Eagles running back Darren Sproles took to Twitter on Wednesday to shoot down the notion that he’s holding out for a long-term contract (links here). “Totally false,” he claimed in one of the tweets. As of earlier this week, the soon-to-be 33-year-old was reportedly staying away from Eagles workouts amid trade rumors, but head coach Doug Pederson responded by calling Sproles “a big part of this team.” Sproles, who’s entering a contract year, will count $4.6MM against the Eagles’ cap this season.
More regarding Philly and a pair of other NFC clubs:
- Whether Pederson can actually develop quarterbacks remains an open question, opines Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sielski points to 2011, the year Pederson was the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach and when Michael Vick declined significantly from the prior campaign, as a reason for skepticism. Pederson also failed to tap into former first-round pick Vince Young‘s talent, adds Sielski, who writes that the beleaguered Chip Kelly did manage to get production from Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford during his oft-criticized run in Philadelphia. While Alex Smith played well during Pederson’s three-year reign as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator, his career was revived by Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman – not Pederson – as Sielski offers.
- Lions safety Glover Quin believes teammate Darius Slay is one of the 10 best cornerbacks in the NFL, but there’s one thing missing from his game. “Everybody is going to say it from now until the end of time — he’s a great, great, great cover guy. The only thing that he can do to take it to the next level is intercept the ball. I mean, that’s it,” Quin said Wednesday (via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com). Slay has just four interceptions during his three-year career – all of which came during the previous two campaigns – but Pro Football Focus graded him as the second-best corner in the league last season (111 qualifiers). Thanks to his reputation as a shutdown corner, Slay should land a sizable raise between now and the expiration of his contract after next season. A deal could be in the works, as Slay’s agent – Drew Rosenhaus – was at Lions practice Thursday.
- The Falcons are making a few changes to their defensive alignment, including shifting Vic Beasley to strongside linebacker. The eighth pick in last year’s draft, Beasley spent his rookie campaign as a LEO pass rusher, as Kevin Patra of NFL.com notes, and totaled four sacks while playing in all 16 of the team’s games. The ex-Clemson star had a difficult time against the run, writes Patra, which would explain the switch. Beasley will now fill the role that former Seahawk Bruce Irvin occupied when Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator in 2014. Patra, however, is skeptical of the decision because it’ll lead to fewer pass-rushing opportunities for Beasley.
- In addition to moving Beasley, the Falcons will give Ra’Shede Hageman a look at defensive end and try DE Tyson Jackson at D-tackle, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Hageman, a second-round pick in 2014, spent his first two seasons at tackle, amassing 43 tackles and two sacks in 32 games (11 starts). On playing end, the former Minnesota standout said, “It’s something I did in college. It’s a nice little move for me.” The Falcons believe the change will give the 310-pound Hageman a better opportunity to take advantage of his size and strength.