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2020 NFL Combine Day 1 workouts: Wide receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacksby Alexis Chassen on February 27, 2020 at 8:30 pm
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports How to watch the first set of workouts in Indy. The path to the draft goes through Indianapolis and the 2020 NFL Combine is in full effect this week as the nation’s top prospects put their strength, skills, and personality on display for scouts, coaches, and owners. Each year, the NFL gives fans a bigger glimpse into the the workouts by the players, and this year, they’re airing the workouts during primetime on the NFL Network (and fuboTV) for all to see. On Thursday, the first round of workouts gets underway with the quarterbacks, tight ends, and wide receivers (cough Eagles cough). BGN’s Ben Natan discussed some of the WRs that the Eagles should be interested in: 1 - Just how deep does this wide receiver class go? Much fanfare has been made about the top end of this year’s draft class as it relates to pass catchers. Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, CeeDee Lamb, Laviska Shenault Jr., Jalen Reagor, Tee Higgins and maybe even KJ Hamler are all projected to go in the first round. The numbers for those guys will be important, but their draft potential is clearly evident on tape too. I am interested in ASU’s Brandon Aiyuk making himself some money this week. The speedster tore up the Pac-12 in 2019 and he should absolutely burn at the Combine. It will also be intriguing to see how productive receivers like Justin Jefferson, Tyler Johnson and Antonio Gandy-Golden test. They certainly have the college careers to warrant draft attention, but impressive athletic testing will make this class look even richer than it currently does. How to Watch: Thursday, February 27 Position groups: QB, TE, WR Time: 4 - 11pm, EST TV: NFL Network Streaming: NFL.com/Watch | fuboTV LIVE TWITTER FEED A Twitter List by BleedingGreen ... Note: this is an open thread. Discuss the Day 1 workout results in the comments below.
How the NFL franchise tag window opening impacts the Eaglesby Brandon Lee Gowton on February 27, 2020 at 4:31 pm
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports There are some things to watch. The NFL’s franchise tag window was originally set to open two days ago but the start date got pushed back given the ongoing talks regarding the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Thus, the window now officially begins today, Thursday, February 27 starting at 4:00 PM Eastern. Let’s a look at what this development means for the Philadelphia Eagles. The tagging process Teams typically use the franchise designation to prevent one of their key impending free agents from leaving in free agency. Teams have a two-week period to apply this designation; this year’s deadline is on March 12 before 4:00 PM ET. There are three tag versions: the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag, and the transition tag. The exclusive is the most costly version and ensures that a player cannot negotiate with any other team. The non-exclusive tag is more common because it’s not as costly as the exclusive version but it still allows players to be signed to an offer sheet. If the tagging team fails to match the offer, the tagging team receives two first round picks in exchange for the player (unless a trade is worked out otherwise). The transition tag is the cheapest option but the tagging team receives no compensation if an offer sheet is not matched. It’s basically a right of first refusal situation. Once a player signs his tag tender, his deal is fully guaranteed and cannot be rescinded. The tag CAN be rescinded by the team at any point before a player signs their offer. For more information on how tagging works, read SB Nation’s detailed explainer. Two tags this year? Normally, teams are only permitted to tag one of their impending free agents. Due to the fact that we’re in the final year of the current CBA, however, teams are permitted to use both the franchise AND the transition tags. This development is especially useful for a team like the Dallas Cowboys, who could look to franchise tag Dak Prescott and transition tag Amari Cooper. However, the two tag option might not exist for long. If/when a new CBA is ratified, the NFLPA is reportedly expecting teams to vacate one of their two tags if they’ve already used both. The Philadelphia Eagles should be rooting for the new CBA to quickly come together so their NFC East rival Cowboys have less leverage when it comes to retaining their key free agents. Dallas being forced to focus on Prescott and/or Cooper negotiations should help to ensure Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones — a rumored Eagles free agent target — makes it to the market. Will the Eagles use the tag? No. None of the Eagles’ 15 unrestricted free agents are worth tagging. CB Ronald DarbyCB Jalen MillsLT Jason PetersS Rodney McLeodWR Nelson AgholorDE Vinny CurryRB Jordan HowardOT Halapoulivaati VaitaiLB Kamu Grugier-HillQB Nate SudfeldQB Josh McCownDT Timmy JerniganRB Darren SprolesTE Richard RodgersDT Hassan Ridgeway For reference, here’s how much the tag costs at each position. Projected figures via Over The Cap: How will other teams using the tag impact the Eagles? Unlike the past two offseasons, the Eagles are actually expected to be active in free agency this year. Howie Roseman recently suggested as much and Philly has around $41.9 million in cap room to work with. