Eagles Rumors

Eagles Notes: Johnson, Ajayi, Mills

Let’s take a quick look at a few items from the City of Brotherly Love:

  • Eagles starting RT Lane Johnson is in the concussion protocol, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Johnson suffered a head injury during Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, and while he tried to play through it, the injury worsened and he was ultimately forced to exit (Twitter link via McLane).
  • The Eagles can ill afford to lose Johnson, arguably the best right tackle in football, as they fight for the NFC East title. But if they are without Johnson for any period of time, they could turn to rookie Andre Dillard rather than veteran Halapoulivaati Vaitai, as McLane tweets.
  • Jay Ajayi finally found an NFL home for 2019 when he signed with the Eagles on Friday. Interestingly, the deal includes a right of first refusal for 2020, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. So if it wants, Philadelphia can match any offer Ajayi receives on the open market, which could be significant if the team lets Jordan Howard walk in free agency.
  • Cornerback Jalen Mills is eligible for free agency this offseason, and while he is not perfect, he has been very good since returning from injury in Week 7, and McLane says Mills may be playing his way into a second contract with the Eagles (Twitter link).
  • Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com believes the Eagles need to completely overhaul their WR corps this offseason, and he offers a few names the club could target in free agency and the draft. He also says the Eagles could find a trade partner for Alshon Jeffery and/or DeSean Jackson, though obviously the returns on either player would be minimal.

East Notes: Bell, Schwartz, Garrett,

Jets running back Le’Veon Bell was part of one of the team’s most active offseason is in recent history. However, Bell may be putting on a new uniform as soon as next season, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Bell is in the midst of the worst statistical season of his career. Cimini details the various hurdles that will limit New York’s flexibility in finding a new option.

Bell’s guarantees will make it unpalatable for the Jets to simply release Bell and so Cimini suggests a trade following the Jadeveon Clowney model that allows the Jets to incur a smaller cap hit, while recouping some compensation for the 27-year old running back.

Here’s some more from around the NFC East:

  • Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz may have the most power of any coordinator in the league, according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Schwartz has led one of the strongest defensive units in football over his tenure, but has insisted on maintaining a low profile. But, given the strength of the team’s success, the former Lions head coach may be in line for another opportunity at the helm of a franchise this offseason.
  • Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett held a meeting with the team’s players on Thursday where he took responsibility for some of the team’s recent shortcomings, according to Jane Slater of the NFL Network. Garrett has been on the hot seat for much of the season, although owner Jerry Jones has publicly remained confident in him, but has Dallas in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. According to Slater, the meeting was received well by the players and may be at least partially responsible for the team’s strong performance in their 35-27 victory in Detroit against the Lions.

Eagles Looking To Extend Core Players

Before the 2019 season ends, the Eagles are going to make a strong push to secure several core players, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. After inking key offensive lineman Brandon Brooks to a four-year extension on Monday, the Eagles are also in discussions to extend the contracts of tight end Zach Ertz, tackle Lane Johnson, and safety Malcolm Jenkins, league sources tell La Canfora.

All players have formed a stout and very effective core for Philadelphia, and Ertz and Johnson have been critical to the success of quarterback Carson Wentz, along with being a big part of their surprising Super Bowl LII win.

Ertz, 29, signed his last contract extension in January of 2015, one of several players to do so with the team prior to the end of that season, and has emerged as one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He has also been a vital weapon for Wentz, particularly this season due to the injuries to their receivers. Ertz set a new single-season record for tight end receptions just last year and is currently under contract until 2021. 

Johnson, 29, is considered by some to be the best right tackle in football. He is powerful, athletic, and a critical player for the franchise. He has the ability to play left tackle if needed as well and is dominant in pass protection and run blocking. Signed until 2021, there is still some risk associated with signing Johnson, however, as he will be suspended for 32 games if he fails another PED test. Johnson failed his second, most recent PED test back in 2016, and was suspended for 10 games.

