed out by Roseman. Howie spent much of his time just trying to get his team to a position in which they were salary cap compliant. He did, but as a result, they missed on guys like Kenny Golladay. We’ve had time to reassess and examine the evidence. In missing on Jones and Bradberry, Howie was forced to work some magic, and that’s exactly what he did. He landed Darius Slay via a trade with the Detroit Lions. Call it luck. Call it skill. Whatever you choose to call it, here are the facts. Slay is better than Jones and Bradberry. Philly dodged a bullet. In terms of Golladay, here’s how things have worked out on that deal. He inked a four-year, $72 million deal on March 20th. All he’s been able to produce is 34 receptions for 499 yards. He hasn’t caught a touchdown pass all season. Eagles vice president/general manager Howie Roseman’s approval rating is graded on two things: his ability to manage the salary cap and how he manages the draft. He hasn’t done either job particularly well, but he will, again, have a shot to redeem himself in the next offseason. The Eagles’ ability to be a true player in free agency alone is a stark contrast to what we saw from Philly in 2021. Many of the guys that they got on bargains didn’t work out, Ryan Kerrigan, Kerryon Johnson, and Eric Wilson for instance, but if there is a silver lining, this would be it. While it hasn’t been perfect, the contractual snafus that Howie made handcuffed the franchise, but things can always be worse. Kerrigan’s inability to register a single sack is embarrassing, but that’s a whole lot better than guaranteeing what’s been a marginal receiver about $18 million annually and getting less than 500 receiving yards (and zero touchdowns as a result). We’ll never know how interested the Eagles brass was in Golladay, but here’s what we can say with confidence. The Birds definitely dodged a bullet when he settled in with Big Blue. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/01/10/eagles-dodged-kenny-golladay/
  16. 3 Philadelphia Eagles whose demotions are long overdue by Geoffrey Knox It’s time for the Philadelphia Eagles to value winning over being right. Even if you disagreed with the strategy, you have to admit that you understand where it comes from. We’ve all lost track of how long we’ve watched so many of the underachieving members of this Philadelphia Eagles roster gobble up playing time (and fail to produce) while guys who were hungrier or better stood on the sideline. The reason? Well, as it often does in any business, the decision came down to money. Howie Roseman invested a lot of Jeffrey Lurie‘s cash into draft picks who didn’t pan out and high-profile free-agent signings that were just as bad and, sometimes, even worse. We hate to kick guys while they’re down, but enough is enough. Winning and being a competitive football team has to be valued over being right. Okay, this didn’t work. How many of you would sign up for a job in the NFL if you knew you could stack $2.5 million and slide by tallying five tackles or less? Yep! That’s what we thought! 15 games are gone in the Eagles’ 2021-2022 regular season, and Ryan Kerrigan, who gave the Birds so many fits as a member of the Washington Football Team, hasn’t produced a single sack. Once seen as a nice addition to what would be a great Eagles defensive end rotation all season, many of the snaps that were once given to Kerrigan are now seemingly going to Tarron Jackson. That’s okay with us. It’ will be nice to see what the rookie has down the stretch, and frankly, if we didn’t see Kerrigan at all down the stretch, we’d be fine. The Philadelphia Eagles won’t deactivate Jalen Reagor, but it would be nice if we saw him less. If you didn’t know anything about the Philadelphia Eagles and you were looking for a take on Jalen Reagor‘s approval rating, this would be it. You know how you get that warm and fuzzy feeling every time you think of Brian Dawkins or Jason Kelce? Well, any time Birds fans watch Jalen Reagor play, the reaction is totally the opposite. Sure, he flashes from time to time. There was that punt return in Green Bay versus the Packers in 2020 and a decent catch versus the New York Jets in the first half of Week 13’s game this season (even though that’s long been forgotten following two huge drops on the final drive). Still, a decent catch and a nice punt return versus a lowly New York Giants team do not an elite receiver make. Jalen Reagor won’t be given up on by the Eagles any time soon, even though they even realized they were getting nothing out of him in the return game and took the kick-return duties from him (that’s Kenneth Gainwell’s job now it seems). Reagor has been abhorrent. There’s no nice way to say it. He’s so bad that we’ve, more often than not, forgotten about our disdain for JJ Arcega-Whiteside. That’s saying something. Unfortunately, his benching doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. One, again, the leadership is stubborn. They invested a first-round pick in this guy and have issued a stern order stating that they want him utilized and on the field. Second, Philly has nothing to replace him with. Seriously, what are they going to do? Are they going to put John Hightower on the field? We’re stuck with Reagor for a while folks! Aaron Moorehead is failing the Philadelphia Eagles as the team’s WR coach. There may not be another Eagles-centric publication that’s dedicated more time to the Aaron Moorehead watch than this one. Hey, that’s why we’re here. Somebody has to do the jobs no one else wants to sometimes. Here’s something that you need to know. This Eagles coaching staff loves Aaron Moorehead. His players love him. From all accounts, it appears that Aaron Moorehead is a pretty cool guy. He’s someone that we’d love to get a beer with. He’s someone that you can drop your kids off with and not have to worry about whether or not they’re in good hands. The problem with Aaron Moorehead however is this. His players don’t get better. Say what you want about Mike Groh. He was a horrible offensive coordinator, but he was a heck of a wide receivers coach. Did you see the impact that he had on Nelson Agholor? Meanwhile, Moorehead’s stock is falling, and no one noticed. Name one wide receiver that the Eagles have employed that got better under Moorehead’s watch. You can’t do it, can you? Now, name a wide receiver that’s teetered around average or has gotten worse. There’s Nelson Agholor, John Hightower, Greg Ward, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Jalen Reagor. Did you see how easy that was? Perhaps, rather than dismiss every wide receiver by just throwing out overused statements like ‘he’s a bust’ or ‘he sucks’, maybe it’s time to point the fingers at the guys that get paid to coach them up. Sure, DeVonta Smith is a rising star, and Quez Watkins has shown he can be a great NFL wide receiver, but frankly folks, that has to do more with Smith and Watkins’ moxie than anything Moorehead is doing. It’s time to get this guy out of here and add someone who can get the most out of this group. https://insidetheiggles.com/2022/01/01/3-philadelphia-eagles-demotions-overdue/