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the tagging window is going to take some of their potential free agent options off the board. The aforementioned Cooper, Yannick Ngakoue, and James Bradberry are among those who might get tagged. On the flip side, teams can’t use their tag(s) on everyone. So, the Eagles will be getting a better sense of which non-tagged players will be making it to the open market. Again, they could be paying close attention to someone like Jones. (Not to mention the cornerback and wide receiver markets in general.) The Jones angle isn’t the only reason why it’ll be interesting to see how the Cowboys handle the tagging window. It’d be most ideal for Dallas’s sake to work out long-term contract extensions with both Prescott and Cooper. But the fact that those deals haven’t been done yet suggests the players are asking the Cowboys for prices that are higher than what Dallas is super comfortable paying. The Eagles will be rooting for the Cowboys to end up having to tag Prescott so he accounts for a big chunk of cap space. And the longer Dallas waits to give Prescott a long-term extension, the more his price tag increases. The Cowboys are likely going to have to pay him more than what Carson Wentz got despite the fact that Philly’s quarterback is the better player. And the more the Cowboys pay to Prescott means the less they can spend on the team around him. ... NFL free agency is set to officially begin in a few weeks on Wednesday, March 18. In the meantime, the tagging window will help give us a better idea of what the market will look like.
Football Outsiders has a “daring move” for the Philadelphia Eagles to tryby Brandon Lee Gowton on February 27, 2020 at 3:17 pm
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images Well, you can’t say it’s not bold. The folks over at Football Outsiders recently put together a post for ESPN+ that features “daring moves” for all 32 NFL teams. The premise is to have some fun suggesting bold decisions that could help to improve teams. FO sure wasn’t reluctant to think ... outside the box ... for the Philadelphia Eagles. Sign QB Taysom Hill and ‘load manage’ QB Carson Wentz Wentz has been exceptional when he has played the past three seasons, finishing second, 13th and 11th in QBR in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. But he has missed 13 combined regular-season and playoff games in that time and played through injuries in many others. Wentz can’t seem to avoid big hits, and the Eagles’ improvements in offensive pressure rate and adjusted sack rate haven’t helped. The surest way to keep Wentz healthy for the playoffs is to keep him off the football field as much as possible. Philadelphia can accomplish this by signing super-utility quarterback Hill, a restricted free agent, and playing him 10 to 15 snaps per game under center. That would reduce Wentz’s injury risk, ease sophomore back Miles Sanders’ transition to a workhorse role, and provide Hill 200 or so snaps at quarterback to prove to future teams that he is capable of being a starter. That might be a hard sell for Hill this offseason despite his breakout divisional-round performance — he has attempted just 15 regular-season passes in his three-year Saints career. Oh my. Where to begin? First of all, annoying we’re talking about Wentz being injury prone after he just started 17 games and only got hurt in the playoffs because Jadeveon Clowney illegally launched into the back of his head. Second, no: The surest way to keep Wentz healthy for the playoffs is to keep him off the football field as much as possible The Eagles need to actually get to the playoffs for Wentz to be healthy for the playoffs. And the Eagles’ chances of making the postseason decrease whenever Wentz isn’t on the field. Thirdly, the Eagles can’t realistically acquire Hill. He’s a restricted free agent and the New Orleans Saints are expected to at least tender him at the second-round level, if not the first-round level. It would be insane for the Eagles to trade a Day 1 or Day 2 pick to an NFC rival in exchange for a backup gadget quarterback who will turn 30 before the 2020 season begins. It’s not even remotely realistic. For the record, I don’t even hate Hill as a player. I actually think how the Saints utilize him is kinda fun and legitimately useful. I wouldn’t mind the Eagles adding him if it was as simple as signing him in free agency. But that’s not the reality of the situation. I know the premise of FO’s activity was to be “daring,” but, c’mon. They could’ve suggested something at least a little more realistic. For example, they have the Green Bay Packers trading for Odell Beckham Jr. I don’t even necessarily want the Eagles to do that but that’s more worth talking about than the Eagles giving up a premium draft pick to acquire Hill and play him at the expense of Philly’s most indispensable player. The Eagles do have an interesting decision to make this offseason when it comes to finding Wentz’s backup for 2020. Keeping Josh McCown on the team seems preferable but can his body even handle playing anymore? Is re-signing Nate Sudfeld the answer? Is an external option the best route? We’ll see. But one thing’s for sure: the Eagles won’t be acquiring Hill. Elsewhere in the NFC East, FO suggests ... the Dallas Cowboys should let Byron Jones walk and trade for Darius Slay ... the New York Giants should sign Amari Cooper ... and Washington should draft Tua Tagovailoa.
