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Eagles announce five roster moves ahead of Week 17 Giants game

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Lots of moving parts.

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Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles officially announced the following FIVE roster moves on Christmas Eve afternoon:

  • Ronald Darby to injured reserve
  • Jay Ajayi waived
  • Richard Rodgers re-signed
  • Deontay Burnett promoted from the practice squad
  • River Cracraft (yes, that’s his real name) signed to the practice squad

Let’s sort through this on a player-by-player basis.

RONALD DARBY

Darby originally suffered a hip flexor injury during the Eagles’ Friday practice leading up to their Week 15 game against Washington. He re-aggravated that injury during the Eagles’ Week 16 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Darby’s season is over now that he’s on IR. His Eagles career might be over as well considering he’ll be a free agent after this year. Darby has only been healthy for 31 of 53 possible games since the Eagles originally traded for him back in 2017.

Doug Pederson said Rasul Douglas will start at cornerback with Darby out. It remains to be seen if Sidney Jones will get any playing time; he could be in line for more snaps. Especially if Douglas struggles.

Darby is the 11th player to join the Eagles’ IR list.

RESERVE/INJURED

RB Corey Clement
CB Ronald Darby
S Rudy Ford
WR DeSean Jackson
DT Malik Jackson
WR Alshon Jeffery
LB Kamu Grugier-Hill
OT Jordan Mailata
DE Joe Ostman
DT Hassan Ridgeway
RB Darren Sproles

JAY AJAYI

The Ajayi waiving was first reported on Monday evening. He was active for the Eagles’ past two games but didn’t play a single snap. The Eagles no longer need Ajayi now that Jordan Howard is reportedly healthy and ready to return. Howard hasn’t played since he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 9.

RICHARD RODGERS

Dick Rod is back!

Rodgers had the inside track to being the third tight end on the Eagles’ 53-man roster this year prior to suffering multiple training camp injuries. The Eagles originally placed Rodgers on IR but then waived him with an injury settlement. We previously speculated he could return at some point.

The Eagles re-signing Rodgers seemingly doesn’t bode well for Zach Ertz’s playing chances this week. The Eagles already have two other tight ends on the roster in Dallas Goedert and Joshua Perkins — whom the team views as a hybrid wide receiver — but they felt the need to add another one.

Rodgers isn’t anything to be excited about but he’s a perfectly cromulent backup tight end. He has experience in the offense and he can contribute on special teams. It’s a little curious the Eagles wouldn’t just promote practice squad tight end Alex Ellis to the roster considering he showed more promise than Rodgers did in the summer.

DEONTAY BURNETT

Promoting Burnett gives the Eagles four healthy wide receivers on the 53-man roster: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, Robert Davis, and Burnett. Good to see they’re not just rolling with three anymore.

The Eagles only signed Burnett to their practice squad 12 days ago. It’s interesting the team promoted him instead of Marken Michel, who has more familiarity with Philly’s offense. Burnett does offer more NFL experience. Here’s what we previously wrote about him:

Burnett signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2018 NFL Draft. The Titans waived him in final cuts and he ended up with the New York Jets, where he actually logged 10 receptions for 143 yards. Burnett most recently spent time on the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad before being released earlier this week. Now the 6-0, 186 pound pass catcher is in Philly.

And here’s a video of him making multiple catches that look, like, way better than what any Eagles receiver has done this year:

For what it’s worth, practice squad quarterback Kyle Lauletta had this to say about Burnett after his first practice with the team (via The Athletic’s Bo Wulf):

He was really good today. Like, unbelievable. Was making lots of plays, so.

RIVER CRACRAFT

The Eagles filled Burnett’s vacancy on the practice squad by signing a wide receiver named River Cracraft. Great name.

Cracraft, 25, measures in at 6-0, 195 pounds. He played college football at Washington State before going undrafted in 2017.

Cracraft ultimately appeared in nine games with the Denver Broncos over the past two seasons before being waived earlier this year in September. He logged one reception for 44 yard (efficient!) in addition to handling kickoff returns (three for 43 yards) and punt returns (12 for 40 yards).

Current Eagles practice squad

WR River Cracraft

LB Deshaun Davis

TE Alex Ellis

DT Albert Huggins

WR Marken Michel

CB Tremon Smith

C Keegan Render

RB De’Angelo Henderson

QB Kyle Lauletta

WR Marcus Green