Philadelphia Eagles: Career Decisions
Career Decisions. It’s upon us. The dreaded roster cuts where NFL hopefuls learn if they have a future in the NFL, must reload for a chance next year, or simply walk away from the game that carried them through high school and college, only to leave them at a point of “what now?” in August 2014. For former Philadelphia Eagles players, it’s time for career decisions. And so, ahead of the Tuesday deadline, the Eagles announce the following roster cuts:
Running Backs: NONE
Wide Receiver: B.J. Cunningham, Kadron Boone (2)
While injuries to starters created opportunities to secure a roster spot, this position was notoriously deep. In addition to drafting two players (Matthews and Huff), the Eagles also benefited from players who returned from 2013. Unfortunately, the odds were too much for Kadron Boone. B.J.Cunningham is a familiar face. It could be that with the announcement today, either of these players could catch on elsewhere.
Tight End: Blake Annen, Emil Igwenagu (2)
Chip Kelly loves tight ends, but they have to catch passes. Blake Annen’s speed was simply not enough, as his collegiate career was blocking. I would not be shocked to see him return to the practice squad at a future date.
Emil Igwenagu “iggy” has been with the Eagles for awhile, sometimes as a tight end and sometimes as a full back. He lost in the numbers game, as the arrival of “swiss army knife” Trey Burton restacked the depth chart and Iggy found himself on the bottom. I am intrigued at the speed of Blake Annen, and absolutely expect him to catch on a practice squad somewhere.
Offensive Line: Guard Karim Barton, Guard Donald Hawkins, Michael Bamiro (3)
Morgan State’s Karim Barton and University of Texas Donald Hawkins, both signed as undrafted free agents, simply ran into the numbers game. While each converted from college offensive tackle to NFL offensive guard, the early timing of these cuts could allow them an opportunity to catch on with another team.
I was a little surprised at the news of Michael Bamiro. While he had not shot up the depth chart, I was hopeful his size and strength would give him pause to make it to the fianl cuts. Eagles offensive line is deeper than expected, and that depth shows in the number of cuts.
I could see Bamiro returning to the practice squad. His measurables are great, and if it’s simply needs more polish, that is what the practice squad does.
Defensive Line: End Joe Kruger, Alejandro Villanueva, Francis Mays (3)
Of the cuts announced today, these probably caught the Eagles fan base with the most surprise. While Joe Kruger was essentially “red-shirted” in 2013 on the injured reserve list, he simply didn’t make enough of the jump in year two of the system. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alejandro Villanueva simply was too raw and needs more time. Finally, Francis Mays simply ran out of available slots.
I would not be surprised to see any of these players on the 2014 practice squad. Villanueva would certainly be warranted, as he could benefit tremendously with more time in football.
Outside Linebacker: NONE
Inside Linebacker: Jake Knott (1)
While this is surprising, Jake Knott’s suspension in the first four games would not have affected the starting roster, apparently he did not show the same worth as 2013. Rather than hold onto Knott until the fourth week, the Eagles decide to part ways here.
Cornerbacks: Davon Morgan (1)
Davon Morgan was the guy who went undrafted in 2011, was signed by the New York Jets, but did not make their final roster. Undaunted, he signed onto an indoor arena football with the Richmond Raiders until the Eagles gave him a call this year. Cornerbacks were another area of intense competition and Morgan fell to the crowded defensive backfield.
Safety: Daytawion Lowe (1)
Undrafted, but undaunted, Daytawion Lowe arrived to the Eagles training camp as a potential dark horse in the competition to stay on as one of the safeties. While that is not the case, I would not be surprised to see Lowe end up on our practice squad.
Kicker: Carey “Murderleg” Spear (1)
Carey Spear made the headlines for his nickname, and for the first days of training camp, it was tough to avoid “Murderleg Mania”. Tough, that is, until we saw his kicking. While he did settle down at times in training camp, it was clear that he would not give a serious challenge to kicker Alex Henery
So where does that leave us? The Eagles roster standing at 76 currently, with a cap of 75 due by 4 PM Tuesday, August 26th. One more player will be cut. Is this the kicker cut we’ve been expecting? Once there, the Eagles continue to evaluate the roster. From a cap of 75 down to 53 means 22 additional cuts must happen. Those are the cuts that hurt even more, as a coach will set a roster to be the best team, while fans will hope for their favorite players who may not give the complete skill set a coach wants.
We know that the practice squad has been increased from eight to ten players this year. Rather than tell you who I think the Eagles will end up with, I will give you the number of players expected at each position for the 53 roster, and how many we currently have:
Quarterback: 3 (currently at 4) (1 practice squad projection or PS)
Running back : 4 (currently at 6) (1 PS)
Wide Receiver: 6 (currently at 11) (2 PS)
Tight End: 3 (currently at 4) (1 PS)
Offensive Line: 10 (currently at 13) (1 PS)
Defensive Line: 6 (currently at 9) (1 PS)
Linebacker: 8 (currently at 12) (1 PS)
Cornerback: 5 (currently at 7) (1 PS)
Safety: 5 (currently at 6) (1 PS)
Special Team: LS P K: 3 (currently at 4)
Career decisions. If you were the Philadelphia Eagles front office, who would you keep and cut? I will check back with you on Monday to reveal who I project.