The soon to be 32-year-old Jenkins has emerged as a leader on the defense and is a proven play maker. The Eagles would undoubtedly like to keep him, however his age may play a role if the Eagles ultimately decide to not extend him. The three-time Pro Bowler has made his desire for an extension well-known, as he said point blank that he feels like he has “outplayed” his contact back in June. In a down year, Jenkins has 39 tackles, without an interception, and is currently signed through 2020.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick Workout

Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed one of the most unique workouts in NFL history this afternoon. The NFL offered to stage a workout for the quarterback earlier this week. However, Kaepernick’s team became weary of the league’s intentions when his representatives were refused in their requests to open the event to the public. In a last minute decision, Kaepernick’s representation moved the event from the Falcons facility to a public location on their own.

Here’s the latest on the workout and its aftermath:

  • When the venue was changed, the NFL released a public statement on NFL.com that expressed they were “disappointed” with Kaepernick’s choice not to participate in the workout they had organized. They claimed “Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout.” The league also felt the need to note they “made considerable effort to work cooperatively with Colin’s representatives,” among a list of other points that attempted to counter some narratives that the league had been purposely opaque in their negotiations.
  • The league also tweeted out from the league’s official account a thread reiterating some main points from the press release. One key point from the league’s perspective, “Colin moved his workout to a facility an hour from Atlanta Falcons Flowery Branch facility. No one got a heads up until NFL saw the Twitter statement.”
  • Former Raiders and Browns head coach Hue Jackson was scheduled to run the workout orchestrated by the NFL. However, while Kaepernick’s team invited Jackson to run the workout at the new venue, Jackson returned to the airport, according to Michael Silver of NFL.com.
  • WR Bruce Ellington, WR Brice Butler, WR Jordan Veasy, TE/WR Ari Werts, and Panthers S Eric Reid were on the field with Kaepernick for the workout, according to Kaylee Harung of ABC News. The free-agent receivers were likely hoping to catch the eyes of scouts present to view Kaepernick, while Reid has been one of the most consistent advocated for Kaepernick in the league.
  • One claim in the announcement made by Kaepernick’s representatives was that the league required he sign an agreement that included language to limit his ability to bring claims against the league. Of course, given Kaepernick’s previous collusion lawsuit against the league, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk argues the workout was a ploy by the league to put Kaepernick “in legal checkmate.”
  • In the end, there were not nearly as many teams present at Kaepernick’s workout as the NFL claimed would have been present for the workout they had planned. The Washington football team, Eagles, 49ers, Chiefs, Jets, Titans, and Lions were the teams present for his workout, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
  • The 2-hour workout was streamed on YouTube and consistently maintained roughly 45,000 viewers. On the field, one NFL executive described Kaepernick’s arm talent as “elite” and on the same level as “when he came out of college,” according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
  • Teams that had personnel present for the workout noted that the workout consisted of 60 throws and “Basically showed he’s the same guy he was,” according to Albert Breer of MMQB. After the workout, Kaepernick did not hold any formal interviews, but in his closing remarks said he would hold an interview with any team. He also thanked his fans for their support and reiterated, “I’ve been ready. I’m staying ready. And I’ll continue to be ready….The ball’s in their court. We’re ready to go.”

Eagles To Sign Jay Ajayi

The Eagles intend to sign free agent running back Jay Ajayi, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Ajayi worked out for the club this week and a deal should come together before the end of business today. 

Ajayi joins the club just after word of Darren Sproles‘ season-ending (and possibly career-ending) injury. Given his track record, Ajayi figures to provide some serious support in the backfield, if he is healthy himself.

The Eagles traded for Ajayi in 2017 and saw immediate results out of the former Dolphins ball carrier. After his 1,272-yard 2016 season with Miami, he became a key part of the Eagles’ Super Bowl run the following year. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry with the Eagles in 2017. He did not fare as well with the ’18 Eagles, who lacked consistency on the ground. But, the team will see what the 26-year-old can provide as they come down the home stretch.

Ajayi may make his Eagles return on Sunday, when the Eagles face the Patriots in Philly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Darren Sproles Done For Season

The Eagles announced that running back Darren Sproles is done for the season. The veteran suffered a partial tear of his right hip flexor against the Jets on Oct. 6 and, at some juncture, aggravated the injury further. 

