Eagles Rumors

NFL Draft Rumors: Taylor, Ford, Sweat

Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor met with the Bengals on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Taylor, who stands 6’5″ and 328 pounds, certainly has the size requirements favored by new Cincinnati offensive line coach Jim Turner, but it’s unclear if the ex-Gator will be available when the Bengals make their first-round selection at No. 11. Along with Jonah Williams (Alabama), Andre Dillard (Washington State), and Cody Ford (Oklahoma), Taylor is considered one of the best tackle prospects available in the 2019 draft. If selected by the Bengals, Taylor could immediately take over at right tackle, displacing the recently re-signed Bobby Hart, and would be a long-term option to replace Cordy Glenn on the blindside.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • Speaking of Ford, the Oklahoma offensive lineman has been extremely busy during the pre-draft season. Per Aaron Wilson the Houston Chronicle, Ford has met with and/or worked out for the Patriots, Eagles, Buccaneers, Vikings, Texans, Cardinals, and Falcons. That’s in addition to his previously-reported stops with the Bengals and Panthers. Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win the Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line. A left guard in both 2016 and 2017, Ford shifted to right tackle for the 2018 campaign.
  • The Texans are meeting with Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat on Wednesday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Sweat is considered of the best defensive ends in the draft (especially after blowing up the combine), so Houston would likely need to trade up from No. 23 overall in order to land him. After starting his collegiate career at Michigan State, Sweat spent two years with the Bulldogs, racking up 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss during that time.
  • Washington cornerback Byron Murphy has met with the Panthers, Chiefs, and Cardinals in addition to his visit with the Steelers, tweets Wilson. In 2018, Murphy earned a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12 list after putting up 37 tackles, four interceptions, and 13 interceptions. Regarded as a first-round pick by most observers, Murphy is the No. 6 overall player on Pro Football Focus’ draft board after allowing only a 47.7% completion percentage against and forcing 17 incompletions.
  • The Rams hosted Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram on Tuesday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Abram, who has also met with the Cowboys and Cardinals, is part of a closely-clustered safety class that could start coming off the board at the end of the first round. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, notably, ranks Abram as the No. 1 safety prospect of 2019. Arbam posted two interceptions, three sacks, and nine tackles for loss last year.

Fletcher Cox Out Until Training Camp

  • Fletcher Cox confirmed (via Philly.com’s Les Bowen) he underwent an offseason surgery to repair a foot injury sustained during the Eagles‘ divisional-round loss in New Orleans. The procedure appears to have been done several weeks ago, and while Cox is out of a walking boot, the veteran defensive tackle looks set to miss Philadelphia’s offseason program. His goal is to return by training camp. Cox is coming off his best NFL season, which featured a career-high 10.5 sacks and his first appearance on the All-Pro first team.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Kelce, Giants

Here’s a look at the NFC East:

  • Eagles center Jason Kelce says he played through a grade two MCL sprain, a broken foot, a “torn elbow” and other nagging injuries in 2018 (Twitter link via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer). Kelce, who recently re-upped with the team on an extension to take him through the 2021 season, says he’s not quite 100%, noting that he’s “as healed as I’m going to get.” Following the Eagles’ Divisional Round loss to the Saints, Kelce hinted that he may end up retiring, so it’s unlikely that Kelce will actually play through ’21. Instead, his new deal simply signals that he’s committed to play this season.
  • Eagles running back Josh Adams is expected to miss the start of the team’s offseason conditioning program as he recovers from shoulder surgery, Mike Kaye of NJ.com hears. The good news is that Adams’ six-month timetable from January labrum surgery should put him in line to participate in July’s training camp. Adams put himself on the map last year with a team-leading 511 rushing yards plus three touchdowns. His usage dropped after five consecutive starts, but he’ll have an opportunity to build on that progress in 2019.
  • Sterling Shepard‘s contract extension talks with the Giants appeared to have picked up after the Odell Beckham trade, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets. Shepard’s new deal – a four-year, $41MM pact – was larger than expected, though the going rate for wide receivers shot up dramatically this offseason. Had the Giants not extended Shepard, teams such as the Patriots would have been ready to pounce on him in free agency next year.

Latest On Carson Wentz’s Timetable

Shortly after the Eagles’ 2018 season ended, Carson Wentz was believed to be on track to be ready for the start of the team’s 2019 offseason program. That prospective return date has since been revised.

Wentz is not yet recovered from the back injury that ended his third NFL season. The fourth-year Philadelphia quarterback said (via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, on Twitter) he is progressing in his recovery from the 2018 stress fracture but is not there yet. Wentz’s return goal is now the Eagles’ OTA sessions, which are set for next month.

While Wentz has not returned to full strength, he did say (via NFL.com) he has been running and throwing some this offseason. The Eagles, who began their offseason program on Monday, have their OTAs scheduled to start May 21.

With Nick Foles now a Jaguar, the Eagles obviously need Wentz at full strength now more than they have the past two seasons. Wentz spent the 2018 offseason rehabbing from the torn knee ligaments that ended his 2017 season. A sizable chunk of this offseason will have been spent recovering from the back ailment that brought Foles back into action in December. After starting the first 29 games of his NFL career, the 26-year-old passer has missed eight over the past two seasons.

