Throughout the past couple of days, NFL teams have been struggling with the task of trimming down their rosters to the 53-player limit for the regular season. The Philadelphia Eagles’ front office has been busy over the past two days, and at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, the roster was finally trimmed down. Let’s break down, both the good and the bad as well as the mind boggling and the obvious, the Eagles roster cuts.
1. The Eagles are carrying five running backs on their roster going into the regular season.
This means that both rookie running backs Donnel Pumphrey and Corey Clement are going to make the roster. This is a shocking move because many fans thought that Pumphrey wouldn’t have made the roster. He played a disappointing preseason and could have used some time to develop on the practice squad. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was not very worried about Pumphrey’s rough preseason.
“Not only is it the preseason games, but it’s every day at practice,” said Howie Roseman, via the Philadelphiaeagles.com staff. “It’s every day through the offseason program. And we also know that it comes for people quick sometimes, and sometimes it takes a while for rookies.”
In Corey Clement’s case, he had a solid preseason where he totaled 105 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. Clement still wasn’t a lock to make the roster, however, but due to his physical running style and the production he provided in the preseason, the Eagles felt that they should keep him on the roster.
“We want to develop our players,” Roseman said, via the Philadelphiaeagles.com staff. “We trust our evaluations and our scouts, and we want to give guys time that we believe in. I think that both Pump and Corey are along those lines.”
2. The front office is having faith in both Chance Warmack and Stefen Wisniewski to hold down the offensive line depth.
The Eagles cut multiple reserve offensive lineman that some thought would be able to make the roster. Guys like Dallas Thomas, Tyler Orlosky and Josh Andrews (who had made the team last season) all didn’t make the team this year. That leaves just tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, guard Chance Warmack (read more about him later) and center/guard Stefen Wisniewski to back up the offensive lineman. The front office is showing confidence in these three players to maintain one of the most important position groups in football. However, hopefully these players never need to touch the field in a game.
3. In the battle of wide receivers, both Marcus Johnson and rookie Shelton Gibson won out.
Throughout the preseason, wide receivers Bryce Treggs, Marcus Johnson, Shelton Gibson, and Greg Ward Jr. were all trying to win a spot on the roster. Greg Ward Jr., who converted from quarterback to receiver, showed in practice that he has some potential at the receiver position. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him on the practice squad.
Marcus Johnson, who missed the first preseason game with an injury, was having a fantastic training camp, and he just continued it over into the preseason games. He came close to making the roster last season, and the hard work that he put in this offseason paid off when he made it to the roster this season.
Bryce Treggs made the decision difficult when he put together 12 catches for 141 yards in three preseason games. However, he lost the battle to rookie Shelton Gibson.
Shelton Gibson, a rookie who was drafted in the fifth round, disappointed in training camp. Things just seemed to be going too fast for him, and as often happens to a rookie, he was struggling to make the adjustment to the NFL speed and style. However, general manager Howie Roseman still has confidence that Gibson can reach his potential in the NFL.
“When we drafted these guys, we knew that they were rookies and they were a work in progress,” said general manager Howie Roseman, via the Philadelphiaeagles.com staff. “We knew that if Shelton went back to school and didn’t come out early, he’s probably drafted higher and that we were going to have to spend time to develop him and his skill set. And he does have a trait. He had more 50-yard receptions than anyone in college football last year. He can take the top off. Consistency for a rookie is, obviously, something that sometimes takes some time. But he works really hard. He has the traits we’re looking for to develop into a player.”
4. Rookie linebacker Nate Gerry doesn’t make the roster, and Joe Walker does.
Nate Gerry, who was drafted by the Eagles in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, converted over to linebacker from safety. The Eagles needed linebacker depth desperately, and Gerry has the size and skill set to play as a linebacker. However, he didn’t end up making the roster this season, but similar to wide receiver Greg Ward Jr., will probably be put on the practice squad.
Linebackers Joe Walker and Kamu Grugier-Hill both made the roster as reserve linebackers. Walker was putting together a good preseason last year before he tore his ACL and missed the entire season. Grugier-Hill is nothing special at the linebacker position, but he is a special teams standout and that is the main reason for him making the roster.
5. An assortment of news and small takeaways from the Eagles roster cuts
Cornerback Dexter McDougle, who the Eagles traded for last week, was signed to a one-year contract extension.
“He’s got a skill set to play the nickel corner position,” said general manager Howie Roseman, via Philadelphiaeagles.com writer Chris McPherson. “We saw that in his Jet tape, obviously. It’s a little bit of a leap of faith because he only played in that one preseason game, but we’re looking for guys who can have defined roles and we feel like he can do that. That’s why we made the trade.”
Offensive lineman Chance Warmack was also signed to a one-year contract extension. Warmack, a former first round pick, was signed earlier this offseason, and is reuniting with his college offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland.
When the Washington Redskins released running back Matt Jones yesterday afternoon, many fans clamored for the Eagles to sign him. However, general manager Howie Roseman voted to have confidence in rookies Donnel Pumphrey and Corey Clement, giving both of them roster spots, rather than spending more money to sign an average running back in Matt Jones.
Perhaps the fact that the Eagles decided to carry six receivers and five running backs resulted in less depth at other positions, specifically cornerback. Cornerbacks Aaron Grymes and CJ Smith both didn’t make the roster, which is shocking because of the weakness of the Eagles cornerback group and how they could use all of the depth that they can get there.