It’s been considered a guarantee that tight end Zach Ertz would be leaving the Philadelphia Eagles during the offseason. With training camp now looming, it appears that the opposite might just happen.
Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin reported Wednesday that there is now a “great chance” that Ertz will remain with the team for the start of the season. Eskin added that Ertz is “over the issues” that he had with the team dating back to 2020.
This is definitely a fairly abrupt shift for Ertz, who was rumored to be nearing a trade as recently as last month. He’s entering the final season of his deal and is due $8.5 million, and had been given permission to seek a trade after failing to agree to a contract extension. It’s pretty clear at this point that nothing materialized.
The 30-year-old’s issues with the Eagles stemmed from his contract, but there wasn’t much reason to extend him after he caught only 36 passes in 2020 and essentially fell behind Dallas Goedert in the tight end pecking order. Ertz may have simply realized that with no trade or release coming, his only real option is to show up and try to rebound in the hopes that his stock rebounds before he becomes a free agent after the 2021 season.
Deshaun Watson’s status remains unclear as training camp quickly approaches, but there is a chance the trade market for him could still heat up before the start of the regular season. If it does, the Philadelphia Eagles may be the team to watch.
During a Wednesday morning appearance on “The John Kincade Show” on 97.5 The Fanatic, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the Eagles are in the best position to make a run at Watson should there be more clarity surrounding the star quarterback’s situation in the coming weeks.
“The Eagles are more equipped to make a run at DeShaun Watson than any other team out there,” Schefter said. “And if you put DeShaun Watson on the Philadelphia Eagles they become a Super Bowl contender right away.”
Schefter added that the Eagles will be “waiting” for when Watson’s legal issues are settled. He noted that Philadelphia once gave Michael Vick a second chance, so they might be the type of organization that would welcome Watson despite the sexual assault allegations against him.
The Eagles are hoping Jalen Hurts proves he can be a viable starter this season, but Watson is already an established star. It’s possible that Philly could wait until next offseason to try to acquire Watson, as they may have an extra first-round pick by then via the Carson Wentz trade.
Watson has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women who say they did massage therapy work for him. The NFL is still investigating the claims, though Watson had not been interviewed by the league as of a few weeks ago.
Many assume Watson will either be suspended by the NFL or placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. The league probably wants to come to a decision before the start of the season, even if the lawsuits against Watson have the potential to drag into next year.
The Philadelphia Eagles have been shopping Zach Ertz in trade talks since the end of last season, but they have yet to find a new home for the tight end. That does not mean he will return to the team in 2021.
Ertz did not report to the second phase of the Eagles’ voluntary offseason program on Monday, which was not a surprise. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ertz is not planning to show up while the team moves toward either trading or releasing him.
The Eagles explored signing Ertz to a contract extension at one point last year, but negotiations between the two sides turned ugly. It became clear at that point that a divorce was inevitable.
Ertz had his worst NFL season last year, though an ankle injury was a big factor in that. He caught just 36 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown.
The Eagles would obviously prefer to trade Eertz, but that has already proved to be a difficult task. He’s on the wrong side of 30, coming off a bad year and carries a salary cap hit of more than $12 million in 2021. Releasing Ertz may be the team’s only option.
The Texans have been in a holding pattern with Deshaun Watson since multiple women accused him of sexual assault. It is unclear whether the star quarterback still wants out of Houston or if a trade is possible given the circumstances, but apparently at least one team remains interested.
Peter King wrote in his latest NBC Sports column that his “gut feeling” is Watson will be with a new team when the 2022 season begins. He then listed some of his own odds for where Watson might end up, and the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers topped the list at 3-to-1. The Eagles will have an extra first-round pick next year if Carson Wentz plays at least 75 percent of the offensive snaps with the Indianapolis Colts, which could put them in a strong position to deal for Watson.
The Eagles are hoping Jalen Hurts proves he can be a viable NFL starter this season. That said, Mike Fisher of TexansDaily.com was told by a source that Watson is “still in play” for Philly. The timetable for when a Watson trade might take place is unclear, but Fisher reports that the Eagles are definitely still interested.
Watson is facing sexual assault lawsuits from 22 women who say they provided massage therapy for him in the past. The NFL is conducting its own investigation of the allegations, and Watson will almost certainly be suspended if not placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list.
A recent report claimed the Texans are in the process of moving on from Watson.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to trade up for wide receiver DeVonta Smith in the NFL Draft apparently set off some angst within their division.
The Eagles moved up from No. 12 to No. 10, trading with the Dallas Cowboys in order to draft Smith. In doing so, they jumped ahead of the New York Giants, who held the 11th pick and apparently were waiting eagerly for Smith to fall to them.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg spoke to a number of college coaches about the draft, and one SEC defensive coordinator revealed that the Eagles trade made the Giants furious.
“The Giants wanted DeVonta bad,” the coordinator said. “They were pretty livid when Philly moved in front of them.”
It no doubt made the Giants even angrier that the Eagles made the swap with another NFC East rival in the Cowboys. With Smith off the board, the Giants traded down, enabling the Bears to move up for quarterback Justin Fields.
