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  1. What they're saying: The Eagles' future is bleak, and their skill players are among the NFL's worst Please, don't shoot the messenger... BY MATT MULLIN PhillyVoice Staff We're now officially one week away from the Eagles' first practice of the first training camp under first-year head coach Nick Sirianni. And for the first time in at least a few years, there's only tepid excitement among the fanbase, as most are cautious not to get too excited, knowing that what lies ahead is likely a learning year, one in which the Eagles will need to find out not just if the coach is the right man for the job — he'll probably have more than a season to prove himself anyway — but more importantly whether or not quarterback Jalen Hurts is the guy to lead this team on the field for the foreseeable future. With the potential to have three first-round picks next spring, not to mention a chance to trade for Deshaun Watson, Hurts likely won't have as long of a leash as Sirianni. And the deck is already somewhat stacked against him. While strong offensive line play is a key for young quarterbacks — and the Eagles offensive line should at least be decent this season, health permitting — it also helps to have a strong arsenal of offensive weapons, something the Eagles are most certainly lacking at this point. Just ask, well, pretty much anyone who writes about or watches football, and they'll tell you that the Eagles, despite spending two first-round picks on wide receivers and a second-round pick on a running back over the last three drafts, don't have a lot to offer in that department. They have some potential, sure, but not much in terms of veteran stalwarts you can trust week in and week out to deliver. And the one guy you used to be able to bank on for that, Zach Ertz, was a shell of himself in 2020 and likely won't be on this team when they open the season anyway. The Eagles are a team clearly trending in the wrong direction. But maybe this is rock bottom. Maybe it's all up from here. Maybe. Maybe not. It's unfortunate that a week before camp opens that we're bringing you so much doom and gloom in today's What They're Saying, but remember not to shoot the messenger. Let's dive in... The future isn't very bright Staff | ESPN+ Over at ESPN, they released their annual Future Power Rankings, where they look at the teams best positioned to succeed over the next three years. The Eagles, unsurprisingly, did not fair too well. The worst part about this? They were ranked 6th just a year ago. I didn't do all the math, but it's hard to imagine another team falling anywhere near that many spots in such a short amount of time, especially since these rankings are supposed to be more big picture and less reactionary. That's, uh, not great... Not-so-skilled positions Bill Barnwell | ESPN+ Sticking with ESPN for a moment — and getting back into something we discussed in the intro — the Eagles' skill players leave a lot to be desired. And Bill Barnwell is one of those writers we mentioned who can clearly see that's the case. When ranking all 32 NFL teams based on their skill position players, the Eagles were way down the list at 29th, 19 spots lower than where they were just a year earlier and 25 spots below their position from 2019. How the mighty have fallen... Nowhere to go but up? Steve Palazzolo | Pro Football Focus Where PFF got it absolutely right is with the Eagles pass catchers, which they ranked 30th overall. Given how bad they were each of the last two years — dead last, according to PFF — it makes sense that the addition of DeVonta Smith wasn't going to be enough to rapidly move them up the boards. If Smith lives up to the hype, and if Reagor takes a step forward, and if Travis Fulgham can be more consistent — and, yes, that's a lot of big ifs — then next year they could move up quite a bit in this ranking. See how the grow Zach Berman | The Athletic Speaking of those three wideouts I just mentioned in the above blurb, Zach Berman of The Athletic offered up 25 thoughts heading into Eagles training camp, and there was one for each of those three receivers, and he seems to agree that this could be their trio of the future if each takes the necessary steps forward in 2021. https://www.phillyvoice.com/eagles-rumors-news-training-camp-power-rankings-jalen-hurts-devonta-smith-jalen-reagor-058882/
  2. https://www.phillyvoice.com/eagles-nfl-rumors-lesean-mccoy-devonta-freeman-alshon-jeffery-nfl-news/ Bye, bye Alshon? Jeff McLane | The Philadelphia Inquirer The speculation that the veteran wideout has played his last game in Philly has been out there for some time now, but there hasn't been any news on the Alshon Jeffery front in quite some time. By all accounts, the Eagles are still looking to move Jeffery, who has been accused of being a leak inside the locker room and has struggled on the field to both produce and stay healthy. In fact, the Eagles already tried to trade Jeffery last season. MORE ON THE EAGLES Eagles new player (or current player with new role) series: Avonte Maddox edition John McMullen: As our nation burns, it's impossible to 'stick to sports' DeSean Jackson calls for players to be mic'ed up for 2020 season Eagles mailbag: The backup QB situation, the improved defense, and more How many compensatory picks should the Eagles expect to receive in the 2021 NFL Draft? In his positional preview of the team's 2020 roster, Jeff