The Linc - Eagles have “real interest” in Laviska Shenaultby Brandon Lee Gowton on February 27, 2020 at 1:04 pm
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 2/27/20. Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ... Laviska Shenault Jr. opens up on his experience sitting courtside with Kobe and Gianna Bryant - The DNVR“I actually haven’t been able to talk to anybody about this, but one of the talks we had—he had an Eagles hat on, and one of the things he said was, ‘Man, Philly sure needs a receiver,’” Laviska explained, raising his eyebrows and smirking in a way that helped you imagine the exact way Kobe delivered the line. “That was so exciting for him to say that,” he added. “I responded with, ‘Aye, I can get the job done for you.’ That was a special moment.” Interestingly enough, on Monday night in Indianapolis, an NFL source told DNVR that the Eagles have real interest in the Colorado product. But unfortunately, even if fate would have it, we’ll never get to see Kobe Bryant in a jersey that reads “Shenault Jr.” on the back. It’ll be pretty disappointing if Andre Dillard isn’t the Eagles’ starting left tackle in 2020 - BGNEven assuming Dillard is a downgrade from Peters, the equation shouldn’t be that simple for the Eagles. Roseman has admitted the team needs to get younger. He’s also talked about how his loyalty to the team’s veterans has been a “weakness.” Most recently, Roseman said the Eagles aren’t trying to go all in on the 2020 season as much as they’re trying to consider a three-year window from 2020 through 2022. If that’s truly the case, it doesn’t make sense for the Eagles to block Dillard from playing while paying a good chunk of cap space to bring Peters back. It’ll be truly concerning if Dillard isn’t ready to be the Eagles’ starting left tackle in 2020. Otherwise, the Eagles will have traded up for a player in the first round who isn’t even at least a true swing tackle by Year 2 since he can’t play on the right side. And it’s not like Dillard’s this extremely raw and undeveloped prospect; he turns 25 in early October. By contrast, the projected first round tackles in this year’s NFL Draft are currently 20 years old. There’s also no real precedent in recent history for a first round offensive tackle to sit on the bench for two entire seasons. Eye On the Enemy #11: Cowboys Off-Season Primer w/Blogging the Boys - BGN RadioJohn Stolnis is joined by RJ Ochoa of Blogging the Boys to preview how Dallas will attack the off-season w/thoughts on Dak, Cooper, Byron Jones, the draft and more! PLUS thoughts on recent Eagles news and trade rumors, including the release of Nigel Bradham! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation. Eagles 2020 draft: Trade up, trade back, or stay put? - PhillyVoiceIn the 2020 NFL Draft, the Eagles’ biggest obvious need is at wide receiver, and while the pre-draft process still has a long way to go, the triumvirate of Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, and Alabama’s Henry Ruggs appear to be in something of the top tier of a loaded receiver class. The belief here is that none of those three receivers will still be available when the Eagles are selecting at pick 21, but if one slides into the middle-to-late teens, a reasonable projection, then the Eagles should be interested in moving up for any of the three. (It’s probably also worth noting here that some teams picking behind the Eagles have needs at wide receiver, and could also be interesting in moving up, most notably the Buffalo Bills, who are picking 22nd.) Expect new Eagles coach Rich Scangarello to work closely with quarterback Carson Wentz - InquirerLike he did with Garoppolo, Scangarello altered Lock’s footwork. He had him place his left foot forward in the shotgun – on the surface a minor peculiarity, but a starting point that Shanahan and other like-minded coaches teach and preach to right-handed quarterbacks. “I always try to coach guys with the left foot up,” Shanahan said. “I think it times out better. You lose a step, you lose time [with the right forward] because you don’t have the ball in your hands right away. So I think you need to lose a step in your drops. Some guys have been doing it with their right foot up or parallel their whole life and they just struggle with it. You try to coach them in the offseason and if they can’t get it, you make sure you do what they’re comfortable with.” Wentz, for the record, places his right foot forward. It’s unclear if Scangarello will attempt to teach him the opposite way and how exactly he’ll fit in with the coaching staff and game-planning. 