The Giants were already pretty unhappy with the Eagles at the end of the season as well. Those two games should be fun in 2021 as a result of all this.
Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is trying to clarify the awkward draft room video that went viral following the team’s third round selection.
Video from the draft room showed Eagles senior scout Tom Donahoe offering a reluctant-looking fistbump to Roseman following the team’s selection of defensive lineman Milton Williams 73rd overall. Roseman seemed to be somewhat exasperated in response to Donahoe. The video raised speculation about the relations between Roseman and the team’s scouts, which had appeared strained this season. There was even some speculation that Roseman had gone off his own personal draft board to make the selection, ignoring the full team version.
On Tuesday, Roseman strongly disputed that there were any issues. He suggested that Donahoe had wanted to draft defensive lineman Alim McNeill instead of Williams, but McNeill ended up going No. 72 after the Eagles traded down from No. 70.
“That’s ridiculous,” Roseman said Tuesday on 94WIP, via Tim McManus of ESPN. “Every single person on our staff has their own draft board. That’s how we write up reports. [Coach] Nick [Sirianni] has his own draft board, [vice president of player personnel] Andy Weidl has his own draft board, Tom Donahoe has his own draft board, I have my own draft board. That’s how we rank players. That’s how our system is set up, to do that.
“Discussion and debate and having these conversations, it’s OK. You’d rather have that passion. Tom’s been here for a long time. We’ve been together for 10 years, extremely close relationship. It’s OK to have tough conversations, and Tom and I have had a lot of them in 10 years.”
Roseman’s denial won’t really silence chatter about discord in the organization. There was some talk of that going all the way to the top during the 2020 season, so this wasn’t a great look for a franchise trying to dispel that notion.
Nick Sirianni is going through his first offseason as a head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he seems plenty confident in his scouting methods — even if they are a bit unorthodox.
Sirianni spoke with reporters on Wednesday about the ways in which he has evaluated draft prospects, and one of them involved playing rock-paper-scissors. The 39-year-old coach feels that is a good way to get an idea of how competitive a player is. He said he also talked some trash during the games to see how players would respond.
“I played a couple of them at rock-paper-scissors. It was as easy as that,” Sirianni said. “Let’s see how competitive you are. I’m competitive. I’m gonna be talking trash to them. Did you talk trash back to me? … It was awesome. Anything you compete at, when you compete with somebody that’s competitive, they’re gonna go at you no matter what game you’re playing.”
While Sirianni’s methods may seem a bit silly, we’ve certainly heard much worse. There have been horror stories about some of the questions NFL teams have asked prospects over the years. The best example was probably what happened with the Miami Dolphins over a decade ago.
Sirianni definitely seems enthusiastic about his first coaching gig. Time will tell if that translates to winning.
The 2020 NFL Draft was a completely different TV experience from what fans previously were used to. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no central gathering for the draft. Instead, TV cameras were placed inside the homes of team employees and players. The result was a more intimate viewing experience for the fans, such as one we saw among the Minnesota Vikings.
As Pro Football Focus reminded people on Twitter Tuesday, some Vikings higher-ups (GM Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer) laughed at the Philadelphia Eagles for passing on Justin Jefferson with the No. 21 overall pick last year. Instead of Jefferson, they chose a different receiver — Jalen Reagor.
The Vikings were right, at least for one year.
Reagor had 31 catches for 396 yards and a touchdown in 11 games last season. Jefferson had 88 catches for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie.
Six receivers were taken in the first round last year. Seven more went in the second round. It remains to be seen how all of their careers go, but for now, the Vikings seemed to nail the rankings. They definitely got it right with Jefferson.
The Miami Dolphins traded out of the top 10 of this year’s NFL Draft when they completed a blockbuster deal with the San Francisco 49ers on Friday, but they were back in just minutes later.
Shortly after it was reported that the Dolphins had traded the No. 3 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers for the 12th overall pick and future picks, the Philadelphia Eagles announced that they had completed a trade of their own with Miami. That deal involves the Dolphins flipping the No. 12 pick to Philly in exchange for the No. 6 pick. The Eagles are also getting a future first-round pick in the deal.
The Dolphins look like the big winners here. They essentially acquired a future first-round pick to move back three spots in the draft. Since they are committed to Tua Tagovailoa and not looking to draft a quarterback, they were in a great position to make the deals. Miami also still has the 18th overall pick in the first round this year in addition to No. 6.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Eagles also expressed interest in moving up to No. 3, but they only wanted to do that if they were assured to land BYU’s Zach Wilson.
The NFL Draft is still more than a month away, but teams are already wheeling and dealing.
Joe Flacco is returning home.
Flacco on Tuesday signed a 1-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Flacco is from Audubon, New Jersey, which is slightly east of Philadelphia.
Flacco is receiving $3.5 million in guarantees and can make up to $4 million more in incentives.
The 36-year-old has bounced around since his departure from the Baltimore Ravens. He spent the 2019 season with Denver and last season with the Jets. Now he is moving to the Eagles to back up Jalen Hurts.
Hurts is a running threat, while Flacco is just a pocket passer. That seems to make his signing somewhat of an odd schematic fit. Flacco passed for 864 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions in five games last season. He is not much of a threat at quarterback.