  17. Draftees the Eagles regret ignoring for Jalen Reagor (other than Jefferson) by Geoffrey Knox Put these numbers in your minds for a second: 2021, 21, 22, 31, 88, 396, 1,400, one, and seven. Philadelphia Eagles fans, stat junkies, people who are employed by Pro Football Focus, and the general public that’s been following Jalen Reagor and Justin Jefferson‘s careers for the past two seasons may have already figured out the pattern. In 2021’s NFL Draft, the Eagles took Jalen Reagor with the 21st-overall selection before the Minnesota Vikings took Jefferson one spot later at 22. During their rookie seasons, Reagor caught 31 passes for 396 yards, and he reached the end zone as a receiver once. Meanwhile, Jefferson was busy hauling in 88 receptions for 1,400 yards en route to a seven-touchdown season. Justin Jefferson also earned his first Pro Bowl, a Second-team All-Pro Award, and a spot on the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team. We could stop there, but we’ll continue. What’s sad is the gap hasn’t lessened between the two in their second season. With each passing week, Jefferson becomes more of a star and Jalen Reagor gets smaller and smaller in his rear-view mirror. One day, hopefully, Reagor will be in Philly’s rear-view as well. He’s approaching ‘bust’ territory. Some are willing to call him a bust now, but here’s something that we don’t always bring up when we’re dissecting his latest on-field blunder. Justin Jefferson wasn’t the only miss the Eagles had by scribbling his name on a draft card. Here are three more prospects from that same draft that, no doubt, would have wound up being better players in an Eagles jersey. Philly could have finally taken that LB in Round 1 over Jalen Reagor. If you know anything about this Eagles team, you know where this is going, right? The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t taken a linebacker in the first round of any NFL Draft in more than 40 years, when they took Jerry Robinson, ironically with the 21st-overall selection of that year’s selection meeting. Perhaps April of 2020 would have been a great time to have history repeat itself. You can make the argument that a wide receiver had to be the choice. You’d probably get a ton of people that would agree, but seeing as how Philadelphia ignored the guy they should have taken and grabbed the guy that they shouldn’t have, now would be a great time to look at the career of Patrick Queen. During his rookie season, he started all 16 regular-season games for the Baltimore Ravens and one of their two playoff games. For his trouble, he tallied 110 tackles, three sacks, an interception, two forced fumbles, two pass breakups, and a defensive touchdown. He also earned a spot on the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team. Heck, you can even throw Kenneth Murray’s name in there too! He’s been a nice find for the L.A. Chargers. Both have bright futures. Not only that but both will still be playing when Jalen Reagor’s career is over. Who cares if he was a second-rounder? He’s better than Jalen Reagor! Stating that there wasn’t much of the first-round demand for safeties in 2020 would be an understatement. None of the first 32 players that heard their names called played the position. That’s just how things played out. Then came a bit of a mini-run on guys who would help serve as the last line of defense for their respective teams. Once Day 2 arrived, four of the first 13 prospects who were drafted were safeties. The fourth that was taken, Antoine Winfield Jr. at pick 45, might be the best of the bunch. Now, don’t read what hasn’t been written. Xavier McKinney, Kyle Dugger, Grant Delpit have the potential to be very good for a very long time, but Winfield is truly exceptional. He also has nepotism on his side. His father played in the NFL for 15 seasons and made it to three Pro Bowls. Junior could be even better. As a rookie, he earned a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie Team. He also helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win a Super Bowl. Get used to hearing the name Winfield because you’re going to hear it for a long time… again. Maybe the Birds should have gone with him over Jalen Reagor. They sure have wasted a lot of time experimenting with a lot of guys at the position for the past two seasons (and they’ll probably have to draft one in 2022. And to think… The Eagles could have had Trevon Diggs instead of Jalen Reagor. Once upon a time, the San Francisco 49ers could have taken Aaron Rodgers with the first-overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft. They went with Alex Smith. You know how that decision worked out for both teams. To make matters worse, the Minnesota Vikings could have taken Rodgers at 18. They went with a defensive end instead, Erasmus James. Ever since that day, they’ve, more often than not, had to watch Rodgers discount double-check them as they’ve no doubt thought about what could have been for 12 years and running. The Eagles’ roster envy that they feel when they look at the Cowboys isn’t quite at that same level, but it stings when you look at CeeDee Lamb in Dallas’ jersey and you marvel at what he’s doing. It also sucks to see that Trevon Diggs, in his second season, has mastered the NFL game. Like Winfield, Diggs was a second-rounder, so you can argue that selecting them so high would have been a reach at the time, but knowing what we know now, is that accurate? Was Diggs a second-rounder or was he a clear first-round talent that everyone analyzed incorrectly? Here’s what we all can agree on even if we disagree on the answer to that question. Dallas has found a top-tier cornerback that they can rely on for ten years. The Eagles missed on Reagor and they’re still looking for that type of young cornerback talent for their own stable. If life came with a reset button and if we could go back and know what we know now, this might be the pick instead of Jalen Reagor for the Eagles at 21 if they still, for whatever reason, were to ignore Justin Jefferson. At the end of the day, Philly needed a WR. They just didn’t need Jalen Reagor. Just look at some of these names: Justin Jefferson (even though technically we’re supposed to be naming guys other than him), Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman Jr., Laviska Shenault, K. J. Hamler, and Chase Claypool. Now, as you know, Higgins, Pittman, Shenault, Hamler, and Claypool were all second-rounders, ao in that respect, we’re right back to where we are with the Winfield and Diggs arguments. There’s no way that the Eagles should have taken any of those guys that early, right? Stop for a second, and think about what the Eagles have gotten out of Reagor and what the other guys have given to their respective teams. Who would you rather have on this Eagles team right now? Would you rather have Jalen Reagor or Brandon Aiyuk? Would you rather have Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, or Jalen Reagor? That alone settles that. Reagor was clearly the wrong move for Philadelphia. Sadly, they missed a ton of stars by blindly going with him at 21. Honorable mention: Jonathan Taylor Sure, the Eagles had Miles Sanders on the roster, but they also had a broken-down Corey Clement. There’s an obvious trepidation with teams when it comes to taking running backs so high, but can you imagine the luxury Jalen Hurts would have had if he could rely on twenty carries from Jonathan Taylor on a week-in and week-out basis? Tell us you wouldn’t trade Jalen Reagor for Jonathan Taylor right now! That’s right. We didn’t think you’d say no. https://insidetheiggles.com/2021/12/13/draftees-eagles-regret-jalen-reagor/
