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@Tim_McManus With the draft now in the rear view which current roster players should be looking over there shoulder?
— Nick Ellis (@Nick_Ellis_) May 15, 2014
Always follow the money, Nick.
Trent Cole's base salary jumps from $5 million this season to $10 million in 2015. Safe to say the 10-year vet doesn't see that money. If he continues on in Philly after this season, it will be on a restructured contract. The Eagles, in need of short-term assistance and a long-term option at outside linebacker, selected Marcus Smith in the first round. I don't know that the Louisville product can snatch the starting gig away from Cole as a rookie, but I'm sure the plan/hope is that Smith lays claim to the spot before long.
Cornerback is another position to keep an eye on. Cary Williams' cap number is north of $8 million for 2015. Bradley Fletcher, meanwhile, is scheduled to become a free agent after this season. There could be changes coming at the position. The Eagles signed Nolan Carroll to a two-year, $5.25 million deal this offseason and just spent a fourth-round pick on Jaylen Watkins. The team brass certainly wouldn't be upset if their new acquisitions showed promise early. I don't necessarily see any of the rookies coming in and immediately supplanting an incumbent. It's beyond 2014 when job security questions will arise for a handful of veterans making good coin, as they do every year.
I understand why Eagles fans want Vanderbilt rookie Carey Spear to win the job: 1) they don't trust Alex Henery and 2) his nickname is "Murderleg." Sound reasons, the both of them. Before we get too carried away, it should be noted that Spear connected on 81 percent of his kicks over the last two seasons at Vanderbilt. Henery has an 86 percent success rate in the pros. He also finished his career at Nebraska as the most accurate kicker in NCAA history. That's not to say the Eagles couldn't use an upgrade. Henery's numbers have dipped each of the past two seasons and the Eagles ranked 24th in touchback rate (40 percent) last year. The leader in that category, Carolina, had a touchback rate of 78 percent.
I think Spear was brought in at the very least to push Henery in camp. And if Murderleg wins the job, Murderleg wins the job. Murderleg.
@Tim_McManus do eagles tix go on sale today?
— roc creel (@loccoerrec25) May 15, 2014
Howie Roseman was asked recently about Jeremy Maclin, and how long it takes a player to return to form following a torn ACL.
“I think it depends on the player," he said. "We saw Adrian Peterson come back after six months, and did he win the MVP award after that? So I think it depends on the genetics. And all I know is what our doctors are telling us, and he’s doing a great job in his rehab. We fully expect him to be ready to go once the season starts.”
As we all know, Peterson is a freak. Few bounce back like he did. He tore his ACL in December of 2011, and ran for two touchdowns in the Vikings' opener the following September to kick off an MVP campaign. Ridiculous.
Maclin sustained his injury in late July and will have had well over a year to recover by the time meaningful games roll around. As Roseman referenced, all of the reports have been really positive on the receiver to date. Still, it's yet to be seen how the knee (now twice surgically repaired) responds and holds up over the course of a season.
Assuming there are no issues, yes, I believe Maclin can have a big year in what has proven to be a skill position-friendly offensive system.