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Eagles swap out two practice squad players

One return and one new addition.

NFL: OCT 22 Giants at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles shuffled their practice squad on Monday evening by releasing wide receiver Marcus Green and linebacker Dante Olson to sign wide receiver/tight end hybrid Hakeem Butler and linebacker Rashad Smith.

This swap will likely fix the Eagles’ 2020 season.

On a more serious note, it’s probably worth paying attention to the Eagles’ practice squad moves since they’ve unexpectedly found some contributors from there. See: Travis Fulgham, Boston Scott, Greg Ward, etc.

MARCUS GREEN

The Eagles originally signed Green, a 2019 sixth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons, to their practice squad in September 2019. Here’s a recap of his transaction history since then via Pro Football Reference:

Green actually made some nice plays in training camp this year but he got caught up in a numbers crunch. The Eagles clearly prefer Butler’s size to Green’s shiftier, smaller profile.

DANTE OLSON

The Eagles signed Olson as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent time with the team in training camp before they waived him and ultimately brought him back on the practice squad in early October. Now he’s a goner again.

HAKEEM BUTLER

Butler was something of an intriguing signing when the Eagles poached the 2019 fourth-round pick from the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad and announced they were changing his position from wide receiver to tight end. Butler played 29 special teams snaps and one offensive snap — a perplexing play in which he was targeted for a fade catch on 4th-and-goal against the New York Giants in Week 7 — before the Eagles waived him ahead of Week 8’s game. They clearly didn’t want to give him on his potential despite not being able to roster him anymore.

RASHAD SMITH

We wrote about how the Eagles hosted Smith on a free agent visit last week:

Smith originally signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft. The Bears brought him back to their practice squad after waiving him in final cuts.

The Dallas Cowboys poached Smith off the Bears’ practice squad in mid-September. He didn’t log a snap with Dallas before they waived him earlier this week.

The Eagles could be looking to add Smith to their practice squad. They might also want to pick his brain about what makes the Cowboys’ defense so good!

More on Smith via an interview conducted by Windy City Gridiron: “I think Smith could be an instant impact player on special teams. He has great speed for his size and is a sure tackler. On standard down and distance formations I would use him as a coverage linebacker, primarily in zone. While he made a ton of tackles, Smith was much better at defending the pass and running with running backs and tight ends. He’s really good at deceiving quarterbacks and reading their eyes to make plays on the ball. Finding a way to coax this out of him should be the goal.”

Turns out that picking Smith’s brain didn’t really help Philly’s offense all that much against Dallas. But the team clearly prefers Smith to Olson.

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Note that the Eagles won’t be able to announce any practice squad protections this week since they have a bye.


See below for a current look at the Eagles’ 2020 practice squad.

Format: Position, player, (times protected this season), [times elevated this season]

QB Josh McCown (0) [0]

RB Adrian Killins (1) [1]

RB Elijah Holyfield (0) [0]

WR Deontay Burnett (4) [2]

TE Hakeem Butler (0) [0]

TE Caleb Wilson (0) [0]

OT Prince Tega Wanogho (1) [0]

OG Jamon Brown (1) [1]

DE Joe Ostman (2) [0]

DE Shareef Miller (0) [0]

DT T.Y. McGill (5) [2]

DT Raequan Williams (1) [1]

LB Rashad Smith (0) [0]

CB Michael Jacquet (0) [1]

S Grayland Arnold (3) [2]

S Elijah Riley (2) [2]

{DE Matt Leo — international spot - doesn’t count towards limit}