2020 NFL combine: Draft needs, prospects to target for all 32 NFL teams - ESPNWide receiver. The Eagles are looking to reconfigure a wide receiver group that failed to produce a single 500-yard performance in 2019. ESPN draft analysts suggested this receiver class could be historic, with as many as 25 wideouts being selected in the first three or four rounds. There will be a wealth of talent to choose from, and Philadelphia will be on the hunt for the right fit in Indianapolis. How Andy Reid’s life has changed since winning the Super Bowl - NBCSP“I stay in the office, so I’m isolated a little bit that way. There’s not much change there. I’m sure the players, if you talk to them, they’re out there and being recognized as world champs. I have gotten a couple free meals. That was nice. But I’m not out there that much to where I’m affected by it too much.” 2020 NFL Scouting Combine Cheat Sheet: Wide receiver - PE.comWill kill the drills: Justin Jefferson, LSU. Jefferson is automatic at the catch point and one of the savviest route runners in this class. A long, lanky slot receiver who looks the part, Jefferson should shine in position-specific drills. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t one of the most impressive players on the turf. Who Has the Most to Gain at the NFL Combine? - The RingerTCU’s Jalen Reagor could push for the fastest 40-yard dash, too, and has a chance to be one of the biggest post-combine risers thanks to his explosive athleticism. The turbo-charged receiver measured in at 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds and has a chance to run in the 4.3s ... or maybe even faster. Recruiting Analytics clocked the TCU star at 22.6 mph on a 93-yard TD this past season―a faster top speed than any player reached in the NFL in 2019, according to Next Gen Stats’ tracking. And speaking of dark horse candidates to post the best 40-yard dash time, don’t forget about Penn State’s KJ Hamler. The 5-foot-9, 178-pound dynamo boasts jitterbug quicks, RC-car acceleration, and should run somewhere in the 4.3-second range. Speed kills when it comes to NFL passing offenses, and both Reagor and Hamler have the chance to separate themselves in that area this week. Byron Jones leaving the Dallas Cowboys could make next offseason all the more difficult - Blogging The BoysAs free agency continues to draw itself closer and closer the likelihood of the Dallas Cowboys keeping Byron Jones, as low as it was when the offseason began, continues to diminish. The path to Jones seemingly inevitable departure began long ago as our own Dave Halprin recently detailed, and it’s important to note that the effects of it will be felt long past this particular offseason. Jones has been - without question - the best player in the Cowboys secondary for just about the entire time that he’s been on the team. If he is gone, the group drops in average and what’s more is they will all need new deals in just a year. Giants release linebackers Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin - Big Blue ViewThe New York Giants continue the restructuring of their defense with the release of cornerbacks Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin, the team announced Wednesday. Both played two seasons in New York. In the wake of defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s firing this offseason, Ogletree and Martin’s days were numbered as the Giants were expected to make salary cap moves. Gardner Minshew II’s impressive rookie season gives Jaguars confidence - Big Cat CountryWhile Caldwell wouldn’t outright state that the team will be building around Minshew II for the future, he did give ample ammo to those that feel the team needs to lean in that direction. Caldwell made sure to say in his press conference that simply because Minshew II started the majority of the season, it doesn’t necessarily give him a “leg up” on the quarterback competition, “another year being in Jacksonville, we will see how that plays out.” “I think both of those guys are in a situation where they both have proven in their own way that they can be a good quarterback in the NFL,” Caldwell said when asked about the quarterback situation. “And Nick obviously has a much larger body of work than Gardner does, but for what Gardner did last year as a rookie I think was very impressive and he won six games and was .500 in games he started, and 20+ touchdowns, low interception rate.” Shanahan hints at trading Marquise Goodwin - Niners NationIf you saw what Goodwin did toward