  18. Known Eagles source says Brandon Brooks will return versus Washington by Geoffrey Knox Gosh, this year flew by! We’re already just about halfway through the final month of 2021, and the Philadelphia Eagles have transformed a season that had us all saying ‘it’s going to be a long year’ into one that could end with a postseason berth. Remember? We all kept saying that, but because of the way that they were playing at times, there were moments where it seemed like we were fooling ourselves. Here we are though. Philadelphia is trying to hold a few teams off, the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons for instance, while they catapult themselves past the likes of the San Francisco 49ers, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Washington Football Team to earn a Wild Card berth. It would be nice to see some familiar faces back in the lineup and healthy (Jalen Hurts, Jason Kelce, Jordan Howard, and Brandon Brooks to name a few). Brooks has been out of the lineup since Week 2 with a pectoral strain that landed him on the injured reserve. Head Coach Nick Sirianni has been tight-lipped about his progress as you’d expect. There is, however, one trusted voice that believes he could be back in the lineup as early as Philly’s next game, a Week 15 divisional clash with the rival Washington Football Team. Ed Kracz has a theory on what’s going on with a possible return by Brooks to the Eagles. No lover of Eagles football has to be educated on who Ed Kracz is. He’s the man behind EaglesMaven.com and drops tons of consistent and informative content on the Birds for SI.com. He’s been on the Eagles beat for 11 years. In short, if you’re in a pinch and looking for some quality stuff, look his way. Recently, he hung out with CBS Sports Radio’s Jody Mac and John McMullen of PhillyVoice.com on their Birds 365 podcast courtesy of JAKIB Media Sports. That interview can be seen in its entirety below, but, in the meantime, here’s what he had to say in reference to a possible Brandon Brooks return (fast-forward to the 9:30 mark for the audio). That would be huge because, as both Kracz and McMullen put it, Brooks may not be back for the Eagles in 2022, and what better tool do they have for trading him in the offseason than putting him back on the field and showing the rest of the NFL that there’s some juice left? It might be the Eagles’ bye week, but that won’t stop the rumor mill from turning now will it? There aren’t any days off at the NovaCare Complex, but how about that one for a drop huh? If Brandon Brooks, in light of some recent injuries to Philadelphia’s O-line, can return to the lineup, that will be a huge step in a positive direction as this team, once written off by everyone, prepares for a push towards the NFL’s postseason. https://insidetheiggles.com/2021/12/11/eagles-source-brandon-brooks-washington/
  19. Eagles can sign any of these possible free agents to replace Derek by Geoffrey Knox We are, more than likely, watching Derek Barnett’s final games with the Eagles. In 2022, for the first time in a very long time, the Philadelphia Eagles will enter an offseason with both draft capital and a few dollars that they can wave around in free agency. History has taught us, over and over again, that even if Philadelphia lacks one or the other, they’re going to address the defensive line, even if it seems like there are more pressing concerns. The Eagles have Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave under contract through next season. They also have a budding young star in their defensive tackle rotation by the name of Milton Williams, but it’s obvious that they need help at the defensive end position. Brandon Graham’s age was already a topic of discussion, and after an Achilles tear ended his season in Week 2, that won’t stop being the case. The addition of Ryan Kerrigan was a train wreck. Derek Barnett is officially a bust. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Eagles tried to squeeze all that they could out of the 2017 NFL Draft’s 14th-overall selection, but nothing has worked. Now, it’s time to turn the page, and when Barnett is officially off of this roster for good sometime in March and the topic of conversation turns to free agency, Philadelphia will have options if they choose to explore them. Here are five potential free agents that would upgrade the Eagles at the defensive end position immediately if they indeed decide to move on from Derek Barnett. Takkarist McKinley is one of those gambles that might pay off… maybe. This one falls under the category of gambling and is the textbook definition of low-risk, high reward. Some of you are probably thinking to yourselves that all this does is trade one troubled star for another. Hear us out though. As you all are very well aware, Derek Barnett was the 14th-overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. What some of you may not have known or might have forgotten is Takkarist McKinley was taken by the Atlanta Falcons in that same selection meeting 12 spots later at 26. We’re well into their fifth season as professional football players. Derek Barnett has more career sacks than McKinley (21.5 compared to 19). He also has more career tackles (138 to 95). There are also a few other things that we’ve seen that are concerning. Remember when McKinley publicly asked for a trade from the Atlanta Falcons and got himself released shortly thereafter? Yeah, that didn’t look good. Neither did that time when he was claimed off of waivers by the Las Vegas Raiders after failing physicals with the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers. We all know how that stint in Vegas went. McKinley was placed on the Raiders’ injured reserve in November of last year, designated by the team to return in December, and was shut down for the remainder of the season without ever playing a game. Everyone needs a second chance though, or in this case, five. McKinley signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns in March and seems to have figured things out. Sure, he’s a gamble and possibly the last guy the Eagles need, but on a one-year prove-it deal that doesn’t cost the team a ton, this could give Philly some punch AND still allow them the financial freedom to sign someone else at the position that’s inexpensive like Stephen Weatherly or Charles Harris. Al-Quadin Muhammad is one of those names Eagles fans need to know. Let’s look at that 2017 NFL Draft again. On Day 3, the Philadelphia Eagles took Nathan Gerry with the 184th-overall selection in Round 5. 