McLane of The Inquirer wrote that he believes Jeffery, who may not yet be healthy when the season starts, has played his last game in midnight green. Of the three, Jeffery is the least likely to be here when the season begins — whenever that may be. If the opener is Sept. 13, as scheduled, he may still be employed by the Eagles, but it’s unlikely he’ll be on the 53-man roster. Jeffery suffered a season-ending Lisfranc foot injury on Dec. 9. While the Eagles have been reluctant to give a timetable on his return, sources close to the receiver said he was as far out as nine months from a full recovery from surgery, which theoretically could have him back in uniform by Week 1. The Eagles would love to trade Jeffery. They tried as far back as last October before anonymous quotes criticizing Carson Wentz, the offense and the front office were attributed to him. But he is virtually untradeable considering his contract, age, relative decline, and mostly, his injury. The Eagles could release him at any time and spread out the dead money against the salary cap (approximately $26 million) into next year, but there really isn’t an impetus right now if they hope to accrue something in return for the 30-year old. Maybe they envision working Jeffery back into the fold once healthy. He wasn’t happy last season when he found out about the possible trade, and whether that had anything to do with his alleged comments to ESPN, I still can’t imagine him playing in midnight green again. But a lot could depend on how Jackson returns from November core muscle surgery, how Arcega-Whiteside develops in Year 2, and how the new pieces fit. The Eagles simply aren’t in a position to be dumping (former) Pro Bowl receivers, however distant they are from their best seasons, and from the starting quarterback. [inquirer.com] Money talks Michael Lombardi | The Athletic Over at The Athletic, former GM Mike Lombardi wrote about the impact the coronavirus and potential lack of fans could have on the NFL salary cap. And that's bad news for teams like the Eagles, who were already looking to be $50 million over the cap next season (although they'll roll over their remaining space from 2020 to cover some of that). That number, believe it or not, would be somewhat manageable for Howie Roseman and Co. — after all, this is what Howie does best. But if the cap decreases by, say, $30 million, as it very well could, that would put the Eagles in a much tougher spot, one they never could've foreseen when the started to put their plan together. Now, it becomes about how they adapt... No one knows how much the cap will decrease by yet, and they won’t find out the actual number until the 2020 season ends and the accounting process is complete. However, teams would be smart to use a $30 million reduction as a benchmark for planning purposes. (If the owners claim they could lose half a billion dollars from not having fans, then assuming a $30 million reduction in cap money next year is a conservative number.) The smart teams (the ones with money next year) will start looking at high cap number players in 2021 and trying to trade for them once the season begins, figuring dumping salaries for some teams might be necessary. Teams that budget 2021 into their decision-making methods for 2020 will be well ahead of the game next February. Teams like the Colts, Chargers, Patriots, and Bengals won’t have to worry as they currently have more than $90 million of cap room based on the projected percentage of increase as well as the players they have under contract. Teams like the Eagles, Saints, Falcons, Texans and Steelers will need to do some trimming to fit under the current number. Once you take $30 million off the projected number, these teams will have to do more than trimming. It will not be a pretty market for sellers next free agency period. As an example, the Eagles would be $50 million over the projected number heading into 2021, the most of any team for the 2021 season. But that would not be hard to reduce based on some inflated numbers for players who probably won’t be on the roster by then. It becomes a much harder problem if they need to reduce by $80 million —which might explain why the Eagles have not been as aggressive as usual in the late free-agent market. [theathletic.com] Chip on his shoulder Reuben Frank | NBC Sports Philadelphia Earlier, we wrote about DeSean Jackson's desire to see all NFL player mic'd up during the 2020 season if fans are unable to attend. That came out of his interview with Lane Johnson on the Eagles O-lineman's podcast, "Outside The Lane." That, however, wasn't the only interesting bit to come from that episode, as the two also discussed Jackson's abrupt departure during his first stint with the Eagles, when Chip Kelly decide the team would be better off without their best receiver. Here's what Jackson said about the way that all went down. "Honestly, bro, the past is the past, but I will say when I was released by the Eagles it was definitely a shove in my face, you know?” he said. "The story that was made up and the reason behind it was hard for me to respect. I would have respected it a lot more, man, if they would have just came to me and just told me basically it’s a money issue or we’re going a different route. But no, you want to come up and say I’m a hoodlum and I’m doing all this crazy (stuff)? That (stuff) was personal to me." [nbcsports.com] What it made it so surprising is that Jackson was just coming off his best season for the Eagles and was in the midst of his prime. And Jackson's teammates were apparently just as surprised as he was. "We were like, ‘What the hell’s going on around here?” Johnson remembers saying. Jackson was suddenly a free agent, and revenge was on his mind. "I remember the Redskins were one of the teams that hopped in and was really trying to sign me because of all the damage I did to them earlier in my career,” Jackson said. “(Owner) Dan Snyder personally sent me his private jet. I was in L.A. and he sent me his private jet, he was like, ‘Get on the plane and we’ll figure out the contract.’ RG3 actually came to my house in Calabasas and he was like, ‘Man, please bro, just come play with me.’ I just wanted to go play against y’all twice a year. I’m staying in the division because I want them to see me twice a year. … I was going to let them see what they were missing out on." [nbcsports.com] A copycat league Albert Breer | MMQB Finally, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And if that's true, the Browns must be making the Eagles blush. After luring away former Eagles VP of football operations Andrew Berry to be their new GM, Cleveland is not only reshuffling their personnel, but also how their entire front office is structured, basing it more on the way the Birds operate. There’s a method to how the Browns have set up their front office. And it’s rooted in the year that GM Andrew Berry had in Philadelphia. The new structure is, in fact, one reason why so many of the guys Berry worked with previously had to go—former assistant GM Eliot Wolf and VP of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith would have had to take de facto demotions to make it work. As the Eagles have it, the scouting department is set up in two silos. One is headed up by a VP of player personnel (Andy Weidl), the other by a VP of football operations (Berry’s old role). The former basically leads scouting, the latter everything else (analytics, etc.) In that structure, there was no room for an assistant GM like Wolf, and Highsmith likely would’ve had to be re-assigned to allow for Berry to have his own guy as scouting head (remember, Highsmith was hired over the top of Berry by GM John Dorsey). So those guys are gone, and ex-Niners exec Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is in as VP of football ops, with assistant director of pro scouting Glenn Cook promoted to VP of player personnel. So yes, there’s definitely an "analytics” feel to the front office. But the blueprint is actually borrowed from Philly. [si.com] Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports Matt Mullin PhillyVoice Staff mullin@phillyvoice.com
  3. https://www.eaglesmessageboard.com/forum/14-the-411/?do=add Together forever? Dan Graziano | ESPN Over at ESPN, they ranked all 32 starting NFL quarterbacks by how "married" they and their respective teams are. And given that they just inked him to a massive extension last year, it's no surprise that Eagles QB Carson Wentz found himself high up on that list. MORE ON THE EAGLES Podcast: What are the positives that Eagles fans have to look forward to in 2020? Report: Eagles make offer to free agent RB Devonta Freeman, still interested in LeSean McCoy Recap: Eagles chat with Jimmy Kempski Foles says no one noticed him walking through Center City after Eagles won NFC Championship McMullen: Miles Sanders for MVP? In-person NFL minicamps next month? But what may be surprising to the casual Eagles fan who saw that monster deal lock him down through 2024 is that the Eagles aren't really tied to Wentz beyond 2021. Of course, the odds suggest he'll be around longer than that. 8. Philadelphia Eagles Starter: Carson Wentz | Signed through: 2024 Tier: Locked-in vet | Ranking in tier: No. 5 Contract: Four-year, $128 million extension signed in June 2019, including $66.5 million fully guaranteed at signing. Wentz's contract structure is built on staggered roster bonuses that were designed to help the Eagles navigate 2019 and 2020 salary-cap issues. He's basically getting $30 million this year and $25.4 million fully guaranteed in 2021. None of his salary is guaranteed beyond 2021, though $15 million of his 2022 salary becomes fully guaranteed if he's still on the team in March 2021. (It's also worth noting, given Wentz's history, that his 2022 salary is currently guaranteed for injury.) The remaining proration of the bonuses means the Eagles would incur a dead-money charge of about $24.5 million if they decided to move on from Wentz in the 2022 offseason. That's a lot, but not impossible, especially if his injury issues persist and if 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts develops. Wentz probably stays in Philly for more than the next two years, but the Eagles aren't contractually married to him for any longer than that. [espn.com] Carson speaks out Daniel Gallen | Penn Live Sticking with Wentz for a moment, the Eagles quarterback and face of the franchise uncharacteristically took a stance on a massive social issue on Thursday when he tweeted about the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, who has since been arrested. With social activist Malcolm Jenkins no longer on the team, it appears Wentz may be ready to step forward and fill that leadership void. And former teammates have taken notice. Additionally, Chris Long, a former Walter Payton Man of the Year winner and activist in his own right, had high praise of his former teammate during an interview on his "Green Light" Podcast with Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "I just had that conversation with Carson Wentz,” Long said. "I shared with you that tweet. I was very moved by that because you heard Shannon Sharpe talk about this week. He said who’s gonna step up? We need Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers. It’s great that we’ve got X, Y, Zs of the world, but we need the big named quarterbacks and that type of thing. "So to see that happen, and [Wentz] said ‘institutional racism.’ He typed those words out. That was really important to me, and I got chills thinking about it because it’s so bare minimum, but that’s all we need. We just need guys to address it.” Kerr and Long both said they seek out experts on issues to have discussions with before they make public statements. They want to be informed, and Kerr said he tries to "latch on” in order to learn as much as he can. That’s the first step in being able to make a larger impact with a significant platform, both men said. And for Wentz, speaking out is a big first step. "Hop in the passenger’s seat and say let’s roll,” Long said. "I think that’s the biggest thing for anybody out listening. You don’t have to be an expert. I know that had to be intimidating for Carson to send that tweet. I always knew he had that in him. I know that a lot of my teammates had that in them. Just because a guy is silent doesn’t mean he isn’t a good person, but right now, silence is not enough. I hope people step up.” [pennlive.com] Wentz among highest paid athletes in world Staff | Forbes Here's one last Wentz item that was almost as surprising as the QB's sudden decision to speak out on racial issues in the country, although the two aren't mutually exclusive as it's often the richest and most successful who fear speaking out because they believe they have the most to lose, when in fact they might be the ones who can most help bring about the systemic changes we so desperately need at the moment. And Wentz, at least financially speaking, has quite a bit to lose. According to Forbes, Wentz ($59.1 million) is the 10th highest paid athlete in professional sports. Worldwide. He’s also the second highest paid NFL player. Here’s more from Forbes profile on Wentz’ earnings and accolades: • The Philadelphia Eagles signed Carson Wentz to a contract extension in June 2019 worth $128 million over four years. • The deal included a $16.4 million signing bonus, as well as a $30 million option bonus paid in March 2020. • Wentz has a robust endorsement portfolio with Nike, NRG, Bobcat, Amazon, Sanford Health, Bose, Scheels and BlackRidge Bank. • He holds Eagles single-season franchise records for passing yards, completions and touchdowns. • Wentz was selected second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, after fellow quarterback Jared Goff. [forbes.com] That $16.4 million signing bonus and $30 million option bonus that Wentz received is in addition to his regular $9 million salary, bringing his total football earnings to about $55 million, with another $4 million in endorsements bringing his total to north of $59 million. As Forbes pointed out, the pandemic greatly impacted this list with baseball players being the hardest hit and football players seeing the biggest surge in number of players on the list due to the timing of when their season starts. Here is the full top 10: 1. Roger Federer: $106.3 million 2. Cristiano Ronaldo: $105 million 3. Lionel Messi: $104 million 4. Neymar: $95.5 million 5. LeBron James: $88.2 million 6. Stephen Curry: $74.4 million 7. Kevin Durant: $63.9 million 8. Tiger Woods: $62.3 million 9. Kirk Cousins: $60.5 million 10. Carson Wentz: $59.1 million [forbes.com] Jared Goff (No. 15) was the only other NFL player to crack the Top 20. Hangin' with Mr. Cooper Mike Kaye | NJ.com Finally, we arrive at an interesting nugget from an all-time great, Joe Thomas, who believes he knows the real reason why the Eagles were so desperate to acquire the likes of Darius Slay this offseason. Here's more from Mike Kaye of NJ.com: Thomas, who was named to 10 Pro Bowls during his illustrious NFL career, believes Eagles general manager Howie Roseman wanted to find a way to stop [Cowboys WR Amari] Cooper from destroying his secondary on a regular basis. Slay held Cooper to just three catches for 38 yards during the pair’s previous meeting in Detroit last season. "Darius Slay was very good against Amari Cooper when they played,” Thomas said on NFL Network this week. "He only allowed a 33% completion percentage. Oh, and by the way, Philly’s DBs were the worst in the NFL against Amari Cooper since 2015.” Slay serves as a major upgraded over Ronald Darby as the Eagles’ No. 1 cornerback. He is able to match up and move around against the opposing team’s top wide receiver. Cooper has that role for the Cowboys, and Slay should be able to slow the Pro Bowl playmaker down in coverage. Cooper caught a combined 10 passes for 130 yards against the Eagles in their two matchups last season. [nj.com] Earlier this week, our own Jimmy Kempski broke down the film on Slay and wrote about each of his matchups last season. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports Matt Mullin PhillyVoice Staff mullin@phillyvoice.com
