You could be forgiven if you’ve forgotten all about Eagles edge rusher Genard Avery.
Chances are, if you blinked, you missed the very few instances Avery made it onto the field after general manager Howie Roseman acquired him from the Cleveland Browns at last year’s trade deadline for a fourth round pick.
Avery was the Browns’ fifth round pick (No. 150 overall) in the 2018 Draft and, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, was on the Eagles’ radar as a developmental edge rusher before he was selected by Cleveland. Roseman obviously liked the former Memphis product and, as Eagles fans screamed for him to add another wide receiver, cornerback or safety, Roseman instead sent a valuable fourth-rounder to Cleveland for Avery.
Last season, he barely played on defense, getting on the field for just 3.2% of the team’s snaps after his arrival. Most of his time was spent on special teams.
For a second-year player who was new to Jim Schwartz’ defense, that was fine. The idea was to develop him over the next couple years in the hopes of turning him into a solid member of the edge rush rotation, and some believed that 2020 could be a breakout season for him.
However, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards now, after Roseman signed Vinny Curry to a one-year, $2 million contract with $1.3 million guaranteed. Curry will be the team’s No. 3 or No. 4 edge rusher, with Josh Sweat either right ahead or directly below him. It’s also likely defensive tackle Malik Jackson will get some time on the edge, which could push Avery all the way down to sixth on the depth chart.
That’s not exactly great value for a fourth-round draft pick.
The addition of Curry means less time on the field for the third-year player, a sign that perhaps the Eagles don’t believe he’s ready to be a major contributor to the defense. Certainly he provides some value on special teams, but are those contributions worth the fourth round pick Roseman gave up to grab him?
Avery is signed through the 2021 season, so even if they don’t get much from him on the defensive side of the ball this year, it’s possible he could contribute next year, when the team has had a full off-season of OTAs. But for this year, Avery looks to be the odd man out with Curry back in the fold. (Or the Eagles simply wasted a fourth-round pick on Shareef Miller instead.)
On this week’s episode of Eye on the Enemy, I talked about the effect of Curry’s signing on Avery, and spoke to Jim Sannes of FanDuel and numberFire.com about the offensive skill position players in the NFC East this season.