Here are some Eagles-related “quick-hitters” in case you need to catch up:
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Eagles have restructured the contract of tight end Zach Ertz, turning $3.225M of his 2017 base salary into a guaranteed roster bonus, opening up $2.58M in cap space.
At the NFL annual meeting in Arizona, responding to reports that Carson Wentz finished the season with a sore right elbow, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said: “I don’t know where that came from. No truth to it at all. Carson has absolutely no issues with his arm. He’s in great shape. ”
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was asked about potentially taking Joe Mixon, and he said generally the Eagles have been about giving players second chances (mentions Michael Vick) but also an organization that values character. [I’ll take that as a maybe?]
Eagles coach Doug Pederson asked if he expects center Jason Kelce, the subject of trade speculation, to be on the roster at start of season. “Yes,” he said. [I’ll take that as a maybe, too?]
Not such a great deal for the Eagles— Per a source with knowledge of the contract, the New Orleans Saints will pay QB Chase Daniel a guaranteed base salary of $900,000. Since he had $5 million in fully-guaranteed salary from the Eagles in 2017, he’ll get the remaining $4.1 million from the Eagles. Daniel also can earn up to $3 million in incentives. Because the Eagles agreed to reduce the offset to $2 million, they would get the first $1.1 million of any incentive payments, with Daniel keeping the rest.
I guess we should mention the NFL rules changes which were ratified at the recent owners meetings in Phoenix. Ryan Van Bibber summed them up nicely for SB Nation’s NFL newsletter:
“Gone are players leaping over the line of scrimmage on kicks. Vicious hits will also be under more scrutiny with a renewed emphasis on ejections and suspensions for players that make those kind of hits, similar to the NCAA targeting rule.
“The NFL also adopted a system of centralized replay review that moves the responsibility for making the decision on controversial plays to the officiating department in New York. Refs have been making that decision, but they’ve had direct consultation with the officiating department in that process for several years now. It should provide more consistency from play to play.
“Receivers running routes now have protection as defenseless receivers, even within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. This is good news for your fantasy team.
“Sorry, multi-ball fans, the proposal to reward teams that kick the ball through the uprights on kickoffs by spotting the ball at the 20 instead of the 25-yard line did not pass.”
Here’s a closer look at all the rule changes and their impact.
Meanwhile, guest columnist Jovan Alford actually believes the Eagles can find two starting cornerbacks in the first four rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft. Really? That’s a tall order if you ask me—I’d be thrilled to find just one starter for 2017, and I’d also be happy if we found just one corner who would be ready to start in 2018. But here’s how Alford sees it:
by Jovan Alford
“Luckily for the Eagles, this year’s draft class is supposedly deep at cornerback, in comparison to years past.
“With five picks in the first four rounds of the NFL draft, the Eagles should be able to come out with at least two cornerbacks to potentially start this upcoming season.
“One cornerback that should be on their radar is University of Michigan star Jourdan Lewis. He was a part of a Michigan defense that had a solid front line, featuring potential first-round defensive end Taco Charlton, and played in a secondary with outstanding playmaker safety Jabril Peppers, an elite playmaker.
“In 2016, Michigan’s defense allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete only 43.6 percent of their passes for 142.5 yards and an interception per game.
“While Charlton and Peppers were garnering all the attention, Lewis had a solid senior season. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound cornerback had 25 total tackles, nine pass deflections, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two interceptions in 2016.
“When viewing Lewis’ film, the first thing to notice about him is that he can play press coverage on the outside, despite his size. He’s a competitor who is also physically formidable.
He showed off his athleticism this past season against Wisconsin, making a crazy one-handed interception.
“Although Lewis made an amazing play, the clip also showed a couple of his weaknesses. At the beginning of the play, Lewis gets beaten off the line of scrimmage and starts grabbing at the wide receiver.
“That will get him in trouble in the NFL a majority of the times unless your name is Richard Sherman. In the NFL, if a cornerback starts grabbing a wide receiver past five yards, the referee will throw a flag.
“Outside of the grabbing and his size, Lewis rates favorably. He should be available for the Eagles in Round 2, if they use their first-round pick on a wide receiver, running back, or another defensive position.
“Lewis would be a solid fit in Jim Schwartz’s defense and could compete for the starting slot cornerback job, especially if the Eagles have different plans for Jalen Mills.
“All in all, Lewis is just one of many cornerbacks who I believe would work in the Eagles defense. Other cornerbacks I like in this draft outside of the top guys are UCLA’s Fabian Moreau, Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie, and LSU’s Tre’Davious White.
“The Eagles cannot go wrong with any of these guys including Lewis. The NFL draft is only a month away, so the organization needs to make sound judgments as it continues to form its hierarchy of draft preferences.”