the end of the season in 2017 with Jimmy Garoppolo, you’d have thought Goodwin would have been a 1,000-yard receiver the past two seasons. Injuries and inconsistencies prevented that from happening. Shanahan said, “We could, yeah,” when asked if the 49ers were open to trading Goodwin. I’m not sure what his market is, but if the 49ers could get even a fourth-round pick for Goodwin, that’d be a no brainer. Realistically, it’d be a fifth-round pick I’d imagine. Overthecap says the Niners would save $3.6 million if they release Goodwin before June 1. That figure stays the same if Goodwin is traded. Rick Spielman shoots down dumb Stefon Diggs trade rumors - Daily NorsemanWe’re not even out of the month of February yet, but Minnesota Vikings fans have already been given enough stupidity to last them for the entire offseason, largely because of the still persisting trade rumors surrounding wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman attempted to set the record straight about just how dumb those rumors are. Report: Browns may be eyeing Chase Daniel as backup QB - Dawgs By NatureThe Cleveland Browns are set at quarterback with Baker Mayfield entering his third season as the unquestioned starter. The rest of the quarterback room, however, remains a work in progress. Drew Stanton filled the “veteran backup” role the past two seasons, but went on injured reserve after Week 1 of last season and is now a free agent. Behind him is Garrett Gilbert, who has attempted all of six passes in an NFL career that begin in 2014. If general manager Andrew Berry is looking to rebuild the position behind Mayfield, one name to keep an eye on in free agency is quarterback Chase Daniel, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. XFL Power Rankings, Week 4: Roughnecks rise to No. 1 amid major shakeup across the league - CBS Sports1. Houston Roughnecks (3-0). When the season started, some poked fun at June Jones for throwing the ball so much. Now, our one wish is for him to throw it even more. P.J. Walker’s breakout cannot be overstated, and with each passing week, the inevitability of his return to the NFL increases. Not only that, but he’s surrounded by underrated playmakers, from RB James Butler (5.7 yards per carry) to WR Cam Phillips, who leads the XFL in every major receiving category. Do they rely on Walker and the offense too much? Sometimes. But the pass rush is capable of big plays, and as long as No. 11 is healthy, they should be favored. The 4 kinds of prospects to watch at this year’s NFL Combine - SB Nation1. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama. The 40-yard dash is the most popular combine event, and this year some players will get close to John Ross’ record of 4.22 seconds. Texas receiver Devin Duvernay should time well, but Ruggs probably has the best chance of breaking Ross’ mark. Ruggs ran a 4.26-second 40 at Alabama’s junior pro day last year, and has spent the run up to the combine working on his times. ... 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Howie Roseman gets asked about Jadeveon Clowney’s hit, Alshon Jeffery, and more during WIP interviewby Alexis Chassen on February 26, 2020 at 6:56 pm
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images The Eagles’ coaches and front office are in Indianapolis this week to take a look at draft prospects at the NFL Combine, and we heard from both Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman for the first time this offseason on Tuesday. Roseman then called into 94WIP on Wednesday morning to talk a little more about the Alshon Jeffery rumors, the Jadeveon Clowney hit on Carson Wentz, and how they’re looking to build the team moving forward. The Eagles GM opened by talking about how much he loves the Combine and looking at the young talent, but also that the event is one of the few chances he gets to talk and meet with other GMs around the league to start gearing up for free agency and potential trades. On his team-planning long term Roseman mentioned on Tuesday that his plan for this offseason is different than the past few seasons. Now that they have more draft picks (10), they’re able to look a little more into the future rather than having a win-now mentality — although, he emphasized that they still want to win now. “I just think there’s different areas of team building, and when we were in 2016 and 2017 we had a quarterback under a rookie contract, and so we were able to build our team differently because of that. And now, as we go forward, obviously we gave Carson [Wentz] an extension, we