  4. https://www.phillyvoice.com/eagles-rumors-news-carson-wentz-qb-rankings-jalen-hurts-lamar-jackson-taysom-hill-miles-sanders-mvp/ A Hill to die on Rodger Sherman | The Ringer Speaking of the Eagles quarterback situation, there's been a lot of talk about their plans at backup quarterback for next season, especially how they plan to use Hurts. One of the names thrown around when the discussing the Eagles' options with Hurts has been Saints' Swiss army knife Taysom Hill. And according to Rodger Sherman of The Ringer, a lot of teams are looking for guys with that skillset. Although the comparison between Hurts and Hill might not be the best one. But just because Hurts is a different player than Hill, that didn't stop the Eagles from going out and getting a guy who is a lot closer to the Saints star. Here's more from Sherman: Hurts more like Lamar Jackson? Tim McManus | ESPN While the comparisons between Hurts and Hill might be a little exaggerated, there is another successful example the Eagles can use when trying to figure out how to implement their new dual-threat quarterback on offense. Tim McManus of ESPN took a look at how the Eagles might use Hurts more like the Ravens used Lamar Jackson during the first half of his rookie season, before he became the team's starter (and went on to win an MVP award in his second season). MORE: Three free agents who make sense for Eagles — and one who no longer does Playing catchup? Tommy Lawlor | Iggles Blitz Not only did the Eagles add a different type of weapon with Hurts, but they also added a more traditional weapon around starter Carson Wentz this season: speed. And lots of it. Additionally, some of the guys the Eagles added can do more than just run fast in a straight line, and that may give Doug Pederson and Wentz some more opportunities to mix things up on offense after a rather blah campaign in 2019. They made some big changes on offense, both on the field and in the coaching room, but Tommy Lawlor sees it less a teardown of their old offense and more of a way of adapting that offense to adjust to a rapidly evolving NFL landscape. Sanders reader to carry the load Kevin Patra | NFL.com It may have taken half a season — and an injury to Jordan Howard — to really get Miles Sanders going, but once he did he proved to be one of the best young weapons in the NFL and earned his way into offensive rookie of the year discussions. Now, the Penn State product is ready for an even bigger role in 2020, and given the current state of the running back room, that feels like a foregone conclusion at this point. Sanders doubled down on that enthusiasm on Wednesday during a workout, making a bold proclamation for the upcoming season: Best of the best Pete Prisco | CBSSports.com Over at CBS Sports, Pete Prisco ranked the 100 best players in the NFL, and the Eagles were well represented, with six players making the list, and one other (Carson Wentz) making the list of players just to miss the cut. Last week we looked at the handful of Eagles players to make PFF's Top 101 of the last decade, so we figured we'd also share this list of the best players right now. Here's a look at the Eagles players who made the cut: At a loss Mike Ozanian | Forbes Even though it's probably the only safe way to resume sports at the moment, not having fans at home games is going to be a huge loss for NFL teams in 2020. And the Eagles will be among the biggest losers, as they could miss out on over $200 million worth of stadium revenue this season. I know it's hard to feel bad for billionaire owners, but that loss is almost certainly going to trickle down to lower level employees, especially those who work concessions, parking lots, and security around the Linc. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports MATT MULLIN PhillyVoice Staff mullin@phillyvoice.com
  5. Another name that may look familiar to Eagles fans, at least those who read this site regularly, is Mark Barron, who we covered recently in our look at which linebackers the Eagles could target to fill that specific name. Although he's not likely an every-down player, he brings the kind of versatility (he started as a safety before transitioning to linebacker) Jim Schwartz and the Eagles like. After letting Nigel Bradham go — he still remains available, however — the Eagles likely need to add some depth at the position, and they could certainly do worse than Barron. Mark Barron, LB 2019 team: Steelers | Age: 30 Barron, a 2012 first-round pick, had 82 tackles, three sacks and an interception with the Steelers last season. He enters his ninth NFL season looking for his fourth team. [...] Fowler: Eagles. Barron doesn't have elite speed but is still capable in coverage. The Eagles can add a situational linebacker to help with their third-down defense, and linebacker is an area in which Philly could add depth. [espn.com] RELATED: Seven free agent linebackers the Eagles could still target And finally, there's was quite a surprise among the trio of names suggested for the Eagles, mainly because of the position he plays. The Eagles already have a lot invested at defensive tackle — and seem to have a bigger need for depth at defensive end — but it wouldn't be totally shocking to see the Eagles bulk up even more at what has become one of the most important positions in Jim Schwartz' defense. Mike Daniels, DT 2019 team: Lions | Age: 31 Daniels was picked up last season by the Lions after spending his first seven seasons with the Packers. He was limited to nine games because of a foot injury