Former Eagles still on the NFL free-agent scrap heap in 2023

Rodney McLeod. #26 (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Rodney McLeod. #26 (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

We still scratch our heads and marvel sometimes when we try to fathom how vice president/general manager Howie Roseman does what he does. As of the end of March, per our friends over at Spotrac, the Philadelphia Eagles are second only to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in dead-cap money with $54,727,983 on the books. As is seemingly the case every offseason, there was no money to spend. Philly had swiped the credit card too many times, and now the bill was due. What happened? Howie found a way to free up some needed cash to make a few signings.

Jason Kelce announced he’d return for another season. Shortly thereafter, Howie talked a few vets into staying with Philly while knowing they’d make less money here than they’d make elsewhere. Lane Johnson was also restructured.

Philly saw some of their young talent land elsewhere. That was expected. Still, most feel better about where the roster is currently than they felt about the direction this team was seemingly headed in two weeks ago.

Much of the core that helped the Eagles win the NFC remains intact. Roseman filled a few holes with low-risk signings. Now, the NFL Draft approaches. We’ll see what Philly does there and in the months that follow. We’ll also be monitoring what former Eagles are doing in other cities. Some have yet to find a home though.

Here are a dozen former Philadelphia Eagles that are still treading water in the NFL’s free-agent pool.

With the first spike in free agency behind us, everyone continues to monitor the Birds and their competition intently. That will continue all season. Both NFC and AFC teams have upgraded their rosters by adding former Eagles to their respective wheelhouses. Here’s a look at a dozen former Birds who are still seeking employment.

Linval Joseph, defensive tackle

Linval Joseph was added by the Eagles midseason, and in some ways, produced one of the more impressive seasons of his career. It’s hard to join a team mid-week and jump into the starting lineup on the following Sunday. Joseph made it look easy.

Linval turns 35 in October, and that’s one of the reasons why he isn’t working anywhere right now. He has proven there’s still some gas in the tank though.

Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle

One day after signing Joseph, Philadelphia added Ndamukong Suh, and though there were no major fireworks, the future Hall of Famer proved to be a valuable part of the defensive line’s rotation. He hasn’t been added by anyone for the 2023 NFL season yet, but he hasn’t called it a career yet. The legend of one of the game’s great mercenaries continues.

Rodney McLeod, safety

One of the most beloved Eagles of the past ten seasons, Rodney McLeod is still waiting for a call from the next NFL team looking to sign him. Had he been reacquired by Howie Roseman in Philly, few would have questioned the decision. He turns 33 in June, so one has to ask if a major regression is coming.

JaCoby Stevens, linebacker

They say the NFL Draft is a crapshoot. We all know it’s sort of an inexact science, so we have to tip the cap when Howie Roseman adds a nine-man draft class as he did in 2021, and eight of the guys he took are still on the team.

JaCoby Stevens, the only member of that class that isn’t still on the roster, was a sixth-rounder added by way of an awarded compensatory pick. He was also a key contributor to the LSU Tigers’ College Football Playoff National Championship-winning team. It will be interesting to see if he winds up in someone’s camp.

Jason Peters, offensive tackle

You have to love Jason Peters’ belief in his ability, but we’re approaching territory where he has seemingly become the only man left on the planet who hasn’t figured out that he simply can’t play anymore. He’s had a great ride, but every season he tacks on at this point makes us forget how good he truly was.

Jordan Matthews, tight end

Yes, believe it or not, Jordan Matthews still hasn’t turned in the paperwork to announce his official retirement. There’s an old saying though. If you don’t retire, the game will retire you. It appears this three-time Eagles might be in danger of falling into the latter category.

J. J. Arcega-Whiteside, wide receiver

Any mention of J. J. Arcega-Whiteside now makes some think we’re just kicking him while he’s down. We aren’t though. Sometimes, things don’t work out, and you’re forced to move on.

After being traded by the Birds to the Seattle Seahawks on August 15th, being waived on August 30th, 2022, and being signed to the practice squad the next day, the Hawks released him for a final time on November 1st. If he earns another shot, it will no doubt be his final opportunity.

Tyree Jackson, tight end

There’s really no nice way to say this. The experiment of attempting to turn Tyree Jackson into a tight end has finally ended in Philadelphia, and we have no qualms about stating we’re elated that it’s over.

Carson Wentz, quarterback

Carson Wentz showed up at the NFL Scouting Combine with a team and dreams of convincing another NFL team to acquire him. There were no takers.

Unless he swallows some of that pride that has cost him so dearly time and time again and he accepts that his future in the NFL will come as a journeyman backup, it’s time he understands his NFL career is, in essence over.

Joe Flacco, quarterback

Some NFL stars regress. Joe Flacco went from Super Bowl MVP to falling off of a cliff. It’s hard to see any NFL team being interested at this point, but hey! You never know, right?

Jordan Howard, running back

It’s hard to make a living as an NFL running back. The money isn’t what you’d like it to be. You’re treated like more of a side item than the main course. The body takes a ton of punishment.

Jordan Howard appeared in two games for the New Orleans Saints and notched one carry for one yard. It’s hard to imagine he’d be added to someone’s roster this point, but we won’t say it’s over until it’s officially over.

Robert Quinn, defensive end

The Eagles gambled by trading for Robert Quinn and lost big time. That’s pretty much all that you can say about the move. Now  32 with his 33rd birthday coming in May, it may be time to accept the fact that a respectable run in the NFL is at its end. Last season, he looked old and tired, and another 18-week, 17-game grind isn’t going to fix that.

We wish all of these guys the best in their next ventures. Only time will tell if that leads to another NFL season in 2023.

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