Wake-Up Call: Why the Eagles Are Being Aggressive

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

You wonder if Fletcher Cox would have been locked up months ago if not for the short-lived Chip Kelly power grab.

Howie Roseman comes from the Joe Banner school of financial management that teaches to sign your core players early. The logic is sound: the money arrow is always pointing up in the NFL. The more dollars that come in, the higher the cap. As the cap grows, so too does the cost of the individual deals. If you have identified someone that you want to keep around long-term, it’s best to strike as soon as possible while leverage is still on your side and before the price spikes.

Cox became eligible for an extension at the conclusion of the 2014 season. Since then, Ndamukong Suh inked a six-year deal that contains a shade under $60 million in guarantees and averages out to about $19 million per year; Cox has elevated his game while marching a step closer to the end of his deal; and the cap jumped $10 million, with another $10 million bump (if not greater) expected to be announced in March for the ’16 season.

Some league insiders believe Cox will command somewhere around $16-18 million per season now, if not higher. Assuming the 25-year-old was willing to play ball last season, the Eagles lost a significant amount of money by waiting.

That (somewhat extreme) example helps explain why Roseman has been so aggressive to start this offseason. Read more »

Brent Celek: ‘Philadelphia Is My Home Forever’

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Brent Celek was home celebrating his 31st birthday with his wife when he got a phone call on Monday night.

“We got a deal done,” his agent said.

Celek turned to his wife as tears came down his cheeks, before going downstairs and sitting on the couch. He thought about the journey that transformed him from a fifth-round draft pick in 2007 to a tight end with a three-year deal to remain in Philadelphia. Read more »

Eagles Sign Brent Celek To Three-Year Deal

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Eagles and veteran tight end Brent Celek have agreed to a three-year deal worth $13 million, including $6 million in guaranteed money. The deal, first reported by ESPN’s Adam Caplan, was confirmed by the Eagles.

This news comes a day after the Eagles announced a five-year deal with Zach Ertz, a deal that is reportedly worth $42.5 million, with $20 million guaranteed.

Read more »

Eagles Roster Analysis: Offense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray. (Jeff Fusco)

With Sunday’s game against the Giants meaningless in terms of the 2015 NFL season, we figured it was time to turn our attention to the Eagles’ roster heading into the new year and the offseason, as the team begins looking for its next head coach.

A team’s stable of talent plays quite the role when people like Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman are trying to sell their franchise to prospective head coaches. Let’s talk about how the roster looks on the offensive side of the ball.

(All contract information is via Spotrac, including the 2016 dead cap numbers.) Read more »

Notes: Sam Bradford Expects To Play Sunday

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Standing at his locker after today’s practice, Sam Bradford said he expects to play on Sunday against the New England Patriots.

“I hope so,” he said with a chuckle. “Barring any setbacks, I expect to. But at the end of the day, that’s going to be up to coach and the training staff, if they feel I’m ready to go out there and play at a high level.”

The quarterback fully participated in practice and said he probably could’ve played if the game was today.

Bradford, who was mired in concussion protocol before the Eagles’ loss to Tampa Bay, and still rehabbing his left shoulder before their Thanksgiving defeat against Detroit, could play this weekend for the first time since Week 10.

Read more »

All-22: Twists And Turns In the Passing Game

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Prior to the Eagles game Sunday against the Dolphins, many expected them to use a run-heavy offense and exploit the NFL’s second-to-worst run defense. But then they averaged just 2.3 yards per carry against Miami, so it wasn’t surprising they threw the ball 48 times compared to 36 rushes.

However, even before their struggles against Miami on the ground, they relied on the pass to move the ball down the field, throwing for nearly 400 yards (although -39 sack yards hurt their total number of passing yards). They utilized their tight ends in particular as Brent Celek accumulated 134 receiving yards, his highest total since 2012 and the third-most of his career, while Zach Ertz added seven catches for 68 receiving yards.

“We just thought those match-ups for us were something we felt like going into the game [with],” Chip Kelly said. “We run the ball a lot with Brent when Brent is in there, so obviously we felt like in play-action pass, we could exploit some things there, and I thought Brent did a really nice job with it.

“They made some adjustments and played a little bit more man coverage than zone coverage to kind of take some of that stuff away, but we felt like those match-ups on the inside with their linebackers and safeties were to our advantage with our tight ends.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles Look In Mirror After Loss

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Sitting on a stool shirtless in the Eagles locker room after losing to the Dolphins yesterday, Lane Johnson paused to consider the question.

What was the turning point in the game?

The offensive lineman had a plethora of possibilities to choose from. Was it the blocked punt that gave Miami the ball at Philadelphia’s 12-yard line? Or Jarvis Landry’s touchdown catch that bounced off Connor Barwin’s helmet? What about Mark Sanchez’s interception in the end zone?

Perhaps the number of options overwhelmed Johnson, because he struggled to identify one.

“I felt like we had the game won a few times,” he said. “This one slipped away, in a bad way. We had a chance to win that game, and just didn’t. It was right there at our fingertips.” Read more »

All-22: Behind the Offensive Line’s Bad Start

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Jason Kelce was extremely frustrated after the Eagles’ loss to the Redskins Sunday, calling the offensive line “a disgrace.” When he met with reporters Tuesday after practice, he didn’t back off his comments at all.

“I still think that through the first four weeks, we have been a disgrace,” Kelce said. “We haven’t been able to run the ball. Especially with the backs that we have, we should have rushing yards. We don’t give the offensive coaches and head coach the confidence to call run plays, because we’re not consistent.”

Despite spending more than $50 million in the offseason on DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, the Eagles rank 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (70) and 31st in yards per carry (3.1). Although they appeared to take a big step forward in the box score Sunday by reaching nearly five yards a rush, that mark dips below 3.5 when eliminating Murray’s 30-yard run. Read more »

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