New this season, NFL teams are now permitted to protect four of their 16 practice squad members from being poached by other clubs on a weekly basis.
The Philadelphia Eagles designated the following four players ahead of Week 1: wide receiver Deontay Burnett, offensive guard Sua Opeta, defensive end Joe Ostman, and cornerback Trevor Williams.
It makes sense that the Eagles protected Burnett because 1) the 22-year-old had a really good camp and 2) he’s likely to be called up later this week. The Eagles currently only have four healthy receivers on the 53-man roster so calling up Burnett would give them five.
The Miami Dolphins tried to sign Opeta away from the Eagles last year, which prompted Philly to promote him to their roster. Makes sense to protect him.
Ostman unquestionably deserved to make the roster over Genard Avery. Good to see the Eagles at least protecting him on the practice squad.
The Eagles are looking a little light when it comes to corner depth but keeping Williams around gives them a sixth body at that position. That Williams has significant starting experience in the NFL makes him valuable.
Note that practice squad protections do not run from Tuesday to Tuesday. There’s a window after games where teams can still sign players who were previously protected. But these protections still make it harder for the players to be poached.
See below for a current look at the Eagles’ 2020 practice squad. Note that Michael Warren is no longer listed on the team’s official site despite the fact they haven’t announced his release. If Warren is gone, the Eagles will have two open practice squad spots. They could look to fill those with some recently worked out players: defensive tackle T.Y. McGill and/or tight end Jordan Franks.
WR Deontay Burnett (protected)
OG Sua Opeta (protected)
DE Joe Ostman (protected)
CB Trevor Williams (protected)
QB Josh McCown
RB Elijah Holyfield
RB Adrian Killins
WR Travis Fulgham
TE Caleb Wilson
OT Prince Tega Wanogho
C Luke Juriga
DE Matt Leo (international spot - doesn’t count towards limit)
DT Raequan Williams
S Grayland Arnold
S Elijah Riley
Former Eagles players receiving practice squad protections on other teams include: Cody Parkey (Cleveland Browns), Sidney Jones (Jacksonville Jaguars), Wendell Smallwood (Pittsburgh Steelers), Jeremy Reaves (Washington Football Team).