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.
There are many people who believe the Philadelphia Eagles should have tried to make things work with Carson Wentz rather than replacing him with Jalen Hurts, but few feel more strongly about it than ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
Kiper has been very outspoken in criticizing the Eagles for trading Wentz. He reiterated his thoughts on Tuesday’s edition of “Get Up!” and ripped Philly for making the deal. Kiper also unloaded on the Chicago Bears for not making a real effort to acquire Wentz.
“A ridiculously stupid move is the way to sum it up,” Kiper said. “Even dumber than that was the Bears not giving up the 20th overall pick and (a third-rounder) and trying to get Carson Wentz. … Carson Wentz is a young man, who is a proven MVP guy, who did things in three years that very few NFL quarterbacks have done.”
Kiper attributed Wentz’s struggles last season to all the injuries the Eagles had on offense.
“The injuries were catastrophic,” he added. “(Not all teams) have catastrophic injuries to offensive linemen before the season even begins — receivers, tight ends, running back — and we’re gonna blame the quarterback and send him packing for virtually nothing? This was, again, one of the most ridiculously stupid moves probably in the history of the NFL.”
The Colts traded a third-round pick and a conditional second-rounder that could turn into a first for Wentz. Kiper felt that was an “early Christmas present” for Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich.
Kiper was high on Wentz when Wentz was coming out of North Dakota State in 2016, and apparently his opinion has not changed much. There have been some reports that called Wentz’s work ethic with the Eagles into question, but Kiper clearly is not buying them. Time will tell if his enthusiasm about the trade is warranted.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in the hunt for a veteran quarterback to challenge Jalen Hurts, and one has clearly emerged on their radar.
According to Tim McManus of ESPN, the Eagles have brought Joe Flacco in for a meeting. No offer is on the table yet, but there is “mutual interest” between the team and player.
Flacco spent 2020 with the New York Jets, where he was brought in as Sam Darnold’s backup. He ended up getting four starts for the team, throwing for 864 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions. He turned 36 in January, and hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2017.
It’s been reported that the Eagles want to legitimately push Hurts to win the starting quarterback job. There’s a strong perception that Hurts ends up getting the job no matter what, however, which could mean a veteran who wants a legitimate shot at starting may shy away from the Eagles. It may leave Flacco as their best option.
The Philadelphia Eagles have been shopping Zach Ertz in trade talks over the past few weeks, and the star tight end is hoping they don’t find a partner.
Multiple teams have reportedly shown interest in Ertz, and a report over the weekend said the Eagles are moving closer to trading him. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that Ertz is hoping to be released rather than traded, as he wants the ability to choose his next team.
That is hardly a surprise. Most players would probably prefer to become free agents rather than be traded, unless their team is willing to work with them to find a suitable destination. It does not seem like the Eagles are doing that with Ertz.
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 were interested in signing him to a new deal, but contract negotiations between the two sides turned very ugly.
Ertz may end up getting his wish. 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. The Eagles may not get the return they are hoping for.
Jalen Hurts has a clear path to earning the Philadelphia Eagles’ starting quarterback job next season now that Carson Wentz has been traded. However, there have been reports that the team plans to bring in competition for the former Alabama star. The question now is whether or not team owner Jeffrey Lurie will allow that.
During Monday’s episode of “Get Up!,” ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said Lurie views Hurts as “the guy” and wants the team to do everything possible to make him the starting quarterback.
“Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Eagles, has basically sent the message to his personnel department and his general manager Howie Roseman that he wants to do everything he can to help Jalen Hurts be successful and not bring in somebody to compete for the job,” Mortensen said, via Elliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP SportsRadio. “Now they have a new head coach in Nick Sirianni, he understands what the owner wants, the owner gets.”
Eagles reporter Les Bowen questioned Mortensen’s report, noting that the team must have made that determination very recently if the report is true. Mortensen clarified that there is not consensus within the organization about Hurts being named the starter but that is what the owner wants.
The Eagles have the No. 6 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and many analysts have predicted they will take a quarterback. If Lurie views Hurts as the starter, that may alter the team’s draft approach.
Hurts has certainly been acting like the Eagles’ starting QB this offseason. It would take a lot for him to lose the job, especially if he has the support of ownership with a new coach in place.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ active offseason looks set to continue, and longtime tight end Zach Ertz might be the next player to go.
According to Michael Silver of NFL Network, multiple teams have signaled interest in Ertz, and the Eagles may deal the tight end as soon as this week.
Ertz figures to be a popular target for teams. He had a string of incredibly productive seasons between 2014 and 2019 before a down year in 2020. The Eagles were interested in keeping him, but contract negotiations went very poorly, leading to the likelihood of a trade.
The veteran tight end carries a cap hit just shy of $12.5 million in 2021, which could be a complicating factor in any deal.
Jason Peters has spent the last 12 years of his career with the Eagles, so there are few players in NFL history who are more familiar with the challenges that come along with playing in Philadelphia. The way Peters sees it, those challenges may have ultimately run Carson Wentz out of town.
During a Thursday appearance on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” Peters was asked why things didn’t work out for Wentz in Philly. He spoke about how difficult it is to play in a demanding city.
“Nothing really went wrong on that. He was just in Philadelphia,” Peters said, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. “It’s a hard city to play for. … You gotta bring it every year or Philadelphia will eat you up.”
Wentz would likely disagree. While Eagles fans called for him to be benched last year when he was struggling, he never made it seem like he felt too much pressure playing in Philly. Rather, it sounds like Wentz had significant issues with his head coach and didn’t trust the coaching staff.
There were also some unflattering reports about Wentz not being a great leader. That could be the type of thing Peters is referring to, as the media is notoriously tougher in cities like Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Chicago.
Whatever the case, Wentz wanted a fresh start. Peters has been around long enough to know how a disgruntled quarterback can make a team implode. If the QB wants out, the reasons don’t really matter.
The Philadelphia Eagles came away with a second- and third-round draft pick in exchange for quarterback Carson Wentz, and it’s a trade that apparently left a sour taste in the team’s mouth.
The Eagles shipped Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for the pair of draft picks, with the second-round pick potentially becoming a first-rounder if Wentz plays enough. While the organization clearly felt it had to move Wentz and thinks it got fair market value for him, there is apparently a sense of disappointment with how things played out.
“Not thrilled,” ESPN’s Tim McManus said Friday on “Get Up!”, via Sam Marsdale of 247Sports. “They recognize the return they got vs. what they invested in (Wentz) does not match up. The reality is they were selling at a low point. Carson Wentz was coming off one of the worst years of his career — one of the worst years of any quarterback in the NFL last year — he’s due to make $47 million over the next two seasons and he’s got some questions about coachability that he needs to answer. That was known throughout the league. The market was pretty warm. There was one team really hot after him because of Frank Reich’s connection to Wentz, and that was the Colts. So I don’t think the Eagles wake up happy to this, but they recognize it was fair market value, all things considered.”
The Eagles picked Wentz second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, developed him briefly into an MVP candidate, signed him to an enormous contract, and then watched as it all fell apart. It’s only logical that they’d be disappointed and upset with how that played out. The Eagles knew they were moving Wentz at a low point, which just shows how much they felt they had to get rid of him. When you hear about how things went in the locker room in 2020, it’s easy to see why.