Andre Dillard

Teams Calling Eagles On LT Andre Dillard

Injuries have altered Andre Dillard‘s career path, and the third-year tackle is currently on the mend after suffering a knee sprain during training camp. The Eagles also appear prepared to hand former seventh-round pick Jordan Mailata their left tackle job.

Dillard’s murky status in Philadelphia has prompted teams to contact the Eagles regarding his potential trade availability, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. The 2019 first-round pick has not been able to stay on the field, and McLane adds Mailata was winning the left tackle competition before Dillard went down.

The Panthers just unloaded Greg Little, a tackle who went 37th overall in 2019, and received just a seventh-round pick. That would represent sobering compensation for Dillard, but he went just 15 picks earlier this year and missed all of the 2020 season. Still, it would be surprising if the Eagles — whose GM from that draft, Howie Roseman, remains in place — gave up on Dillard for that type of return. Roseman is unlikely to do so for such a price, per McLane. Roseman traded up three spots for Dillard in the ’19 draft.

Nick Sirianni has not anointed Mailata as his left tackle starter just yet, but it appears that move is coming. Despite essentially redshirting for two years to learn the NFL game, the ex-rugby player became Jason Peters‘ primary replacement last season. Mailata started 10 games, and Pro Football Focus graded him as a middle-of-the-pack tackle. Dillard missed all of last season due to a biceps tear but did not stand out in his four starts during the 2019 season. The Washington State product also battled hand trouble early in camp. Dillard is not certain to be ready for the Eagles’ Week 1 game.

Tackle depth proves elusive for many teams, so the Eagles standing down and hanging onto Dillard would make sense. They did, however, sign former Colts swing man Le’Raven Clark in May. The Eagles also used a 2020 fourth-round pick on tackle Jack Driscoll and still have versatile veteran Matt Pryor on the roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Andre Dillard To Miss Time

Aiming to win the Eagles’ left tackle job after missing all of last season, Andre Dillard will be sidelined for another stretch. The third-year offensive lineman suffered a knee sprain recently and is now week-to-week, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

A 2019 first-round pick, Dillard is vying for Philadelphia’s left tackle gig against 2018 seventh-rounder Jordan Mailata. The latter will see increased reps going forward.

Dillard missed the 2020 season due to a biceps injury, and he did not operate as a primary starter as a rookie. While Dillard played in all 16 Eagles games in 2019, he started four in what was deemed a developmental year on team that still featured a Jason PetersLane Johnson tackle duo. With Peters gone, Dillard has a chance to solidify a starting job. But this development stands to benefit Mailata; the ex-rugby player could well move into the Eagles’ lineup opposite Johnson. Mailata served as Peters’ primary injury replacement last season, starting 10 games despite not playing at all from 2018-19.

It is not yet known if Dillard will miss regular-season time, but he probably will not see much action during the Eagles’ preseason slate. The Eagles do not have to decide on Dillard’s fifth-year option until May of next year, but the Washington State product has done little to justify such an investment. This season will be critical to establishing his long-term outlook in Philly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/3/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Atlanta Falcons

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: TE Khari Lee

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Eagles’ Andre Dillard Done For Year

The hits just keep on coming for the Eagles’ offensive line. Andre Dillard has been ruled out for the season with a biceps injury, as NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo tweets. Dillard, a 2019 first-round pick, was reportedly having an inconsistent camp, following his up-and-down rookie campaign. Still, it’s a bad break for an Eagles O-Line that has already been spread thin by injuries.

[RELATED: Eagles, Ertz Resume Negotiations]

As Dillard gets set for surgery, the Eagles will scramble for solutions. They managed to quickly replace guard Brandon Brooks by re-signing Jason Peters (and shifting him to the interior), but Dillard’s absence creates a whole new problem for the Birds. Peters, in theory, could return to his usual post, but the Eagles would then have to figure out their right guard situation all over again.

If they put Peters at left tackle, the Eagles could draw from their current group of guards which includes Matt Pryor and fourth-round pick Jack Driscoll. They could also take things down to the wire by waiting a few days to see what shakes loose after cutdowns. There will undoubtedly be a number of proven guards and tackles available when teams trim down their rosters, but any new addition will have to learn the scheme in a hurry.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Vander Esch, Eagles, Solder

Some positive Cowboys news emerged this week. Third-year linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has fully recovered from the offseason neck surgery he underwent. The former first-round pick told NFL.com’s Jane Slater he has been training full-go for multiple months (video link). Vander Esch was projected to be ready for OTAs, so it does not come as a major surprise he has moved past the injury that sidelined him for much of last season. However, Vander Esch’s cervical spinal stenosis condition — diagnosed while he was at Boise State — would make future neck surgeries problematic. So his transition back to the field will be a key part of Cowboys training camp.