12 picks later, the Indianapolis Colts went with Al-Quadin Muhammad in Round 6 at 196. Perhaps Philly should have reached. Ahead of the 2021 season, on April 1st, Indy inked the six-foot-four, 250-pound defensive end to a one-year deal worth $2.9 million that included a $500,000 signing bonus and $1.5 million guaranteed. Through the first 13 games of the season, while being on the field for 73 percent of the snaps, he’s added 37 total tackles and five sacks to his professional resume, giving him 117 tackles and ten sacks for his career so far. Muhammad doesn’t get a ton of pub. So far, one of the more memorable moments of his career. on a national level at least, came when he got ejected from a Thursday Night Football game in Week 10 of the 2020 regular season for punching Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo, but it’s easy to be overshadowed when you have DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard as defensive teammates. Still, we know that the Colts are one of those teams that still do business with Howie Roseman. If the Eagles are looking for an acquisition to assist in transforming this team back into one of the more feared teams at the EDGE, Muhammad can give them a better option than Derek Barnett has been without forcing them to break the bank. Dante Fowler might be out of the Eagles’ price range, but he’s worth considering. After watching the Eagles flounder around at so many important positions for what’s felt like forever, it’s hard not to imagine what a mini-spending spree would look like. We’ve all been playing Fantasy football for so long that it’s hard not to think of real-life roster building in the same manner. That’s why the Eagles’ leadership has their jobs and why we have ours, huh? As mentioned, Philadelphia will have a few coins to spend come the 2022 offseason. That means that they could finally afford someone like Dante Fowler if they wanted to pursue him, but that doesn’t mean that they have to overspend in free agency when they have so many other important needs to satisfy. It must be mentioned. Of the potential free agents who will have their opportunity to go seek that big payday, Fowler commanded one of the highest salaries during the 2021-2022 season, representing a $10.6 million cap hit and $15.3 million in dead cap space. He’ll be one of the more sought-after targets at the defensive end position in March. Again, that doesn’t mean that the Eagles should overpay, but this is someone that they have to consider. Dante Fowler is truly talented. In 2022, he’ll eclipse 100 regular-season games played for his career. Heading into Week 14 of the current NFL season, he’s racked up 187 tackles and 34 sacks, and he’s still only 27 years old. He turns 28 next August. The Eagles got a first-hand look at Solomon Thomas in Week 7. Solomon Thomas is one of those names that NFL fans just recognize even if they’re unfamiliar with any of his accomplishments over the past few seasons. He too was a first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft having been taken third-overall by the San Francisco 49ers that year. He recorded 99 tackles and 10.5 sacks as a member of the Niners, but they declined the fifth-year option on his rookie deal (as the Eagles should have done with Barnett). That decision worked in their favor. Thomas tore his ACL in Week 2 of that season, and just like that his run in the bay was over without costing San Fran an arm and a leg. The Raiders signed him to a one-year deal on March 19th of this year. Yep! You guessed it guys and gals! That was shortly after the time we learned officially that they were ridding themselves of Takkarist McKinley. Again, we mentioned Takkarist earlier, but you have to keep thinking of him on this Eagles team in that ‘low-risk’ and ‘high-reward’ vein. Solomon is a much better player than McKinley (or Barnett), and he seems to have turned things around following the injury. He had 28 total tackles and 3.5 sacks heading into Week 14. Philadelphia got a chance to give him a look in Week 7, but he didn’t have a huge statistical performance in that one. Then again, he didn’t have to. The Raiders ran roughshod over the Birds on an afternoon where Philly barely had the football. Trust us on this one though. Thomas would upgrade the Eagles’ crop of defensive ends very quickly. He might even eclipse both Josh Sweat and Tarron Jackson on the depth chart. That isn’t meant to be disrespectful to Sweat or Jackson. We’re just stating the facts here. Emmanuel Ogbah upgrades the Eagles pass rush just by showing up. Through the first 13 weeks of the 2021 NFL season, Emmanuel Ogbah had more sacks (6) than Josh Sweat (5). He also had more sacks than the combined total of Derek Barnett, Ryan Kerrigan, Fletcher Cox, Milton Willams, and Tarron Jackson (collectively they have five). Stop what you’re doing for a second, and let that sink in. There are occasions when questions are asked about what someone like Bud Dupree would look like when he trades a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey for a Tennessee Titans ensemble and loses the luxury of playing opposite of T.J. Watt. Now, Dupree has seen some success without Watt before his arrival in the Steel City, but again, the questions are asked. They’re also fair. In Ogbah’s case, he’s had some solid teammates along the offensive line with Raekwon Davis and Christian Wilkins. They’ve been awesome for the Miami Dolphins, but with no disrespect intended to either one of those guys, Ogbah should be fine without them. The Dolphins are another of those teams that run the 3-4 defensive scheme, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Ogbah would fail in the Eagles’ 4-3 defensive alignment. He can wreck a game single-handedly but put him along a defensive front like Philadelphia’s where teams can’t key in on him and his game can catapult to newer heights. That’s a scary prospect if you’re an offensive coordinator for any of the other three teams in the NFC East. He also figures to be less expensive than someone like Dante Fowler. https://insidetheiggles.com/2021/12/10/nfl-free-agents-eagles-derek-barnett/?fbclid=IwAR15q7NO--vxsj-FSTb-3si3gxX7uuGaXGEmDBq_wJWIMdq8ZUwt9XPsPG8