Sproles went through four weeks of rehab after the initial injury against Gang Green and managed to play against the Bears on Nov. 3 after he was cleared. Later, doctors found that he had suffered a much more serious tear of the muscle.

Sproles, 36, re-signed with the Eagles in July. Despite his advanced age, he was hoping to return to his old form after losing the bulk of the 2018 season to a broken arm and a torn ACL. All the health issues left a bad taste in his mouth, and he didn’t want to go out like that.

“That’s my whole thing,” Sproles said over the summer. “I want a full year. I want to get up to top-four or top-five in all-purpose yards, like ever. Right now, I’m number six. If I would have played a full year last year, I’d be number four right now.”

Unfortunately, this latest injury could be the end of the line for the fan favorite. His 2019 season concludes with just 17 carries for 66 yards, plus six catches for 24 yards.

Over the course of 14 seasons with the Eagles, Saints, and Chargers, Sproles has earned three Pro Bowl trips with a strong 4.9 yards per carry average. He’s also been a remarkably effective pass-catcher – in his three seasons with the Saints, Sproles totaled 232 grabs for 1,981 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles To Host Jay Ajayi On Visit

After workouts with the Cardinals and Lions did not produce a landing spot, Jay Ajayi will visit one of his former teams. The ex-Dolphins and Eagles running back will head to Philadelphia on Friday for a visit, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Ajayi’s ACL tear has forced him to miss much of this season, but the four-year veteran was productive in Miami and Philly prior to the injury. The Eagles have revamped their backfield since Ajayi’s tenure, going with a Jordan HowardMiles Sanders tandem this season. Both are averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

Howard is listed as questionable to face the Patriots this week, having been limited in practice by a shoulder injury. The offsason trade acquisition has not missed a game this season.

After his 1,272-yard 2016 season with the Dolphins, Ajayi became a key part of the Eagles’ Super Bowl run the following year. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry with the Eagles in 2017. He did not fare as well with the ’18 Eagles, who lacked consistency on the ground. But the team will see how the 26-year-old back looks for a possible late-season addition.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/13/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: C Nate Trewyn

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

Read more

NFL Workout Updates: 11/11/19

Here’s the latest from around the league’s workout circuit:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles, Brandon Brooks Agree To Extension

Brandon Brooks has bounced back quickly from the Achilles tear that consumed his offseason, and the Eagles have reached an extension agreement with their top-tier right guard. The Eagles announced Monday that Brooks signed a four-year extension.

The deal marks a massive raise for Brooks. He agreed to a four-year, $54.2MM re-up, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That makes Brooks the second-highest-paid guard in the game, with this contract’s $13.6MM AAV behind only Zack Martin‘s $14MM-per-year pact. Brooks was previously making $8MM annually. Brooks’ new contract comes with $30MM guaranteed, tying him for third among guards.

Brooks’ deal, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, is actually worth $56.2MM (Twitter link). That would bump him past Martin and make the two NFC East blockers the league’s only $14MM-per-year guards. The updated figure — $14.05MM AAV — would make Brooks the NFL’s highest-paid guard.

The Eagles had Brooks signed through the 2020 season but will reward him early. Brooks joins center Jason Kelce and left guard Isaac Seumalo as Eagle linemen who’ve agreed to 2019 extensions. Lane Johnson is also locked up through 2021. Interestingly, the Eagles have re-upped both Kelce and Brooks despite each being north of 30. Brooks turned 30 earlier this year; Kelce is 32.

An All-Pro candidate, Brooks re-emerged as one of the league’s best guards this season — despite suffering an Achilles tear in January. He rates as by far Pro Football Focus’ top overall lineman in 2019. The mammoth blocker initially caught on with Philadelphia in 2016, coming over after three seasons as a Houston starter. He delivered on the Eagles’ initial investment, playing a key role on the team’s Super Bowl LII line and last year’s playoff follow-up. A 2012 second-round pick, Brooks is on track for his third straight Pro Bowl honor.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.