Prior to the Philadelphia Eagles’ first OTA practice on Tuesday, Doug Pederson stated three veteran players were not in attendance: Fletcher Cox, Jason Peters, and Donnie Jones. Indeed, all three of those players were not seen at practice.
But there was a fourth veteran Eagles player who was curiously absent from Eagles practice: Marcus Smith. At the timing of this post, there’s been no official explanation for Smith’s absence, but the “early word” is that Smith is simply skipping Philadelphia’s voluntary workouts.
If that’s truly the case, that’s really weird. Smith is far from an established player on the roster. The 2014 first round pick needs to be doing everything he can to work hard and fight for a roster spot — whether that’s with the Eagles or another NFL team.
I have a hard time imagining Smith believes skipping voluntary practices is a great idea unless there’s some other kind of motivation behind it. And maybe that’s the case. Twitter user @igglesnut suggested Smith could be trying to get the Eagles to cut him so that he can land in a spot where he has a better chance of making the final roster.
According to Over The Cap, the Eagles can save $1,483,515 in cap space (compared to $998K in dead money) by cutting Smith before his roster bonus is due on the third day of training camp. Cutting him would be an easy decision from a financial perspective.
Smith’s chances of making Philadelphia’s final roster in 2017 decreased when the team signed veteran Chris Long in free agency and drafted Derek Barnett with the No. 14 overall pick. It’s also clear the Eagles don’t want Smith around in the long-term. The team unsurprisingly declined his fifth-year option earlier this month.
Smith has been a gigantic bust for the Eagles since being selected by Philadelphia with the No. 26 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He’s recorded 12 tackles and four sacks in 37 games played (zero starts).
Perhaps Pederson didn’t mention Smith because he simply forgot he was missing. Or maybe that kind of just shows how the team feels about Smith at this point: he’s just an afterthought who will be gone soon.