Eagles Wake-Up Call: Free Agency Buzz

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We start today off with a roundup of the latest league-wide news that affects the Eagles.

In a somewhat surprising move, Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds has already signed his transition tag offer. That means other teams can no longer attempt to lure him away.

With Brian Orakpo franchised, Worilds figured to be a hot commodity. And according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, the Eagles would have had interest: Read more »

Eagles Release Jason Avant

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers

The Eagles have released veteran wide receiver Jason Avant, the team announced.

“In the year I spent with Jason, he was unbelievable in terms of his work ethic and his selfless nature,” said Chip Kelly in a statement. “He was a great teammate. We know he will have a chance to sign with another team and by releasing him now, he will have a full offseason to make the necessary adjustments. I had a chance to speak with him today and he handled himself like the true professional he is.” Read more »

Avant ‘Shocked’ By Parts Of Wells Report

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers

Yesterday, we noted that Jason Avant was one of the players who recently spoke with commissioner Roger Goodell about locker room guidelines in the wake of what happened in Miami.

Today, he penned a piece for The MMQB and expanded on what he told Goodell.

Two parts in the column pertained specifically to the Eagles. Avant described the Dolphins’ locker room as “atypical” and said he was “shocked” by some of what he read: Read more »

Avant Advises Goodell On Locker Room Culture

Eagles Jason Avant vs. Dallas

As T-Mac chronicled back in December, Jason Avant is one of the most respected voices in the Eagles’ locker room.

DeSean Jackson called Avant a “big brother.” Cary Williams said every NFL team needs a guy like Avant on its roster. During the Riley Cooper incident last summer, it was Avant who stood in his teammate’s corner and preached forgiveness.

So it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the veteran wide receiver is one of the players commissioner Roger Goodell is leaning on in the aftermath of the Wells report and the disaster down in Miami. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Draft Offers Options At Receiver

NFL: NFC Wildcard Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

A record 98 underclassmen have declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. Within that wave lies  a group of talented receivers that has enriched the position significantly.

“When you talk about the underclassmen, that’s where the guts of this draft is. Last year was more senior-heavy,” said Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Eagles. “This year we’re talking about 9-10 underclass wide receivers that are first, second-round players in my opinion.”

Jeremiah sees seven receivers being selected in the first round, which would be the most since 2004. And they are: Sammy Watkins (junior, Clemson), Mike Evans (redshirt sophomore, Texas A&M), Kelvin Benjamin (redshirt sophomore, Florida State), Marqise Lee (junior, USC), Paul Richardson (redshirt junior, Colorado), Jarvis Landry (junior, LSU) and Davante Adams (redshirt sophomore, Fresno State).

Mel Kiper, incredibly, has nine going in the first round in his latest mock draft. (He projects LSU junior Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Eagles at 22.)

Howie Roseman agrees with the sentiment that this is a strong class of wideouts, and must decide how much — if at all — that will impact some key decisions that are before him.

Read more »

Cap Expert Weighs In On Eagles

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
There are plenty of financial-related questions surrounding the Eagles right now. What kind of market will they be up against when it comes to free-agent receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper? Which players are most likely to be cap casualties? Will any veterans be asked to take a pay cut? For answers, we called on former agent/salary cap expert Joel Corry to make sense of it all. Read more »

Eagles Must Make A Call On Avant

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The Eagles have a decision to make when it comes to Jason Avant, and will need to make it fairly soon.

Avant has become a fixture in Philadelphia. Selected in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, he has spent the last eight seasons with the Eagles, surviving some lean years and a coaching transition. Only Todd Herremans and Trent Cole have been with the team longer.

Avant proved valuable to Chip Kelly in his first year. He deserves part of the credit for guiding the Eagles past the Riley Cooper situation, and helped set the right tone in the locker room with his work ethic and approach to the game.  On the field, his stats dipped. While several of his teammates enjoyed career years, the 30-year-old had 38 receptions (he was targeted 76 times) for 447 yards. Those are his lowest numbers since 2008. He made strong contributions to the running game with his blocking, but his involvement in the passing game left something to be desired.

The Eagles will have to weigh all of that as they decide how to proceed. Complicating matters is that the veteran wideout is scheduled to receive a $1 million roster bonus, which kicks in the  fifth day of the league year (March 15). Read more »

All-22: Why the Eagles’ Offense Stalled

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With 3:54 left in the third quarter of last week’s playoff game against the Saints, the Eagles’ offense took the field for the ninth time.

The results of the first eight drives were ugly: six punts, one missed field goal and a touchdown. The Saints finished fourth in the regular season in scoring defense, and for much of Saturday’s game, Rob Ryan’s group got the better of the Eagles.

Nick Foles and company scored on their final three possessions to give the Eagles a 24-23 lead, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.

Defense and special teams certainly shared responsibility for the 26-24 loss, but given the way the offense had played all season, it’s worth exploring why that side of the ball struggled for the first 41 minutes of the game. Read more »

Why They Believe In Chip

NFL: NFC Wildcard Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

When asked why he was so confident that his program could work in the NFL, Chip Kelly offered a somewhat surprising response.

“I wasn’t confident,” he said. “I had a system and a plan that we were going to go in, but I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be until it was all finished. But I think we played sound fundamental football, and I think that’s what we preach on a daily basis to our players. I think it’s still a game of 11-on-11, and I think a lot of things we do schematically match up 11-on-11. It’s a fundamental game, and I think that’s what our coaches teach. I thought we brought in a bunch of really good teachers that could implement the plan that we had in place, and we felt this would be the best plan for us this year going forward.”

Going into next season, new faces will be added, but many of the core players from the 2013 squad will remain the same.

Keeping that in mind, I posed one simple question to the players earlier this week as they cleaned out their lockers:

What did Kelly do in Year One that makes you believe he can lead this franchise to greater heights going forward? Read more »

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