On the surface the signing of Felix Jones makes roster sense for the Eagles.
Felix Jones, RB, 5-10, 217, 5th year out of Arkansas, drafted in 1st round by Dallas in 2008.
Jones averaged close to 5.0-yards per carry throughout his career and is a very capable return man- an area where the Eagles could certainly improve. Jones averaged 24.0 yards per kickoff return throughout his career. While he only has one KR touchdown, he has longs of 69 yards and 41 yards.
Any real impact Jones can have on the Eagles will depend on his health- something that has been a problem for him throughout his career. Jones has played in 16 games just twice in five years. If healthy, however, Jones could be a potential steal for Chip Kelly and an Eagles offense that seems to be a perfect fit for the former Arkansas Razorback.
One thing Kelly is expected to do in his offense is get the Eagles running backs into space with the ball. Like LeSean McCoy, Jones is capable of taking it to the house anytime he touches the ball, especially in open space. Jones has had a receiving touchdown of 27 yards or more every season since his rookie year, and a rushing touchdown of 40 yards or more every year but last season.
The darker reason behind Felix Jones' signing, however, has a lot to do with the off-field troubles of Shady McCoy.
I'm not one to stir the pot of speculation about the domestic or legal troubles of the stars. But I have it from a reliable source that the NFL Commissioner's office is looking hard into the current legal case involving McCoy and an alleged "party bus" assault upon a female companion. The alleged incident dates back to December.
How does Felix Jones fit into the investigation of McCoy? Pretty simple, really— he becomes a prime-time insurance policy at running back for the Eagles just in case the Commissioner decides to come down hard on McCoy with a suspension.
The case is in civil court right now. McCoy and his attorney deny all allegations, and claim the legal action is an attempt to extort a financial settlement.
No matter how it plays out in court, the Commissioner has the power to interject his own ruling and disciplinary action into McCoy's career, subject of course to appeal by the player and the NFLPA.
McCoy, still a very young man, has become somewhat of a loose cannon and an embarrassment to the league. It is not far-fetched to anticipate some type of disciplinary action coming down on him in the near future—perhaps even a suspension.
Shady needs to get himself together. Until he does, Felix Jones is more than just roster depth—he is essential insurance at running back.
Speaking of roster, here is Jordan Raanan's 2-DEEP chart based on what the Eagles defense would look like if they played a real game today:
1. Cedric Thornton
2. Vinny Curry
Analysis: This could be one of the most hotly contested starting positions at training camp. Don't be surprised to see Clifton Geathers or maybe a rookie like Bennie Logan work their way into the mix either.
1. Isaac Sopoaga
2. Antonio Dixon
Analysis: Sopoaga is the man here. Dixon has to prove he can play the position.
1. Fletcher Cox
2. Clifton Geathers
Analysis: This is Cox's position. Everyone else is just depth.
1. Connor Barwin
2. Brandon Graham
Analysis: Barwin's versatility make him a natural at outside linebacker. The Eagles are trying to determine if Hunt is a fit.
1. DeMeco Ryans
2. Jamar Chaney
Analysis: Kelly looks at Ryans as the leader of the defense. Chaney is a capable replacement.
1. Mychal Kendricks
2. Jason Phillips
Analysis: Kendricks looks like he may be the Eagles' three-down linebacker in the middle.
1. Trent Cole
2. Phillip Hunt
Analysis: Graham didn't even sprinkle in with the first-team defense. It was strictly Cole working with the starters. Still, there are serious doubts about whether Cole can transition to outside linebacker. Graham appears a better fit. It wouldn't be surprising if he moved ahead of Cole at some point this season.
1. Cary Williams
2. Curtis Marsh
Analysis: Williams wasn't at practice after he was married over the weekend. Marsh worked with the first team. That was a win for him after a disastrous 2012 where Andy Reid basically said publicly that he couldn't play.
1. Bradley Fletcher
2. Brandon Boykin
Analysis: The newcomer Fletcher slots into the starting lineup. Boykin was the second-teamer, but still worked as the No. 1 slot cornerback.
1. Patrick Chung
2. Kurt Coleman
Analysis: Chung immediately projects as a starter. Kelly apparently is very high on him.
1. Nate Allen
2. Kenny Phillips
Analysis: Allen received a vote of confidence by being placed with the starters. It may have something to do with Phillips just coming back from injury though.