and went on injured reserve in Week 15 with an arm injury. [...] Bowen: Eagles. When the Eagles made their championship run in 2018, the defensive line was deep. Adding a veteran such as Daniels gives them another interior tackle who can log reps -- especially in the postseason. [espn.com] Bargain shopping Adam Caplan | 97.3 ESPN Radio Another free agent we've covered quite a bit on this site is defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who entered the offseason as one of the top pass rushers on the market but remains unsigned, largely because of his sky-high asking price, which was around $20 million when free agency began and has reportedly only dipped a little bit in the months since, despite the demand seeming to dry up considerably. In a recent interview on 97.3 ESPN Radio in Atlantic City, Eagles insider and co-host of the Inside the Birds podcast Adam Caplan said that the Eagles are all but out on Jadeveon Clowney and would need the free agent's asking price to be almost cut in half before they'd seriously consider bringing him in. And that just doesn't seem realistic. Here's more from Cody Benjamin of CBSSports.com: Two months after hitting NFL free agency, one of the league's most recognized pass rushers remains without a team. And unless he's willing to basically cut his initial salary demands in half, Jadeveon Clowney has little chance of coaxing an offer out of the Philadelphia Eagles. Or at least that's according to SiriusXM's Adam Caplan, who reported recently on ESPN Radio that the Eagles would likely only consider the former Seattle Seahawks starter for $10 million or less. "They're not interested in the player," Caplan told New Jersey's 97.3 ESPN. "Unless he's willing to take a one-year deal at a significantly reduced price -- probably under $10 million or no more than $10 million, I don't even think they make the call. And even then, they're done ... bringing guys in with an injury history." The Eagles checked in on Clowney's asking price early in the process, Caplan indicated, but once they got an initial idea of his desires, "that was a nonstarter, and that was it." [cbssports.com] The good news for Eagles fans is that they still have some other options... RELATED: Ten DEs the Eagles could still add via free agency or trade Most improved Mike Clay | ESPN+ ESPN's Mike Clay took a look at some of the biggest moves made in the NFL this offseason and put together a list of which team's had the biggest improvements at any one position. And the Eagles found themselves checking in fairly high on the list as Clay seems to think the team's upgrade from Ronal Darby to Darius Slay is the fifth biggest upgrade in the entire league. 5. Philadelphia Eagles, CB Darius Slay replaces Ronald Darby Darby's 2019 stat line: 37 tackles, 2 INTs Slay's 2020 projection: 53 tackles, 2 INTs The Eagles traded for Slay following seven consecutive seasons of finishing ninth or worse in yardage allowed to opposing wide receivers. Philadelphia has allowed the most targets, receptions and yardage to the position during the span, and it's not close. Meanwhile, Slay quickly emerged as one of the league's premier shadow corners after being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. He has at least a pair of interceptions and 13-plus passes defensed each of the past six seasons. In fact, Slay's 99 passes defensed since 2014 are easily most in the NFL. He joins fellow newcomer and slot man Nickell Robey-Coleman in Philadelphia's overhauled secondary. [espn.com] Crystal ball time Reuben Frank | NBC Sports Philadelphia After the NFL schedule came out, we took a look at all the local experts' picks for each game of the 2020 season. But as we all know, the final results only tell part of the story of a team's seasons. And over at NBC Sports Philadelphia, Roob offered up some interesting predictions on different players and stats for the year. And while the first one was arguably the most eye-popping, some of the ones listed under his "quickie predictions" — like Jason Peters returning or Jalen Mills being moved back to cornerback — were just as interesting and likely have as big of an impact on the team as which wideout has the most receptions. 1. The surprise leading WR: Greg Ward began last year on the practice squad and didn’t play on offense until Week 11. But he caught 31 passes the last seven games, which was only 12 off the team lead by a WR for the entire season. Despite him not playing until Week 11. Ward was really the Eagles’ only reliable WR the last month and a half of the season, and that won’t be the case this coming season. But he runs such good routes out of the slot and has such good hands and knows how to get open, and Carson Wentz clearly likes throwing to him. [...] 10 more quickie predictions Nelson Agholor doesn’t make it to opening day with the Raiders … Dallas Goedert leads the Eagles with nine TD catches … Derek Barnett has a career-high 7 ½ sacks … Fletcher Cox joins Reggie White and Pete Pihos as the third Eagle to make six straight Pro Bowls … Undrafted rookie Raequan Williams out of Michigan State makes the team as the fourth defensive tackle … Jason Peters signs with the Eagles … DeSean Jackson plays 11 games and catches 37 passes for 592 yards and four TDs … JJ Arcega-Whiteside is a little better but only catches 29-for-493 … Jalen Mills winds up back at corner and rookie K’Von Wallace starts the last seven games of the season … The Eagles sign and release Jordan Matthews at least twice. [nbcsports.com] Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports Matt Mullin PhillyVoice Staff mullin@phillyvoice.com
