The Philadelphia Eagles officially made their roster cuts today. I have some thoughts about what they did. Let’s talk about it.
1 - The biggest surprise cut
The Eagles cut Steven Means. I am sad. :(
Means was a great practice player and I loved watching him wreck people in the preseason. He certainly played well enough to be a depth player on this roster.
So, why didn’t the Eagles keep him?
The answer is ... I don’t know.
My best guess is that they feel pretty good about 2018 fourth-round rookie Josh Sweat as the fifth defensive end. They must also feel good about Brandon Graham’s health status going into Week 1.
Another thought is that, since Means is a vested veteran, they didn’t want to guarantee his salary for the entire season. That would’ve happened if he was on the Week 1 roster. Since Means isn’t subject to waivers, it’s possible he could just sit out a week and then re-sign with Philly.
But he’s also free to sign with any team now. It’ll be a bummer to see him go elsewhere.
I’m a little surprised there wasn’t any kind of trade market for him giving that pass rushers are valuable.
2 - The biggest surprise keep
Many will be surprised to see that Joshua Perkins team. I’m actually not THAT surprised considering I kept four tight ends on my final 53-man roster. The only reason I had Anthony Denham over Perkins is because the latter has been dealing with a head injury that caused him to miss the final two preseason games.
The Eagles are keeping Perkins, who appeared in eight NFL games with the Falcons back in 2016, in part because Richard Rodgers suffered a knee injury that will cause him to miss significant time. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert would’ve been the only healthy tight ends on the 53 if they didn’t keep Perkins. And then how do you run multiple tight end sets if one of those guys gets banged up?
I’m fine with the Eagles keeping Perkins. He had some nice moments in camp. Nothing overly flashy, and I wouldn’t hesitate to replace him if a better option becomes available, but he seems fine enough as the third tight end.
3 - There’s a winner for the fourth running back battle
Wendell Smallwood beat out Josh Adams, Matt Jones, and Donnel Pumphrey for the fourth running back spot.
Even though he’s never been overly impressive, the 2016 fifth-round pick just continues to find a way to stay around.
Smallwood had his best game of the preseason in Week 3 against the Browns but even then there was nothing to really get excited about. He gets the yards that are blocked for him. He can contribute on special teams if needed. He’s fine, at best.
It’s possible Smallwood could be a placeholder while the Eagles look to upgrade at fourth running back. Until then, he’s the guy. And he’ll likely be inactive on game day if Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, and Corey Clement are all healthy ahead of him.
As for Adams, I imagine he’ll end up on the practice squad assuming he goes unclaimed. The Bucks County native showed some juice leading up to the final preseason game. I think a year of not playing might be good for Adams, who has been dealing with a nagging ankle issue all offseason.
4 - The Eagles kept DeAndre Carter!
I’m very glad to see the Eagles kept Carter over the likes of “proven” vets such as Wheaton and Aiken. Carter earned his spot on the team.
Despite only joining the Eagles a few days into training camp, Carter caught on quick and ended up being second on the team in receiving yards for the entire preseason. He logged the seventh most overall receiving yards in the league.
Keeping a sixth receiver made sense with Alshon Jeffery reportedly not expected to play the first two weeks. Not to mention Mack Hollins has been missing some time.
Another bonus to Carter making the squad is the Eagles have some depth directly behind Nelson Agholor in the slot.
5 - All of the Eagles’ 2018 draft picks made the team
Dallas Goedert, Avonte Maddox, Josh Sweat, Matt Pryor, and Jordan Mailata are all on the 53-man roster.
Goedert should be a factor in the Eagles’ passing game. He has the makings of a great red zone weapon for this team.
Maddox figures to back up Sidney Jones in the slot and see playing time on special teams.
As the fifth defensive end, Sweat probably won’t see a ton of playing time (barring injury).
Pryor is a deep reserve lineman.
It’ll never not be incredible that Mailata went from being a guy who never even played a football game to making the team. His potential is certainly enticing.
6 - Chance Warmack is still around
I really thought Warmack would be traded. Moving him just made so much sense since getting anything in return for him would have saved $1.65 million in cap space. Do the Eagles really need to be carrying a fourth guard, who doesn’t offer position versatility, at a $2.03 million cap number?
I can understand why Matt Pryor’s struggles may have made the Eagles want to keep Warmack around. That’s fair.
It’s also possible the Eagles can still move Warmack before the mid-season NFL trade deadline. Keeping him around could also potentially help next year’s compensatory pick formula if some team signs him to a deal in free agency.
Certainly not of the end of the world that Warmack was kept, but I’m not crazy about the decision.