  20. Eagles’ O-line grades: Dickerson a mixed bag in debut, Andre Dillard shines The Philadelphia Eagles got beat badly by the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, o badly that it’s hard to find a single silver lining from the game. Jalen Hurts was ‘an issue‘. The tight ends and running backs might as well have gone home early. Then, there were penalties, penalties, and…. more penalties. Of all the flaws to be talked about, the Eagles’ offensive line displayed a mixed bag of success and disappointment. Rookie Landon Dickerson stepped in for Brandon Brooks at right guard and was prepared to make up for his mediocre performance in Week 2’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, we saw him make many of the same mistakes as he struggled to protect Hurts from Dallas’ pass-rushing attack. His first half wasn’t one that we’ll look back on fondly as some wondered if Nick Sirianni was going to pull the rookie early. In 2020, Dickerson won All-American at Alabama and proved to be one of college football’s best centers. But the Eagles saw more than just pure talent in Dickerson — there was his versatility, grit, his willingness to play wherever the team needed him. He played every offensive line position in college and has since been training to play center and both guard spots for Philly. Philadelphia Eagles OL Landon Dickerson, Andre Dillard get performance grades So far, Dickerson is the jack of all trades and master of none. The rookie is clearly still learning on the job, but he’s quickly running out of chances to prove himself. We said it was difficult to find a silver lining from Monday’s disheartening loss, but if there is one, it’s Andre Dillard. We know, good news about Dillard? This is weird. When news broke out that Dillard would be replaced by Jordan Mailata at the starting left tackle position, many people (including us) were crestfallen. We love Mailata. Dillard, not so much. The last time Dillard started for the Eagles was in November of 2019, and he played so poorly that he got benched by halftime. This time around, though, he held his own. He fended off Randy Gregory and Micah Parsons for much of the game, and he held down the left side as well as he could. Those emojis pretty much sum it up. Dillard has long disappointed as a first-round pick back in 2019, but after Monday’s performance, he may slowly start to win back the trust of his coach, teammates, and fans. We’d still prefer Jordan Mailata to start over him, but Dillard may not be in our ‘Burn Book’ for much longer. Heading into Week 4, the Eagles will have to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to solidify their offensive line. Last year, the Birds started 14 different combinations of 0-lines in 16 games, so you would think they’ve gotten used to the constant changeovers and countless plug-and-play situations. Philly may be without a large chunk of their starting offensive linemen this season, but as we saw with Andre Dillard on Monday, the alternates have every opportunity to step up. https://insidetheiggles.com/2021/09/29/philadelphia-eagles-week-4-offensive-line-grades/
  21. Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Sirianni’s WR scheme is a defensive ‘nightmare’ by Kristen Wong First-year head coach Nick Sirianni has been cooking up some dynamic offensive plays for the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver unit this preseason. In Wednesday’s press conference, he spoke to the media about the state of his team’s roster, the mentality of the team going into its second and final joint practice with the Jets, and other topics before diving into the wide receiver situation. Philadelphia invested in pass-catching options over the course of the past two offseasons after ranking 26th in the league in receiving yards per game in 2020 (233). They even finished behind the Cincinnati Bengals who lost Joe Burrow for much of the campaign. In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Eagles used their first-round pick again on Jalen Reagor, and in the 2021 Draft used their first-round pick again on DeVonta Smith. Over the course of the last three years, they’ve drafted five receivers, which just goes to show their commitment to having quality passing targets. Currently, Smith, Reagor, and breakout star Quez Watkins are the favorites to win the starting receiving positions, but in regards as to who would play in the slot or on the outside, Sirianni used one word to describe their roles: versatile. Sirianni talked at length about not defining his wide receivers by one category, whether it’s speed or shiftiness or YAC numbers. Philadelphia Eagles: Sirianni wants his WRs to play versatile roles in the offense. Of course, Sirianni already knows the strength of his players (as he should). He’s compared Smith to Keenan Allen. He’s seen Reagor’s viral contested catches. He’s noticed Watkins’ speed when he beat a Patriot corner for a touchdown in a joint practice. Though Sirianni will, no doubt, try to amplify each wideout’s strengths, he also hopes to add a dimension of unpredictability to Philadelphia’s passing game by "mixing guys around.” "When you’re willing to switch guys around, it makes it very difficult for the defense to see what you’re doing. Every defensive coordinator I’ve talked to, that’s what they always say: ‘It’s a nightmare preparing for you guys because you’re constantly mixing guys around.’” The young and unproven Eagles team has shown glimpses of promise during the preseason, but they could still do with a veteran presence at wide receiver. Of those expected to make the roster, the most seasoned is Greg Ward. But he’s only played 23 games in two years at Philadelphia. Travis Fulgham’s name could also be thrown in there (if you count a handful of good games during one season as experience), and he’s served as the ‘true’ slot receiver on the team. He has 16 games of experience under his belt and will look to continue his efficient production from a 2020 standout season. No one’s calling this Philadelphia Eagles team short-handed in terms of its wide receivers, as they have shining prospects who could blossom with the right coaching and within the right offensive scheme. No one would particularly be against the Eagles searching for a proven veteran wideout target either. For now, Sirianni seems pleased with his pass-catching options and can hopefully chisel Philadelphia’s unrefined wide receiver unit into touchdown-scoring gems this season. https://insidetheiggles.com/2021/08/27/philadelphia-eagles-nick-sirianni-scheme/