  6. https://www.phillyvoice.com/eagles-news-rumors-alshon-jeffery-carson-wentz-contract-jalen-hurts-nfl-power-rankings/ Obviously, this story appearing on the team's own website gives it a little more credit, but it's still just Spadaro's opinion here. And this certainly doesn't preclude the Eagles from moving on from Alshon before the start of the season. It was also worth noting that, as best we could tell, during the aforementioned Wentz call with the media, he mentioned nearly every other receiver or tight end at one point or another, including DeSean Jackson, Reagor, Goodwin (twice), Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and even Josh freaking Perkins. There was one noticeable exception. And no, not JJAW and Greg Ward. If you're keeping score at home, this isn't the first time something like this has happened recently... [Note: Howie Roseman made sure to mention Alshon a few questions later, but only said the team needs "to get him healthy, get him right."] Right place, right time Matt Bowen | ESPN+ Speaking of Eagles wide receivers... Over at ESPN, Matt Bowen highlighted some draft picks who he thought landed in the ideal situation. And Eagles first-round pick Jalen Reagor was among his selections, although given the Eagles need at wideout, whatever player they picked at that position in the first round likely would've been in a good spot. But Bowen does highlight a few of the wrinkles that Reagor could add to Pederson's offense that a few of the other receivers taken in the first round might not have provided. It should be fun to see how the Eagles plan to use him in Year 1. Jalen Reagor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (Pick No. 21) Height: 5-10 | Weight: 206 | School: TCU Clay's 2020 projections: 52 catches on 84 targets for 646 yards and five TDs; 147 fantasy points Reagor brings instant juice to an Eagles offense that last season averaged a league-low 6.5 yards per target on passes to wide receivers. With explosive-play traits and vertical stretch ability, coach Doug Pederson will scheme up deep-ball opportunities and use Reagor on crossers and over routes. But don't forget about Reagor seeing slot targets in this offense. That's where Carson Wentz can target the TCU product on quick game throws and run-pass option concepts. There are going to be catch-and-run opportunities for him, in addition to the jet sweeps, screens and reverses Pederson can call to manufacture even more touches for Reagor. Those are high-efficiency plays that allow Wentz to get the ball quickly out of his hands. [espn.com] How much have Eagles invested in Wentz? Eliot Shorr-Parks | 94 WIP One of the things Howie Roseman and Co. have championed since their decision to draft Jalen Hurts in the second round is that they're basically married to Wentz after giving him a monster contract last season. Over at 94 WIP, Eliot Shorr-Parks took a look at just how tied the Eagles are to Wentz longterm, and when they might be able to get out of that deal without it hurting their bottom line too much. I also want to note what Eliot pointed out at the start — he's not advocating the Eagles try to trade Wentz, he's simply breaking down the contract and the options it gives the Eagles down the line. Wentz has pretty reasonable base salaries in each season after 2020, which starts at $15.4 million in 2021, $22 million in 2022, $20 million in 2023 and $21 million in 2024. Unless Wentz suffered a serious injury in 2020, the Eagles would likely have multiple teams interested in trading for him. They would likely get at least one first-round pick in return for Wentz, and perhaps two depending on how many teams were interested. If the Eagles were able to get a good return for Wentz they could view the dead money as essentially buying extra draft picks. Plus, with Hurts only making around $1.5 million, they would in theory still have around the same amount of money allocated to the quarterback position in 2021 as they would if they kept Wentz. The difference would be not only would they have extra draft picks to build with, but they would also be able to build going forward without having to worry about the massive deal they handed Wentz, something that has clearly impacted their plans this offseason. They would also be moving forward with at least two seasons of having Hurts, their new starting quarterback, on a rookie deal. The same logic -- selling high while inserting a cheap rookie as the starter -- is being used for the possibility the Green Bay Packers could move on from Aaron Rodgers after this upcoming season despite just handing him a big contract extension. [94wip.radio.com] Long story short, Eliot argues that the Eagles are married to Wentz likely for the next two years. If your interested in the ins and outs of Wetnz's deal, you should go read the full story. Ertz due for a big year? Staff | ESPN.com Last week, we took a look at the NFL.com power rankings, which had the Eagles falling several spots to No. 14. They actually came in two spots better on ESPN's latest list — largely because ESPN was already more down on the Birds than NFL.com coming out of free agency. But the real reason we're including this is Tim McManus' little nugget about how Zach Ertz is the Eagles player who