Funny enough, this development marks the second straight offseason where a former Eagles special teams captain ended up in South Beach. It was Kamu Grugier-Hill last year.
Kaye’s reporting indicates the Eagles never really had interest in retaining Riley. Not exactly a surprise considering he struggled last year and Philly brought in a new coaching staff.
The Eagles originally acquired Riley during the 2019 season. It was actually a pretty decent move by Howie Roseman to package Johnathan Cyprien and a 2020 seventh-round pick (No. 228) in exchange for Riley and the Atlanta Falcons’ sixth-round pick (No. 190). Cyprien wasn’t worth rostering and Riley was at least a decent special teams guy even if he didn’t belong as a regular contributor on defense. As for the draft pick angle, the Falcons landed punter Sterling Hofrichter while the Eagles traded down from No. 190 to pick up Marquise Goodwin and Prince Tega Wanogho at No. 210. Of course, Goodwin never actually played for the Eagles and his reversion back to the San Francisco 49ers earlier this week earned Philly the No. 237 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. PTW, meanwhile, signed a futures contract with the Kansas City Chiefs instead of the Eagles.
Putting that tangent aside, Riley’s departure leaves the Eagles with the following players under contract at linebacker: Alex Singleton, T.J. Edwards, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley, Rashad Smith, Joe Bachie, and Genard Avery (converting from defensive end). Singleton showed promise last year but that’s far from an ideal corps. The Eagles ideally need to find some upgrades.
(Compensatory pick note: It’s unclear if Riley’s deal will qualify towards the Eagles’ formula since his contract details have yet to emerge. He may have only signed for the minimum. UPDATE: Indeed, Riley signed for the minimum.)