The Eagles have announced a series of roster moves today, and the most surprising transaction is the release of wide receiver Rueben Randle, who was signed to a one-year deal over the offseason. Randle, who is still only 25 years old, was thought to be a clear starter for Philadelphia after averaging 56 receptions, 782 yards, and six touchdowns over the past three seasons with the Giants.
But after the Eagles acquired Dorial Green-Beckham, Randle’s roster spot became tenuous, especially given his lackluster performance during the preseason. Philadelphia handed Randle $500K in guarantees plus a $25K roster bonus, so the club will incur $525K in dead money. Because he’s a vested veteran, Randle will not have to clear waivers and will become a free agent immediately.
The Eagles also made the following transactions:
- John DePalma, LS
- Randall Evans, CB
- Andrew Gardner, OL
- Chris Givens, WR
- Mike Martin, DT
- Nick Perry, S
- Denzel Rice
Placed On Injured Reserve:
Eagles linebacker Joe Walker suffered a torn ACL in the team’s exhibition game against Pittsburgh on Thursday and will land on season-ending injured reserve, according to Les Bowen and Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).
Walker, a seventh-round rookie from Oregon, made a good impression on Eagles coaches prior to the injury and could’ve cracked the club’s roster. The Eagles are now dangerously thin at linebacker without Walker, as his unavailability leaves them with just five healthy players at the position, as Roster Resource shows. For at least the time being, Philadelphia has Nigel Bradham, Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks, Deontae Skinner and Najee Goode as options.
Given the Walker news, the Eagles now look primed to turn to the open market for help, which was already a legitimate possibility. As of earlier this month, the Eagles and 31-year-old free agent Stephen Tulloch were reportedly negotiating a deal, though two weeks have passed and nothing has materialized on that front. Tulloch, who played under new Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in both Tennessee and Detroit, has 147 NFL appearances and 111 starts to his name. In each of his six most recent full seasons, Tulloch has surpassed the 100-tackle mark.
The Eagles announced that they have agreed to terms with five members of their draft class. Running back Wendell Smallwood (fifth round; pick No. 153), defensive back Blake Countess (sixth-round, pick No. 196), defensive back Jalen Mills (seventh-round; pick No. 233), defensive end Alex McCalister (seventh-round; pick No. 240), and linebacker Joe Walker (seventh-round; pick No. 251) are now officially members of the Eagles after inking four-year pacts.
Smallwood, a West Virginia product, declared early for the draft after enjoying his best season to date. In 2015, Smallwood ran for 1,519 yards off of 238 carries with nine touchdowns. The 5’11”, 201-pound tailback also added 26 catches for 160 yards. In 2014, Smallwood was arrested after allegedly intimidating a witness in a murder case implicating his longtime friend, as Les Bowen of The Inquirer details. Since then, the tailback says that he has grown as a person and the Eagles ostensibly agree.
“I was just in a wrong situation,” Smallwood said. “I was young, hanging out with the wrong people. I was never around whatever happened. I wasn’t involved. There was no evidence, no witness against me. “I’ve just been learning from it and letting everybody know the truth. I’ve been completely honest with the guys here and the guys at every team I spoke to. They were well aware of it . . . I think they have confidence in me, that that’s not me, and that was a one-time thing, and it won’t happen again.”
With five rookies signed, the Eagles have only three players from this class left to take care of: quarterback Carson Wentz, guard Isaac Seumalo, and tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Earlier today, new Falcons safety Keanu Neal became the first-round pick to ink his a rookie deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.