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8 Eagles free agents to be who are fighting for a roster spot

You have to make the team first

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

One of the talking points last week was the Eagles free agents to be. Currently the Eagles have 18 players on the final years of their contracts (not counting Ryan Mathews), but that’s currently. When the season kicks off, not all of those players will be on the roster. These guys aren’t just playing for a new contract, they’re playing for jobs, and in some cases, careers.

Allen Barbre

The Eagles weren’t strongly attached to Barbre in the spring, so there’s no reason to think that they’ll be any more willing to keep him in the summer. His versatility should help him, especially if there is an injury in camp. But at 33 when the season starts and plenty of options at interior line (though none who can kick out to tackle if need be), Barbre’s tenure is in a precarious position.

Najee Goode

Goode spent a week unemployed last year when he was one of the final cuts by the Eagles and not picked up by anyone. Nate Gerry makes his role as a special teamer and backup linebacker redundant.

Dwayne Gratz

The Eagles were Gratz’s third team of the 2016 season, and there would be no dead money against the cap if released. He’s the third most experienced cornerback on the roster, but the Eagles aren’t relying on experience at the position this year.

Taylor Hart

Hart has spent two of his three seasons in the NFL inactive for every game, and now he’s changing position to offensive tackle. He’s not playing for a contract extension, he’s playing for his career.

Marcus Smith

He might not even make it to the end of the month. Smith looked like he had at least locked up a training camp spot when the season ended, but since then the Eagles have added two players above him on the depth chart. Some team might take a flier on him if he’s cut before camp starts, but it’s hard to see him getting picked up if cut during camp. Which is probably why he wasn’t at OTA.

Chance Warmack

The NFL gives second chances to 1st round busts, but they usually don’t give third ones to non-QBs. Warmack can be cut with just a $500k dead cap hit, so he’s far from guaranteed a roster spot. With so many interior linemen, it might be now or never for the former 10th overall pick. In his corner, he’s back under the tutelage of Jeff Stoutland.

Terrence Brooks or Jaylen Watkins, maybe

The Eagles carried five safeties last year, but just four cornerbacks for most of the season. If they take five active corners to start the season, they may chose to carry only four safeties. If so, Brooks and Watkins will be vying for one spot in the preseason.

Four Downs

1 Of course the Eagles should call Jeremy Maclin

The shocking release of Maclin immediately brought visions of a reunion in Philly to the minds of Eagles fans. As well it should. The Eagles are paper thin at receiver to begin with, and another polished and productive veteran for Carson Wentz to throw to would do wonders for his development. The idea of going from the worst group of WRs in the league to a pretty damn good starting duo is tantalizing. But….

2 But if I were Maclin, I wouldn’t sign with the Eagles

Maclin is 29 and has won just one playoff game in his career. If I were him, I’d want to sign with a playoff team, and there are plenty with the cap space to pay him. Meanwhile the Eagles have the fourth least amount of cap space this year and second least next year (which is just another way of saying they have the second worst starting point for cap space in 2018). If Maclin wants to take the money, fine. If he wants to play for a contender for whatever the price, that’s fine too. The Eagles can’t offer the former and aren’t the latter.

3 mmm delicious

Presented without comment:

If Dak Prescott goes down, should the Cowboys call Tony Romo?

4 Another one bites the dust

Another week, another Na Brown candidate is out as Steven Daniels was cut earlier in the week. Daniels was a Redskins draft pick in 2016 who missed the whole season due to injury, so he offered a lot of unknown intrigue. And now he still does, as we’ll never know what could have been. Pour one out.

Mack Hollins is on track to lock up the pre-pre-season favorite. For Carson Wentz’s sake, I hope he doesn’t win.

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