Here is the latest from the NFC East, shifting to some of the division’s offensive lines:

  • Doug Pederson confirmed the Eagles have engaged in talks with 11-year left tackle starter Jason Peters, whom they let hit the market in March. However, the fifth-year Eagles coach expects 2019 first-rounder Andre Dillard to start at left tackle in 2020. “With Jason Peters, listen, we’ve always said we’d stay in touch with him during the offseason and we have,” Pederson said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank. “I have a lot of respect for a guy like Jason Peters who played that left tackle position for so many years at a high level. But as we move forward, Andre Dillard was a guy we drafted to be that left tackle for us. The way Andre played last year kind of propels him into this offseason where he’s taken command of that role.”
  • Shifting to the Giants‘ left tackle situation, Nate Solder‘s contract makes it likely he will keep that job for a third season. But this will almost certainly be Solder’s last as a Giant, Dan Duggan of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Thanks to a September 2019 restructure, Solder carries a monster $19.5MM cap hit this season. The Giants can save $14MM by shedding his contract in 2021, which is the final season of the ex-Patriot’s four-year agreement. Big Blue drafted Andrew Thomas No. 4 overall, and it would be logical for the Georgia product to move from right to left tackle next year. New York used a third-round pick on UConn tackle Matt Peart, potentially planning a Thomas-Peart starting lineup in 2021.
  • The Redskins brought back veteran cornerback Aaron Colvin, whom they initially signed during the 2019 season.

Eagles G Brandon Brooks Left Game With Anxiety

Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks left in the first quarter of the team’s 17-9 loss to the Seahawks and did not return. The team listed Brooks as out with an illness and sources tell Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer that anxiety was the culprit.

Brooks has talked openly about his struggles with mental illness throughout his career. This would not be the first time Brooks’ fight has caused him to miss time on the field. In 2016, Brooks missed a pair of games when he suffered panic attacks during the team’s pregame warmups. The severe anxiety seemed to cause Brooks more problems earlier in his career during his tenure with the Texans, but as most people with mental illness will tell you, cures are few and far between.

The Eagles were already dealing with the absence of right tackle Lane Johnson and were left with backups on the entire right side of their offensive line. Veteran backup Halapoulivaati Vaitai first stepped in for Brooks, but the Eagles decided to slide Vaitai over to right tackle due to the struggles of Andre Dillard. In Vaitai’s place, Matt Pryor received the first substantial action of his two-year career.

Brooks signed as a free agent with Philadelphia after the 2015 season to a 5-year, $62.5MM contract. Since joining Philly, Brooks has become one of the better interior lineman in football, reaching the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons. Going forward, the Eagles will hope to get one of the biggest pieces of their offense back.

Eagles Notes: Johnson, Ajayi, Mills

Let’s take a quick look at a few items from the City of Brotherly Love:

  • Eagles starting RT Lane Johnson is in the concussion protocol, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Johnson suffered a head injury during Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, and while he tried to play through it, the injury worsened and he was ultimately forced to exit (Twitter link via McLane).
  • The Eagles can ill afford to lose Johnson, arguably the best right tackle in football, as they fight for the NFC East title. But if they are without Johnson for any period of time, they could turn to rookie Andre Dillard rather than veteran Halapoulivaati Vaitai, as McLane tweets.
  • Jay Ajayi finally found an NFL home for 2019 when he signed with the Eagles on Friday. Interestingly, the deal includes a right of first refusal for 2020, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. So if it wants, Philadelphia can match any offer Ajayi receives on the open market, which could be significant if the team lets Jordan Howard walk in free agency.
  • Cornerback Jalen Mills is eligible for free agency this offseason, and while he is not perfect, he has been very good since returning from injury in Week 7, and McLane says Mills may be playing his way into a second contract with the Eagles (Twitter link).
  • Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com believes the Eagles need to completely overhaul their WR corps this offseason, and he offers a few names the club could target in free agency and the draft. He also says the Eagles could find a trade partner for Alshon Jeffery and/or DeSean Jackson, though obviously the returns on either player would be minimal.

Eagles Sign Entire 2019 Draft Class, 10 UDFAs

The Eagles have moved quickly to not only wrap up their entire 2019 draft class, but announce their crop of undrafted free agents.

Draft Class

Philadelphia moved up to pick No. 22 to acquire Dillard, sending pick Nos. 25, 127, and 197 to Baltimore in order to get ahead of the Texans, who had their own needs along the offensive line. Many analysts viewed Dillard as the best offensive tackle available in the draft, especially given the number of pass sets he took in Washington State’s pass-happy offense. With the Eagles, he’ll likely act as a swing tackle in 2019 before moving into the starting lineup in 2020 (if Jason Peters ever decides to hang up his cleats).

Sanders and Arcega-Whiteside give quarterback Carson Wentz a few more weapons to play with in 2019. The Eagles acquired running back Jordan Howard from the Bears, but Sanders should also be in the mix for carries. Meanwhile, Arcega-Whiteside will give Philadelphia a big body at the receiver position, and could potentially lead to the Eagles trading former first-round pass-catcher Nelson Agholor.

Undrafted Free Agents

Among Philadelphia’s UDFAs, Opeta may have the best chance to stick given his contract. The Weber State product received a $55K base salary guarantee and a $25K signing bonus from the Eagles, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.