Philadelphia Eagles training camp begins next week. For some players, this summer will be their last shot to make the team. Each year there are bound to be some surprise cuts as the team trims their roster down to the 53-man limit. Here's a look at some veteran Eagles players who could unexpectedly be gone by the time the regular season starts. These players could easily make the team, but their roster spots might not be as guaranteed as some expect.
The Eagles' trusty long snapper turns 36 years old in a few days. Dorenbos had some snapping issues last season, which caused the team to work out two free agent long snappers in Philadelphia last November. Following this year's NFL Draft, the Eagles paid an "unprecedented" amount of guaranteed money to undrafted rookie free agent snapper John DePalma. The team is clearly thinking about a replacement plan for the veteran. What makes matters more complicated is that Dorenbos is currently competing in NBC's America's Got Talent competition. He's already advanced to the live performance portion of the show, which is scheduled to take place just one day before he's due to report to training camp. If Dorenbos continues to succeed on the show, will that conflict with his football schedule?
I'm of the belief that Barbre will start at left guard for the Eagles this season. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland likes him a lot. Head coach Doug Pederson has already indicated that Barbre is the starter at left guard, too. But there's at least a chance Barbre could lose his starting job to rookie Isaac Seumalo or fellow veteran Stefen Wisniewski (more on him later). If that's the case, the Eagles could just keep Barbre as a backup. Or they could cut the 32-year-old veteran for a savings of $1.8 million in cap space.
Wisniewski has started all 77 games he's appeared in during his five-year NFL career. Pederson has insisted he's in the mix for the left guard spot, though he pretty much exclusively lined up at backup center during spring practices. Wisniewski is more likely to make the team than he is to get cut. The Eagles not only need depth at guard but center as well. It's no secret that starting center Jason Kelce really struggled last year. He should bounce back now that he's healthy, but if he doesn't, having Wiz around is good insurance. Like Barbre, though, Wiz can be cut for a decent amount of cap savings. Cutting him would save $2.26 million compared to $500K in dead money. The Eagles obviously won't cut both Barbre and Wiz, but it's not impossible one could be gone.
Parkey is the fan favorite in Philadelphia's kicker battle. Most seem to think he's better than Caleb Sturgis.
Parkey just might be better. He sure was impressive as a rookie in 2014. But it's not like Parkey didn't have some rookie struggles, either. Parkey, who is coming off a nasty groin injury, struggled during spring practices this year. Sturgis was clearly the better kicker of the two. There's still plenty of time for Parkey to win his job back, but Sturgis has a legitimate shot to beat him out.
The Eagles weren't very aggressive about retaining Carroll this offseason. They let him test the free agent market and even visit with the Cowboys before bringing him back to Philadelphia. Carroll was a solid starter for the Eagles last season, but there's no guarantee he'll have a starting job this year. The Eagles have a lot of bodies at cornerback: 10 in total, and that's not counting safety Malcolm Jenkins, who could spend time in the slot. I'd currently project Carroll to make the team. At least, he's a nice backup to have. It wouldn't be hard for the Eagles to move on from him if they wanted to, though. Cutting him could save just over $2 million in cap space with no dead money to worry about. A Carroll trade could make more sense if some team is desperate and the Eagles are comfortable sticking with their youth at the position.
Shepherd is only entering his second season so I guess I'm using the term "veteran" liberally here. A Shepherd cut shouldn't be totally shocking because he was only a sixth round pick last year and it's not like he accomplished much before suffering a season-ending injury early in training camp. Shepherd earned some hype for looking good in practice last offseason. Now he enters a crowded cornerback room with a lot to prove. He needs to stay healthy and impress this summer in order to make the team. He's far from a lock.
I've been a believer in Huff in the past, but my hope for the 24-year-old pass catcher has dwindled after two seasons of disappointing play. Sure, he's flashed big play ability every so often, but there's not enough consistency to see him as a reliable target. Huff struggled with drops during OTAs and minicamp. There are two reasons why Huff's roster spot is likely safe despite his struggles. First, he's one of the team's only options at kickoff returner. Two, the Eagles lack receiver talent so much that giving Huff one last shot might be worth it.