Nate Sudfeld has taken over for Foles as the Eagles’ backup quarterback. Although the new Philadelphia QB2 has served in this capacity frequently over the past two years, the former Washington sixth-round pick has thrown just 25 NFL passes. The Eagles placed a second-round RFA tender on Sudfeld; he signed the tender Monday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles QB Nate Sudfeld Signs RFA Tender

Eagles quarterback Nate Sudfeld has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link). He’ll collect $3.095MM for the 2019 campaign.

Sudfeld is one of many restricted free agents who will likely sign his tender this week. RFAs have until April 19 to sign an offer sheet with a rival club, but it always seemed incredibly unlikely that another team would not only sacrifice a second-round pick in order to land Sudfeld, but also hand him a large contract that Philadelphia would decline to match.

With Nick Foles now in Jacksonville, Sudfeld is the favorite to become Carson Wentz‘s top backup. A 2016 sixth-round pick of the Redskins, Sudfeld joined the Eagles via waiver claim in 2017. In two seasons with Philadelphia, the 25-year-old has appeared in four games (including playoffs). Sudfeld got an extended look during the 2017 regular season finale, completing 19 of his 23 pass attempts for 134 passing yards. Last season, however, he managed only two pass attempts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Want To Return To Drafting QBs Every Year Or Every Other Year

  • Not long after the Eagles hired Doug Pederson as their head coach in 2016, club owner Jeffrey Lurie said he wanted to draft a QB every year, or every other year, the way his team used to (a strategy that significantly aided roster building). As Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, Lurie reiterated those sentiments just last month, and now that Nick Foles is out of the picture, the club may return to that approach. The Eagles appear to be plenty comfortable with Nate Sudfeld as their No. 2 signal-caller, but Sudfeld could leave for a potential starting job in 2020, when the Eagles are expected to be flush with draft picks, so Berman suggests the team could add a UDFA passer this season and draft a QB prospect next year.

Eagles Issue Statement On Mills

  • Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested for his role in a fight earlier today. The team has now issued their response, saying “the Philadelphia Eagles are aware of the situation involving defensive back Jalen Mills and are continuing to gather more information,” adding that “no further comments will be provided at this time.” It’s a fairly standard statement. Mills was hurt for half of last season, but started all eight games he was active for, so it would be a big loss for Philly if he were to miss any time with a suspension.

Eagles CB Jalen Mills Arrested

Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested last night in Washington D.C. following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, reports Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press (via the Washington Post). The two athletes were charged with disorderly affray, which Fendrich describes as fighting in a public place.

According to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post, the two engaged in a verbal altercation that escalated into a fight on the sidewalk. Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight, and he was eventually released before being taken department’s 2nd District station. That will the same location where Mills was ultimately detained.

Mills joined the Eagles as a seventh-round pick back in 2016, and he started throughout the team’s 2017 Super Bowl run. This past season, Mills appeared in only eight games after suffering a foot injury. The 25-year-old finished the season 36 tackles and nine passes defended. Mills is projected to start the season as the team’s third cornerback behind Rasul Douglas and Ronald Darby.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Restructure TE Zach Ertz’s Contract

Zach Ertz has helped the Eagles clear up some cap space. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the Eagles have restructured the tight end’s contract.

Specifically, the team converted $7.195MM of Ertz’s contract into a bonus, opening up $5.76MM in cap room. The move increases the Eagles’ cap space from around $21.7MM to around $27.5MM. It’s seemingly a win-win for both sides; Ertz wasn’t required to take a pay cut, and the Eagles received some financial flexibility. We’ve actually seen the organization do a similar maneuver with the tight end’s contract back in 2017 and 2018.

The 28-year-old Ertz had his most productive NFL season in 2018, hauling in 116 receptions for 1163 yards and eight touchdowns. The former second-rounder has spent his entire six-year career with Philly.

There are a variety of reasons why the Eagles could be looking to clear up cap space. The front office may be looking to add free agents after May 7th, when several notable veteran players are no longer tied to compensatory draft picks. The team could also be looking to sign some of their current players to extensions, including quarterback Carson Wentz. Most likely, the team is just looking for some extra financial flexibility in case the offseason takes an unexpected turn.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Notes: Collier, Sanders

  • TCU defensive end L.J. Collier is meeting with the Lions, Eagles, and Seahawks, per Rapoport (Twitter link), who adds Collier is “quietly pushing” to become a first-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com currently ranks Collier as the No. 45 prospect, noting that while he isn’t an “elite bender,” Collier has the ability to play both inside and on the edge. In his senior season with TCU, Collier posted six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 11 games.
  • Penn State running back Miles Sanders has been vaulting up draft boards (he currently ranks one spot behind Collier at No. 46 on Jeremiah’s list), and he has a busy schedule ahead of him. Sanders is scheduled to work out for/meet with the Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, Bills, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans, Bengals, Panthers, Buccaneers, and Colts. In 2018, Sanders’ only season as a starter, he posted 1,274 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 220 attempts.