  22. 4 Philadelphia Eagles moves Howie Roseman should be applauded for by Tyler Stauffer Give Howie Roseman a round of applause if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan. When the Philadelphia Eagles walked off the field in Week 17, deliberately throwing the game in order to improve draft position, the perception of this team and the front office couldn’t have been worse. Entering the offseason with all the dysfunctional issues that they had, the trajectory of this team certainly felt like it was going in the wrong direction. Their $100-million franchise quarterback had been benched. There were questions about Doug Pederson and his staff, and this roster for the third straight season could not stay healthy. Oh, and that’s not all. Philadelphia’s salary cap issues that they carried into the offseason hurt as well. Before any moves were made, the Eagles were forced to shed over $50 million in salary. The outlook was not positive, and the fanbase once again turned on the executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman. To his credit, Howie has turned things around, and even though most will never give him credit, his performance during 2020’s offseason is one that would normally get a general manager some praise. Now, while there are still some that want to see him fired, the majority of fans watching understand what he did this offseason. The atmosphere around this team has gone from bleak to a trajectory that is trending upward. Once considered a top general manager after winning the Super Bowl back in 2017, this may be his greatest work. Here are four moves that may have thrust him back into respectability. The Philadelphia Eagles trade Carson Wentz. The biggest move of the Eagles offseason was when they traded fifth-year quarterback Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round selection and a conditional 2nd-round selection in 2022 that has the potential to become a first-round pick if Wentz plays at least 75 percent of the Colts offensive snaps. Normally the team trading away a franchise quarterback is considered the proverbial loser of the trade. The Eagles benefit in many ways from trading Carson Wentz. Heading into what Roseman called a ‘transition period’, having draft capital is essential. Depending on how the 2021 season shakes out for Wentz and the Colts, the Eagles could be looking at three first-round draft picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Worst case scenario would be two first-round picks and two second-round picks. Gaining draft picks isn’t the only benefit of trading Carson Wentz. Any time you can reset your cap situation after being in the hole the way the Eagles were, it’s a great thing. Building a championship contender in today’s NFL is hard, especially when franchise quarterbacks want, but rightfully deserve contracts that eat up over a quarter of the team’s annual cap space. By trading Wentz, the Eagles incurred the largest dead cap hit in NFL history, a whopping $34 million hit to their 2021 cap space. But after this season the contract comes off the books and the Eagles will have a lot of money to work with when it comes to rebuilding this team into a contender. The Philadelphia Eagles make major moves in free agency. Going into the NFL’s free agency period, the Philadelphia Eagles did not have much cap space to work with. Many thought they wouldn’t be able to sign any free agents. Howie Roseman made lemonade out of lemons. Restructuring contracts is now common practice across the league, but Howie Roseman pioneered it years ago. Depending on who you ask, restructuring contracts is either a good thing or a bad thing. GMs can create cap space by ‘kicking the can down the road’ so to speak. Roseman did what he had to by restructuring a handful of veteran contracts like the ones belonging to Darius Slay, Rodney McLeod, and Brandon Graham. No one expected the Eagles to be big buyers in the free-agent market. They were never going to be able to sign a top-tier guy. Howie Roseman went after players who were great value pickups. He signed guys like Anthony Harris to a one-year $4M deal, a man who was the top safety on the market and commanding big money a year ago. He also signed Eric Wilson to a team-friendly one-year deal after having his best season as a pro in Minnesota. Two of Howie’s best signings did not come in the thick of free agency. The signing of Ryan Kerrigan, which was a surprise to many, did not happen until mid-May. The final piece, and depending on who you ask, his best signing came just days before training camp kicked off by signing cornerback Steven Nelson to a one-year $4 million deal. Based on what he came into the offseason with cap-wise, and the value he was able to get with the scraps he had, deserves a lot of credit. Howie made sure that even during a ‘transition period’ there would be no tanking. This team will continue to compete. The Philadelphia Eagles land big fish in the NFL Draft. An article praising Howie for drafting seems unusual, but here we are. Often criticized for the moves made in previous drafts, Roseman knocked this one out of the park. Many fans were upset when the news of the Eagles trading down broke. All offseason, Eagles fans have been celebrating the fact that they could secure either LSU wide receiver Ja’marr Chase or Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. Trading down to 12 ruled both of them out. Roseman had a plan though. Devonta Smith graded very similar to Ja’marr Chase and that is why trading down made even more sense. He felt he could get a blue-chip player while securing another first-round pick. Roseman did not disappoint in the rest of the draft either. Taking interior offensive lineman Landon Dickerson with the 37th overall pick in the second round. He’s someone Philly is banking on to stay healthy and anchor this offensive line after Jason Kelce retires. Defensive tackle Milton Williams was added out of Louisiana Tech, someone who’s being compared to Aaron Donald. Cornerback Zech McPhearson was added in the fourth round. Running back Kenny Gainwell was added in the fifth. Both of these picks drew rave reviews from draft experts and Eagles fans. Cornerback was still a need at the time and McPhearson has the talent to play early and develop into a solid player. Getting a player like Kenny Gainwell in the fifth round was just flat-out impressive. Miles Sanders needs help in the backfield and the Eagles need a young dynamic back in case of injury. This draft cannot be judged for another few years, but Howie deserves an A for the moves he was able to make and the value of each draft pick. The Philadelphia Eagles land an unappreciated but very talented coaching staff. After Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson was fired the search for the next head coach started. And like the search back in 2016 where Pederson was eventually hired, the Eagles held several interviews. There were many reports the Eagles were not a hot destination for a lot of the new head coaching candidates. Similar to Pederson, when Nick Sirianni was hired, he was criticized. It’s almost like Howie and Jeff were trying to recreate the hire of Pederson because there are too many parallels. Sirianni does not have much experience with play-calling but will assume that role with the Eagles. Pederson and Sirianni are also first-time head coaches. They are both branches off coaching trees of previous Eagles coaches. Pederson from Andy Reid and Sirianni from Frank Reich. Finally, they were both considered ‘yes men’ that the front office could control and many pundits did not believe either could command a locker room. The beginning of the Sirianni era got off to a rough start. His introductory presser was widely mocked and continued the narrative that he wasn’t fit to be an NFL head coach. Throughout the offseason, Sirianni demonstrated on many occasions that not only can he gain the respect of his players, but that his football IQ is not to be underestimated. He filled out a wonderful staff that consists of former LA Chargers offensive coordinator Shane Steichen (who will assume the same role in Philly), Florida QB coach Brian Johnson, and former Indianapolis Colts secondary coach as his defensive coordinator. The knock on the previous staff was that they did not adapt well and failed to develop talent. This staff is the direct contrast, Howie Roseman got it right with the hire of Nick Sirianni and his staff. https://insidetheiggles.com/2021/08/02/philadelphia-eagles-moves-howie-roseman/
