Philadelphia Eagles: Could there be any holdouts at Mini-Camp?
With OTAs wrapped up, the next phase for the Philadelphia Eagles is mandatory mini-camp.
The first physical phase of the NFL offseason is in the bag. After a few weeks of OTAs, the Philadelphia Eagles are beginning to prepare for the mandatory mini-camp phase. From June 12th to the 14th, all rookies and veterans are expected to be in attendance at the Nova Care Complex. Unlike OTAs, the two-day mini-camp workouts are not voluntary.
Majority of the Eagles roster showed up for OTAs this season. Aside from veteran running back Darren Sproles, and defensive end Michael Bennett, the Eagles, had a full house with all of their healthy players in attendance. And even some guys who are recovering from their injuries showed up at some point as well. But with the optional part of the offseason being finished, could the Eagles expect certain players to hold out?
The Obvious candidates:
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The first name that comes to mind is defensive end and Super Bowl hero, Brandon Graham. Although Graham is still recovering from his offseason ankle surgery, the nine-year veteran still showed face at voluntary OTAs this past week. When the local media asked about his contract concerns, Graham made it clear that he will play for the Eagles regardless of his situation.
The next two names that come to mind are the two guys who held out from OTAs. Concerning Sproles, we shouldn’t expect him to remain absent for long. In case you forgot, Sproles opted out of OTAs last season and only showed up for the mandatory programs. You can do this kind of thing when you are heading into your 14th season in the league.
As far as Michael Bennett goes, the situation is tricky. Head Coach Doug Pederson says he expects Bennett to be in Philly when it’s mandatory, but he is another veteran who skips out on the small stuff. Although Pederson is unaware of Bennett’s plans for the offseason, he seems more than confident with his expectations in Bennett getting comfortable in the Eagles defense, despite being absent so far.
Who else is in a contract year?
Aside from Brandon Graham, the Eagles do not have a significant superstar on a contract year. They took care of former first-round pick Nelson Agholor about a month ago when they picked up his fifth-year option. The only other starters that are playing for a new contract is Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi, and Jordan Hicks.
As of right now, all three of these guys are unproven in their own way. While Hicks has Pro Bowl potential, he struggles tremendously to remain healthy. Darby jumped in the same boat as Hicks last year when he dislocated his ankle at the beginning of the season. He had the opportunity to come back, but the time that he missed clearly affected his game when he returned.
As for Ajayi, he hasn’t really had the chance to prove to the Eagles that he is a clear-cut number one back. As he was in Philly for most of the offseason, and all of the voluntary phases, Ajayi knows that holding out is not the way he could get a new contract. The only way to do it at this point is to ball out, and he acknowledged that.
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So the good news is that the Eagles don’t seem to have anybody forcing their hand for a bigger payday. Obviously, things can change when training camp rolls around. But as of now, the team seems to really be focused on repeating as champions, rather than seeking for a significant payday.