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Eagles open a roster spot, lose a practice squad safety to the Jets

Transaction Tuesday.

NFL: AUG 03 Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles officially announced some roster news on Tuesday. An overview:

  • CB Mac McCain was waived from the 53-man roster.
  • S Elijah Riley was signed off the practice squad to New York Jets’ 53-man roster.
  • CB Craig James was re-signed to the practice squad.
  • WR John Hightower, OT Le’Raven Clark, and S Jared Mayden were designated as practice squad protections.

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


The Eagles originally signed McCain off the Denver Broncos’ practice squad back on September 7. He appeared in just one game, playing 13 special teams snaps in the Eagles’ blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

McCain became expendable as a developmental cornerback with the Eagles recently trading for Tay Gowan and Kary Vincent Jr. The team clearly prefers their long-term potential to McCain’s.

By opening up a roster spot, the Eagles now have room to more permanently bump up Jordan Howard from the practice squad. Howard is no longer to be temporarily elevated since he’s been moved up twice now. That the Eagles didn’t use a practice squad protection on Howard seems to suggest it’s a done deal and just a matter of being announced. Probably will happen on Wednesday morning.


Bummer that the Eagles lost Riley to Joe Douglas. Riley had a nice training camp and flashed ability on both defense and special teams. The Eagles clearly valued his potential considering they used a practice squad protection on him for all nine of the first nine weeks. The team also temporarily elevated him to the roster for one game. Riley’s departure hurts the Eagles’ safety depth in the short-term and long-term.


The Eagles cut James, a special teams co-captain for them in 2020, after signing Brett Toth to their practice squad last week. The Eagles wanted an extra CB body after waiving McCain.


The Eagles have regularly used protections on Hightower. Especially makes sense right now with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside banged up. The Eagles temporarily elevated Hightower in Week 9 to give them a fifth wide receiver on game day.


The Eagles want to ensure their offensive tackle depth by keeping Clark around.


With Riley gone, the Eagles wanted to make sure they didn’t lose another safety. Mayden is the fifth safety under team control behind Rodney McLeod, Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, and K’Von Wallace on the roster.


In other news, the Denver Broncos signed a former Eagles tackle to their practice squad. Right ahead of hosting Philly this week. Hmmmmm.

See below for a current look at the Eagles’ 2021 practice squad.

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

*Not counting COVID-19 elevations.

WR John Hightower (7) [1]

OT Le’Raven Clark (5)

RB Jordan Howard (4) [2]

G/T Kayode Awosika (3)

CB Craig James (3)

TE Noah Togiai (2)

DT Marvin Wilson (2)

TE Richard Rodgers (1) [2]

S Jared Mayden (1)

RB Jason Huntley

WR KeeSean Johnson

WR Deon Cain

T/G Brett Toth

DE Cameron Malveaux

DT Raequan Williams

LB JaCoby Stevens

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

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