  23. Philadelphia Eagles: Shakial Taylor could shake up CB battle at camp by Geoffrey Knox If you’re looking for guys to really hone in on and pay attention to during Philadelphia Eagles training camp, Shakial Taylor is as good a guy as any to watch. Perhaps the most intriguing roster battle we’ll see over the month of August is the one featuring the cornerbacks, especially once we really begin to dig into who the favorites are to start opposite Darius Slay in base packages. Taylor’s name is one you may want to highlight or put an asterisk by. A six-foot-tall and 175-pound cover guy out of Kansas, Taylor went undrafted in 2019 before landing with the Indianapolis Colts where he ran into, you guessed it, current defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Coach Gannon was Indy’s cornerbacks coach at the time. Shakial Taylor could shake up the Philadelphia Eagles cornerback battle. So far, things haven’t exactly gone the way that Taylor would have liked during his NFL career. After notching 56 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and five pass breakups with the Jayhawks over a 20-game stretch from 2017 to 2018, his professional resume consists of five games, a pass breakup, and seven tackles. How did he get there? Well, after a great preseason and training camp under Gannon with the Colts in 2019, a concussion led Indy to believe that the best move would be to waive him with an injury settlement during final cuts. He re-signed with their practice squad in Week 5 of that season, and he was promoted to the active roster in October. He’d be waived in November and has since spent time on the Denver Broncos and New York Giants rosters, but seeing him on Philly’s training camp roster makes one believe that, with his experience and the line that can be connected between both he and Coach Gannon, he has just as much of a shot to make this roster as Grayland Arnold, Kevon Seymour, Josiah Scott, Lavert Hill, Michael Jacquet, and Nate Meadors, all of whom will be involved in an intense battle for one of the final spots on the roster at the position. https://insidetheiggles.com/2021/07/24/philadelphia-eagles-shakial-taylor-camp/
  24. Trusted Philadelphia Eagles insider shares good news on Zach Ertz drama by Geoffrey Knox It’s sort of been a nightmare if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and truthfully, it’s kind of hard to remember, at times, where all of the drama started. We just went to be one day as both members of the media and Birds fans, and everything we used to tease Dallas Cowboys fans about became relevant to our own situations and favorite football team. Who would have thunk that the Eagles were actually the team with all of the off-field drama and the meddling owner? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The truth is Jerry Jones is meddlesome, but as far as those areas that we would label as being fit for a soap opera, it’s hard to deny that Dallas has been relatively quiet aside from some Ezekiel Elliott stuff here and there. It’s actually Philly that’s been the traveling reality show. That’s why it’s good to see some good news coming out of the NovaCare Complex and one of the more trusted voices, whether you love him or not, for Eagles news. Zach Ertz and the Philadelphia Eagles may be mending some broken fences. No Philadelphia Eagles fan worth their salt has to be told who Howard Eskin is. He’s loved by some and hated by others, but whether you agree with his takes or not, Birds fans have learned over time that if he says something, you can take it to the bank. Recently, he had this to say via his Twitter account about the Zach Ertz drama: Now, while that isn’t much, it’s important because we were told that, on one hand, seeing Ertz anywhere around team facilities again was highly unlikely, and on the other, this rift between the greatest tight end in team history and the organization was unrepairable. This has to qualify as good news, and it is for one reason. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Ertz will be an Eagle for life. This doesn’t guarantee that a long-term deal is coming because, honestly, it probably won’t be. It just feels good to see that The long and short of everything is this. Even if things don’t work out and Zach Ertz leaves anyway, at least the split won’t be as venomous as we once thought it would be. That has to count for something right? By a show of hands, who’s sick of seeing just about everyone who’s been associated with this team for a while leave the organization on bad terms? https://insidetheiggles.com/2021/07/22/philadelphia-eagles-good-news-zach-ertz/
  25. 4 Reasons Philadelphia Eagles won that Carson Wentz trade by Geoffrey Knox1 day ago The Philadelphia Eagles have already won the Carson Wentz trade. It’s the uncertainty of things that makes the NFL game so doggone interesting. A little over five years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Carson Wentz out of a program that, had you asked most NFL fans what the team’s colors were, they wouldn’t have been able to tell you. You see, before Wentz’s arrival, the most that the majority of the Birds fan base could tell you about Fargo was that it shared the name with a television show that aired on FX. Still, we were told that Carson would be great by everyone. He became one of the top two prospects at the position in 2016, and we believed it and bought in because that’s what fans sometimes do. The word fan is short for fanaticism, and supporters of every team need something to believe in. Sure, Wentz had his moments. He even got within an eyelash of possibly winning the NFL’s MVP Trophy once, but in the end, Philly would draft a project quarterback in Round 2 of 2020’s NFL Draft, Number 11 would lose his job, and then, and this is probably the most disappointing thing, Wentz decided that he didn’t want to compete to get his job back. Carson Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts on March 17th, a move that still draws the ire of some Eagles fans, but regardless of what side you are on, here’s the boldest of bold statements. The Philadelphia Eagles have already won in the deal. Do not adjust your television sets. No one cares if you disagree. Here are three reasons why that statement is accurate. The Philadelphia Eagles will play harder for Jalen Hurts than they did for Wentz. If you still haven’t figured out that the majority of this team wanted Jalen Hurts under