Leading up to the NFL roster cuts deadline, many speculated that the Eagles might try to stash the likes of 2017 draft picks Donnel Pumphrey and/or Nate Gerry on the season-ending injured reserve list with a “phantom” injury. Neither player ended up making it there; Pumphrey was kept on the 53-man roster and Gerry is on the practice squad.
But the Eagles DID end up stashing two young players on the injured reserve list after all. Alex McCalister and Tre Sullivan are both officially now on the Eagles’ IR list after going unclaimed from when the Eagles’ waived/injured them, as confirmed by PhillyVoice.
Both McCalister and Sullivan suffered injuries in Philadelphia’s final preseason game against the New York Jets on Thursday. Neither player will be eligible to play or practice this season, but they will remain under team control. This means they’ll both likely be around to compete for a roster spot next offseason.
McCalister, a seventh round pick in 2016, showed some nice flashes of potential this summer. He wouldn’t have made the roster, though, because the Eagles are really deep at defensive end and Steven Means beat him out for the fifth DE spot. After spending his entire rookie season on IR, McCalister will have to do the same again this year. This gives the 23-year-old McCalister more time to add strength and develop his body. Maybe he can beat out Means next year.
As for Sullivan, the undrafted rookie really caught everyone’s attention when he laid out some nasty hits against the Packers. One of the collisions hospitalized Packers wide receiver Malachi Dupre, which was scary. Sullivan showed some nice coverage skills in addition to being a physical player. The Eagles are already very deep at safety in 2017 but Corey Graham, who turns 33 next summer, is a free agent after this year. Sullivan could push to become the Eagles’ third safety in the future.
McCalister and Sullivan are just two of five players on the Eagles’ IR list. The other three, per the team’s official website, include: undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Randall Goforth, 2016 UDFA signing Aziz Shittu, and wide receiver Dom Williams. Philadelphia can waive any of those players at any time off the IR list with an injury settlement. For now, it looks like they want to stash some of those young guys in the hopes that they can contribute beyond this season.