As the Philadelphia Eagles' minicamp carries on and the roster for an much-anticipated 2017 season begins to take shape, the rumor mill has continued to churn along about potential signings, trades and releases. General manager Howie Roseman has led one of the busier front offices in the league throughout an offseason that has seen the arrivals of big free agents, extremely promising draft pick...
As the Philadelphia Eagles' minicamp carries on and the roster for an anticipated 2017 season just begins to take shape, the rumor mill has continued to churn along about potential signings, trades and releases.
General manager Howie Roseman has led one of the busier front offices in the league throughout an offseason that has seen the arrivals of big free agents, extremely promising draft picks and even a savvy trade acquisition. After struggling with a sub-par supporting cast as a rookie, quarterback Carson Wentz looks to have a much more dangerous set of play-makers around him entering his second season.
Significant strides have been made to improve a roster on the tail end of a rebuild and the assembling of the 2017 Eagles appears close to complete, but a few decisions still need to be made as the fall draws near.
Let's take a close look into the biggest Eagles rumors, reports and buzz.
It may be a moot point now that Jeremy Maclin officially signed a two-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, but word emerged straight from head coach Doug Pederson's mouth at minicamp that the Eagles indeed gave a Maclin return in Philly strong consideration.
Pederson told the media of a conversation he had with Maclin, Dave Spadaro of the team site reported:
"When he was still available over the weekend, we got together as a staff and discussed it. I called him and spoke to him and had a good conversation just to see what he was thinking, where he was at. He made the decision today to sign with Baltimore and we wish him the best of luck. We feel very good about what we have at wide receiver, but again we’re always going to keep our eyes open for ways to improve our football team at any position."
What makes it notable despite Maclin being off the market now is that Pederson went strictly against his word last week. When asked whether the Eagles were interested in Maclin, he told Zach Berman of Philly.com, "at this time, no."
A coach not showing his hand to the media is far from shocking, but it does serve as a future indication when the Eagles speak on their roster plans. In Maclin's case, the scenario flipped significantly in the span of a day or two and the same can be expected in future negotiations.
Even without signing Maclin, the Eagles face a numbers crunch at receiver after making significant additions to the unit in the offseason. That's going to inevitably leave a young wideout on the chopping block.
After a disappointing first season with the Eagles and second season in the league, Dorial Green-Beckham could be the cut. Dave Zangaro of CSN Philly said in his Eagles mailbag, "at this point, I expect Dorial Green-Beckham to be the odd man out."
A simple look at the roster leads Eagles fans to believe the DGB experiment will be a one and done. Behind free-agent signings Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, the Eagles will almost surely include Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor in the group with rookie draft picks Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson also in the thick of things.
That makes six receivers who are likely ahead of DGB in the pecking order, and six is about the most the Eagles will be able to include in their 53-man roster. The potential of Green-Beckham, led by an incredible 6'6" frame and supreme athleticism, has made way for inconsistency and a failure to develop.
His departure may bring a sigh of relief to Eagles fans, along with a wonder of what could have been.
While Wednesday's three-year extension of Jason Peters' contract at a still-high price point, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, was met with a majority of praise, forward-looking Eagles fans couldn't help but wonder how much retaining a left tackle until he's 38 would delay succession plans.
With Lane Johnson dominating at right tackle and appearing ready to take over the blind side, plans have seemed in place over the last year to eventually incorporate young reserve Halapoulivaati Vaitai opposite Johnson on the right. Peters' re-signing initially threw water on that plan, until Pederson told CSN Philly that Peters could be asked to play guard in the future.
Peters noted his willingness to make the change, telling Aaron Kasinitz of PennLive.com that he'd do "whatever they want me to do" regarding a position switch.
Having a possible future Hall of Fame tackle in the fold to retire as an Eagle is never a bad thing, even if he's past his prime, but they need to make sure his presence never becomes a liability. Knowing Peters is willing to slide over and allow the team to move forward without him at tackle not only validates Peters as a team-first guy, but frees up the Eagles to plan for the future.
They say that no news is good news, and that could be echoed regarding center Jason Kelce and the lack of trade rumors about him in recent weeks. But another small indication has cropped up that he may be on his way out.
Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported a development at minicamp that is intriguing to say the least, noting that Isaac Seumalo took first-team reps at center during Wednesday's practice. Seumalo started four games as a rookie, but only appeared in nine total games.
One spot start in team minicamp usually means nothing, but it's on the heels of an offseason in which Kelce relentlessly saw trade rumors like one floating him to the New Orleans Saints for Mark Ingram, via Zangaro of CSN Philly. Kelce even had to address the rumors, later telling Zangaro, "I think you'll drive yourself crazy if you're reading too much into what's going on."
Something that may drive some Eagles fans crazy is the fact that Kelce is the team's tenth highest-paid player per Over The Cap, despite having a poor 2016 season and playing a role in the line's decreased level of play down the stretch. As if the re-signing of Stefen Wisniewski (who has started four seasons at center, wasn't a big enough indication that the Eagles are exploring a future without Kelce, Seumalo's start during minicamp offers more writing on the wall.
It's a new-look season cosmetically for Nelson Agholor, who switched to No. 13 after Jeffery took his No. 17 this offseason. But so far in OTA's and minicamp, Agholor's rebirth isn't just reduced to his jersey number.
If touchdowns are your metric, Agholor has been the Eagles' best receiver throughout offseason drills. Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ Advance Media noted that Agholor "has more TDs than any other WR in team drills this offseason" after hauling in a 50-yard score during Wednesday's drills.
Of course, there are a number of stipulations to consider here. First off, the Eagles' secondary facing Agholor is probably the biggest work in progress on the whole roster. Second, any player's performance in offseason activities has to be taken with a grain of salt, especially when it's a receiver who has performed as poorly as Agholor has during the regular season.
On a brighter note, Agholor told Ed Kracz of Calkins Media that this was his best OTA's in three years. More substantially, Wentz praised Agholor, telling Brandon Lee Gowton of BleedingGreen.com that the third-year wideout "looks quicker and more explosive this year."
Agholor has always been loaded with the potential that made him a first-round pick under Chip Kelly, but that made way in 2016 for incredible struggles with drops that plagued him mentally and made him a healthy scratch for one game. The offseason acquisition of Jeffery not only took Agholor's jersey number away, but it put him on notice and he appears to be responding magnificently thus far.
Anyone who's watched LeGarrette Blount carry the football in the NFL knew the Eagles were adding a dimension to their backfield that wasn't previously there, but seeing it unfold for the first time has coaches in awe.
Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley, who obviously knows something from his past playing days about the history of the Eagles backfield, stated to Kasinitz of PennLive.com that Blount brings "something we haven't had here in a long time," lauding Blount's size and sheer force running downhill with the ball. That's coming from a former 240-pound back who played six seasons in Philly from 1997-2003.
Philadelphia already had versatility and elusiveness in the fold with Wendell Smallwood and rookie Donnel Pumphrey alongside Darren Sproles, but it severely lacked a bruiser. Blount can earn the tough short yards, but he's also a wrecking ball capable of busting open 20-yard runs and slipping out to catch passes on the perimeter.
Blount's veteran presence and size aren't the only things he brings to the table in Philly. You don't hang around for two Super Bowls in New England without being a complete back, and Blount will have more opportunity to showcase that in 2017.