have a very highly paid defensive tackle, a couple of offensive lineman who are making a lot of money, so we have to figure out a different way to add talent. It can’t always be that we’re going to go on the free agency market and do that. We also didn’t have a lot of picks. And we did that, we made some short term decisions — which I would do 100 times out of 100 times, again — to win a championship. And so, I just think that was our championship run, and that was kind of a period of time for the Eagles, and now we’re building a different period of time. It’s stuff like, we’re excited for some of our young players, like Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders. Our vision is that they’re on the field the next time we’re playing in a Super Bowl and the confetti falls on our heads. We just want to make sure we’re not doing a disservice and putting too many eggs into one basket for one year, opposed to looking at our team over a period of time.” He later explained that the long list of injuries they suffered last year will affect how they move forward personnel-wise, but in a good way. Roseman said that there’s only so much they can control, but they do have to make some changes to avoid having the same issue year after year. Roseman also talked about their immediate needs this offseason, and mentioned that protecting the quarterback is their No. 1 goal, and they’ve invested a lot into the offensive line. But, they also then need to make sure Wentz has enough weapons and playmakers at his disposal. “We don’t want to look back on Carson’s career and feel like this guy didn’t have the help at all times necessary to try to be at his best.” On defense, their priority it getting after the quarterback, but they also have to get better at protecting against the deep passes thrown against them. On veterans like Jason Peters and Malcolm Jenkins Howie said that they’re voices being so important in the locker room is part of the whole package and is definitely part of the stuff that they weigh when making those contract decisions. “We want to have a team full of leaders. But, at the same time, you also want to develop your younger leaders and allow them to have a voice. You have to give people the opportunity to do that too, and at times, when there are powerful leaders — I’m not talking about these two guys in particular — those guys kind of defer.” He noted that it also happens in the front office. They’ve had Joe Douglas go and get a GM job, and then Andrew Berry get a GM job, so now vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl has to step up. On the Alshon Jeffery situation Q: What about the other way? If there’s a player in that clubhouse that may not be creating the right chemistry, and I’m referring directly here to Alshon Jeffery because there’s been a lot of speculation, does that weigh in your decision whether to keep somebody or to let him go? ROSEMAN: Well, I would say this, in particular about this. I think that we’re around these players, all of our players, every day. We live with them. We’re married to them. So, we have a good sense of who’s doing the right thing, who cares, who doesn’t. We’re not perfect on that, Angelo, I’m not saying that. But I think that we’re married to these guys. And that’s one of the things about free agency, and we do this, and I know Joe Douglas talked about it a little bit, that we make sure when coaches come in, that they download about the players because they’ve lived with them. If you know someone, it’s like dating. Until you really live with someone, until you marry them, you don’t know how they’re really going to act. They’re always going to be on their best behavior. You’re not really sue. You use those as a resource. And so we know these guys, we know what are kind of deal breakers and what are not. And so I think we have a good sense of that on our football team. On the Jadeveon Clowney hit that concussed Carson Wentz “I think it’s clear that I watch the games, very similar to our fan base, because I can’t control anything. I’m up there and I turn into the most passionate Eagles fan there possibly can be. I don’t want to compete — there’s a lot of them — but I’m in that group. We thought that was a foul. We’re sick to our stomach about how the season ended for our team, for Carson in particular, but we’re not in a position to lose draft picks. I can’t do that. So you got me in a situation where I’m going to say something and we’re going to lose draft picks, we’re going to lose money — I can’t do that, that doesn’t make sense.”