center, it may be time to dust off those Wentz-colored glasses. You’ve been told most of this for six years now, and some of you still haven’t caught up with the rest of us, so let’s just pull out a few random facts that so many of you have chosen to ignore or have forgotten. Does no one remember when those reports surfaced that there were guys in the locker room that thought Wentz was a bad teammate? How long are we going to ignore that there were anonymous sources, and burner accounts, and at least two of his wide receivers that had consciously made up their minds that they were out to get him? Is there anyone that wants to talk about the fact that Duce Staley was irritated with the fact that he was coddled? Does anyone have any comments on the subject of Philly hiring an enabler as his quarterback coach because Press Taylor was his buddy? No? Does no one have anything on that? Look, we’ve beaten this horse to death. The evidence has been overwhelming for years. This team wanted to play with Nick Foles. Then, they rallied around Jalen Hurts. Folks, Wentz’s Eagles teammates built a shrine to Nick Foles when he left. You didn’t really see them do that for Carson now, did you? Some of you still haven’t figured this out, but maybe the 2021 season will serve as some evidence. Jalen Hurts is the guy that most of this franchise including their former head coach Doug Pederson wanted under center. Now, it’s up to Hurts to prove that he’s worthy of that confidence. The new Philadelphia Eagles QB’s mindset is better than the last one’s. Some guys are motivated by competition and being told that they can’t do something. Some guys thrive under adversity. Then, there are guys on the other end of the spectrum. They shrink under pressure. They collapse when things get tough. They need cheerleaders because once the detractors get in their heads it’s game over. Muhammad Ali beat most of his opponents before he even got in the ring with them. Pressure does two things. It makes diamonds, or it bursts pipes. Ladies and gentlemen, Jalen Hurts is a diamond. Carson Wentz is a pipe. Jalen is the type of guy that plays with the big boys on the basketball court because he wants to get stronger and better. Carson is the guy that throws the basketball off of the court and stomps off in tears. You’ve seen the mental makeup of both of these guys. Who do you want on your team as your quarterback? Now, here’s what you need to understand. Wentz will probably get off to a faster start in Indy than Hurts will in Philly. Wentz has a better team. Wentz has a more experienced coach. The fan base will be much nicer to him now but forget about football for a second. Let’s say we were soldiers in a foxhole or some corporate guys at work. Let’s say a bad day came and adversity caught us off guard. Who do you want in that foxhole with you? Hurts or Wentz? That, ladies and gentlemen, could wind up being the reason that Jalen Hurts winds up being the better quarterback in the long run, and if you don’t think that’s a valid argument, you really don’t understand football or the guys that play the game. Carson Wentz will never eclipse what you saw with the Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s talk about legacy for a second. How many of you have stopped to think about the fact that the new Philadelphia Eagles QB doesn’t need to do much to surpass the last one? Maybe you should if you haven’t. In six NFL seasons at the helm as Philly’s starting signal-caller, Wentz crafted a record of 35-32-1. He has a sub-.500 record if you remove the ‘MVP season’ (24-30-1). He’s 0-1 in his lone playoff appearance, one he had to exit due to an unfortunate injury but also one that he was 1-4 in before his exit. For years the argument has been that the rule of thumb is Carson has shown what he can do when he’s in the right situation. Maybe we should look at this the other way. Maybe 2017 was the exception to the rule and not the rule itself. Maybe 2017 was the mirage. Carson Wentz was never that good. Maybe, when it’s all said and done, he’ll be remembered like we remember Carson Palmer. Here’s a statement that can’t be proven, but when you step back and take some time to think about it, you’ll realize that it makes sense. We’ve been driving ourselves into a frenzy because, in 2019, with Philly needing to win down the stretch to make the postseason, Wentz, after losing to a bad Miami Dolphins team, led the Birds to four straight victories over some pathetic squads. He beat the New York Giants twice. He beat Washington. He won a 17-9 tussle over a bad Dallas Cowboys team. The Philadelphia Eagles would have never won Super Bowl LII if Carson Wentz was under center. Pressure… The big stage… The back and forth nature of that Super Bowl. What about Wentz makes you feel like he was ever ready for that moment or would have been victorious on that day? If you’re worried about Jalen Hurts proving that he was the right choice, don’t be. It won’t take much for him to eclipse everything that Carson Wentz ever did in an Eagles jersey. Look at what the Philadelphia Eagles got out of the deal. So, here we are, and who would have thunk? Carson Wentz’s legacy with the Philadelphia Eagles is this. In 2016, he did some nice things. In 2017, he set the table for a better cook and server (Nick Foles). He got hurt in 2018, and the better cook led the Birds to within a few plays of getting back to a second-consecutive NFC Championship Game, one they could have won (they did have the L.A. Rams number). Many of his teammates didn’t like him and did everything they could to run him out of town. As fans and members of the media, we crushed those teammates, but in the end, they may have had a point. Carson Wentz never led this team to a Super Bowl. Heck, he never even won a playoff game, and during the 2021 NFL offseason, he probably assisted ownership in their decision to run the only coach who had ever led this team to a Vince Lombardi Trophy out of town. And, then he left anyway. The debate lives on. Hang around some Philadelphia Eagles fans, and you’ll still hear stories and arguments about how good he was (or wasn’t), but the fact of the matter is this. Carson Wentz is gone. So is the drama that came with him, and the Birds got a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional second-round pick out of the deal. That second-rounder will probably wind up being a first-rounder, which will give the Eagles three first-round draft selections in 2022, so even if you are a little bitter, even if this Jalen Hurts thing doesn’t work out, Philly can still go get a franchise quarterback next season (or trade for one). Things don’t always work out how we expect, but Philly came out on top this time. Trading Carson Wentz sets the Eagles up for success, and there isn’t a Birds fan in the Delaware Valley or anywhere else on Planet Earth that will complain about that. https://insidetheiggles.com/2021/07/20/philadelphia-eagles-won-carson-wentz/
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