benefitted most from the team's draft. And it's really hard to argue with him. 12. Philadelphia Eagles Post-free-agency ranking: 12 Player who benefited: TE Zach Ertz. The Eagles invested heavily in speed receivers, using draft picks on Jalen Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins and trading for Marquise Goodwin. Add them to DeSean Jackson, and you have a group that will stretch the field and open things up underneath for Dallas Goedert and Ertz, who was double- and triple-teamed last season with few dynamic playmakers around him. The influx of receiver talent will help Carson Wentz too, though the Jalen Hurts selection in Round 2 makes it hard to select Wentz as the player who benefits most from this draft. -- Tim McManus [espn.com] Power surge Staff | MMQB And this is why power rankings are great and awful at the same time. While both ESPN and NFL.com have the Eagles on the outside of the Top 10 looking in, The MMQB actually has the Eagles in the top 5. And that apparenty sparked such an outrage among readers that they actually had to defend themselves. And while Albert Breer, who voted the Eagles as No. 5, seems bullish on the Birds, one of their writers actually had the Eagles ranked third. Here's more: Several readers let us know they weren’t happy that the Eagles landed in our top five. After all, the team went 9-7 last season, finished 12th in our rankings after the Super Bowl, and got a relatively poor draft grade in our book. Allow Albert Breer, who voted for them in fifth, to explain: I know Philly fans have spent the balance of the offseason freaking out over the Eagles’ receiver situation, and the corner situation, and are acting as if we weren’t calling this the most talented roster in football nine months ago. The truth? The truth is Philly spend a first-rounder to address the former (Jalen Raegor), picks, cash and cap space to address the latter (Darius Slay), and is still sturdy along the offensive and defensive lines, which is a much better indicator of an NFL team’s success than the flashier spots. Bottom line, this is still a very well-conceived team with very good talent. If—and I understand that this is a big if­—Carson Wentz is healthy and himself again, this is 100% a top five team. [si.com] Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports Matt Mullin PhillyVoice Staff mullin@phillyvoice.com
  7. https://www.phillyvoice.com/nfl-draft-rumors-eagles-trade-alshon-jeffery-yannick-ngakoue-henry-ruggs/ 3,683 people are talking about this Oh, yeah. That. There are almost certainly going to be some hiccups as this remote draft plays out, but Eagles fans are certainly hoping none of those come from the Philadelphia contingent huddled around their screens and phones. Because, after two straight years of making very few picks, the Eagles are heading into this draft with eight, and could be looking to get more between now and when all is said and done. Everyone knows — or at least thinks they know — that Howie Roseman and Co. are going to target a wide receiver in the first round. Whether or not that involves them moving up to get their guy remains to be seen. Pretty much every wideout expected to go in the second half of the first round has been mocked to the Eagles, and that hasn't changed in the days leading up to Thursday night's first round. Over at The MMQB, Peter King posted his first (and only) mock draft of the year, and he had a pretty interesting nugget about who the Eagles will be taking with the 21st pick. No, not Justin Jefferson, the guy who has long been rumored to be the pick for Philly. No, it's a different SEC wideout who King believes will the pick. Here's more: Most mock drafts don't have Ruggs falling to the Eagles at 21, so it would make sense that they'd snatch him up if he makes it that far. That, however, might not be the most interesting thing King had to say. He also offered up a list of players likely to be traded on draft night, and there was one name in there that should jump out at Eagles fans: "Washington T Trent Williams, Jacksonville DE Yannick Ngakoue, New England G Joe Thuney, Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton, Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette, Philadelphia WR Alshon Jeffery." No, we're not talking about Leonard Fournette, who might make sense as a trade target for the Eagles. And we're not talking about Yannick Ngakoue, who clearly wants out of Jacksonville and has been hinting at Philadelphia as his desired landing spot. We're, of course, talking about Alshon Jeffery. It's worth noting that King listed these players in the order of how likely they are to get traded, and Jeffery is the last name on the list. But, hey, for fans hoping the Birds will move on from the injured wideout, it's something. There was also another interesting nugget dropped on Monday for those who want the Eagles to trade up and get one of the other top tier wideouts like CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy. The 49ers are reportedly shopping the 13th overall pick, as they're looking to gain some more picks in the middle part of the draft, something the Eagles actually have to offer. 1,412 people are talking about this There will likely be more rumors and news leaking out in the days and hours leading up to the NFL Draft, so keep it locked right here as we'll keep you up to date with all the latest...
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