Eagles, James Casey Agree To 3-Year Deal

The Eagles’ first free-agent addition comes on the offensive side of the ball. The team announced Tuesday night that it has agreed to terms with versatile tight end James Casey on a three-year deal.

Casey, 28, can play a variety of positions – tight end, fullback, H-Back. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder caught 34 balls on 45 targets for 330 yards and three touchdowns with the Texans last season. He served other roles too, including one as a lead blocker for Arian Foster.

Casey played in 51 percent of the Texans’ snaps, per Pro Football Focus. He was most commonly used as a blocker in the run game (54.6 percent of the time); he went out into pass routes 38.9 percent of the time; and he was kept in for pass protection on 6.3 percent of his offensive snaps. Casey had just one carry.

Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2003, Casey spent three years playing Rookie League ball before going to Rice and playing football. In 2008, he had 111 catches for 1,329 yards and 13 touchdowns.

He was a fifth-round pick by the Texans in 2009.

So, how does he fit in? We don’t know exactly what Chip Kelly is going to do offensively, but part of his college philosophy was based on getting to the line of scrimmage early and determining what to do based on the look of the defense.

Casey becomes a versatile chess piece in that respect. He can line up out wide, in the slot, on the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. He can start in one place, and once the quarterback assesses the defense, Casey can motion to a different spot to create pre-snap advantages for the offense. His versatility is likely a big part of what Kelly found attractive about Casey.

Casey’s signing shouldn’t affect Brent Celek. If the Eagles show a lot of spread looks, both Casey and Celek could be on the field at the same time. It could, however, be bad news for No. 2 tight end Clay Harbor, depending on how the rest of the roster shapes up.

And it could also signal that Kelly doesn’t plan on keeping another fullback, meaning Stanley Havili might hot have a roster spot.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • Token

    With the other options out there?

  • Bdawkbdawk

    I love flexibility, but it seems as if the Eagles tout flexibility just a little too much. Sure an extra read is nice, but with our goal-line troubles, I wish we could just trade in the “swiss army knife” for the mac truck.

  • IHATENNAMDI

    Thank God Nnamdi’s gone

  • theycallmerob

    I’d love the Iggs to come away from FA with either James Casey or Delanie Walker.

    • nicksaenz1

      Funny, as I was reading this I was thinking to myself that this should be Delanie Walker

  • dcwildcat53

    NFL.com also reporting we signed Sopoaga. Raiders released Huff today, what are the thoughts on bringing him in?

    • D3Keith

      Also hearing that CB Bradley Fletcher is in the fold.

      Keep em comin. I was happy to hear about Casey but I think it’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to the defensive additions as much as anything.

  • PhEaglesPhan

    “He can start in one place, and once the quarterback assesses the defense, Casey can motion to a different spot to create pre-snap advantages for the offense.”

    This quote stood out to me, this could be a great insight on what we may see this season. For instance lets say the Eagles line up in a spread Off, Def. Safeties are spread out, CB 10 yards back from the WR ready for the pass, Casey sitting on the Oline. QB motions for a HB option, Casey moves to the backfield, a Safety bites and creeps in, leaving one on one with a D-Jaxx or Maclin.

    Now this is only an thought but games like this will be fun to watch and Casey looks to be a good signing. My issue though, I’m all for Vick getting the start, but I’m not an idiot and I see his weaknesses. For a setup like this, we would need QB that can read a D every time. I hope Vick has been working on his game!

    • morgan c

      You make a great point. The problem is, as you alluded to, Vick is going to be responsible for getting him (and any others) the ball. Despite what you think of Vick and his skills, it is pretty obvious even to his supporters that recognizing defenses is his biggest flaw. He’s had years to work on it, including last year, when he said all he did was watch film and he still can’t do it. What’s the definition of insanity, again?

      Whatever, good signing. Just can’t wait for the season after next when hopefully and finally, another QB is leading this team…

      • limodriver27

        @morgan c and Ph E Fan: both points are direct hits – Vick making pre-snap reads, which is why I don’t panic when I see CK bringing in other QB’s, some with lesser name recognition but showing other qualities more in line with CK’s scheme. If Vick hasn’t shown he can pick up these reads, (or gets injured again), CK will choose from the others that CAN do it right, Vick’s higher salary will be riding pine. IMO, either way, he doesn’t finish the season.

  • Josh J.

    According to Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com, the Eagles have agreed with 49ers nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga as well as cornerback Bradley Fletcher.

  • http://twitter.com/JayDubbaYa Jay Woodworth

    Not to be overlooked, he was used as a lead blocker for one of the best ZBS teams in the league.

  • dcwildcat53

    Now there are reports that we also signed CB fletcher from the rams, LB phillips from the panthers, and S Patrick Chung from the patriots.

    • D3Keith

      The text from 825-65 says CB Bradley (assuming this is Fletcher), S
      Chung, LB Phillips, DL Sopoaga and TE Casey have agreed.

      Who is Phillips? Am I drawing a blank or is this a totally off-the-radar guy?

      • D3Keith

        This dude?

        http://www.panthers.com/team/roster/Jason-Phillips/67e3b751-9164-4d8e-a1e2-9300efccb8a6

        No idea who he is, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad signing.

        • dcwildcat53

          Im not familiar with him either, judging by his size, he will be a ST and backup ILB. I was really hoping they went after Dan Conner from Dallas. He is a local boy, capable of starting, plays great ST. Maybe im biased because i played with him in HS

          • Bdawkbdawk

            Youre from Haven? Good man.

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    This is just the type of “chess piece” Chip Kelly will mastermind reading defenses. Exciting to know your coach is atleast competent

  • xlGmanlx

    I like it, bring in some NFL caliber players and keep the best 53.

  • Harrison

    This whole article is contingent upon Vick being able to READ the opposing defense! He’s an incredible athlete, I’ll give him that, but he’s no Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. The whole season hinges on whether or not Kelly can get Vick to do something he was never very good at, decision making.

    • morgan c

      PLUS ONE MILLION (only I’d disagree that he’s an incredible athlete… WAS an incredible athlete, now he has clearly lost a step as evidenced by continually being brought down by d linemen from behind – anyone remember Biermann chasing him down? So sad.)

  • Chaldoon

    The most exciting thing is he can line up at QB too, that could give us another legit QB threat, we can have 5 downlinemen and 6 QB’s on the field at once- WoW rev O LUTION AIRY!! Should Be Exciting!