Aaron Robinson

NFC East Rumors: Eagles’ QB3, Seumalo, Giants, Slayton

For much of the pre-draft process, Nevada quarterback Carson Strong‘s name was often mentioned among the top players at the position. At the end of the draft, though, Strong’s name was still on the board and he found himself fielding calls as an undrafted free agent, deciding to sign with Philadelphia for a guaranteed amount of $320,000, the highest amount to any undrafted free agent in 2022.

While many thought the impressive signing bonus essentially guaranteed that Strong would slot in on the depth chart just behind top-two quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew, the competition for the No. 3 quarterback seems to gotten away from Strong. An underwhelming offseason has led Strong to fall to fourth on the depth chart behind a late-season waiver claim from last year, according to Bo Wulf of The Athletic.

Reid Sinnett was claimed off waivers in late-October by the Eagles last season. He’s spent time on the practice squads for both the Buccaneers and Dolphins and has had an impressive offseason with the Eagles. Wulf even posits that, if Sinnett can have a strong enough preseason, Philadelphia may want to reconsider hearing some trade offers for Minshew, who has struggled throughout camp in the final year of his rookie contract.

Here are a few more rumors from around the NFC West, starting with another rumor from the City of Brotherly Love:

  • For much of the offseason, the back-loaded nature of Isaac Seumalo‘s contract led those in league circles to consider him a prime candidate to be cut for cap space. It was expected that Philadelphia would have Jack Driscoll and Cam Jurgens compete with Seumalo for the starting right guard job, allowing one of them to take the reins and make it easier to part ways with Seumalo. But, according to Wulf, there is no competition for the position. Despite the troubles many expected from his contract, Seumalo has the starting spot locked down while Driscoll and Jurgens haven’t taken a single rep at right guard this preseason.
  • Giants No. 2 cornerback Aaron Robinson got picked on quite a bit during the team’s preseason win over the Patriots this week. The second-year cornerback opposite Adoree’ Jackson is likely to be challenged pretty consistently throughout the season, and Robinson’s struggles seemed to emphasize the glaring lack of depth at cornerback in New York. This could lead the Giants to be on the lookout for an outside cornerback to add to the room, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. This outside help could come in the form of a current free agent or a veteran cornerback that finds himself on the market as roster cuts continue throughout the league.
  • After running with the second- and third-team for most of the offseason, wide receiver Darius Slayton ran with the Giants’ starters in the team’s preseason game this week and was featured exclusively. After leading the team in receiving in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Slayton emerged as a trade candidate at the beginning of the offseason and, more recently, found himself in danger of getting waived. Despite being feature prominently on Thursday, it still seems that Slayton is not long for New York. In fact, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post believes that playing Slayton as a starter this week was intended to display him to the trade market in an effort to pump up his value as a trade asset. Look for more Slayton targets throughout the remainder of the preseason if this proves true.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Eagles, Lamb

The Giants‘ long-rumored James Bradberry separation leaves them thin at the cornerback position. Although Big Blue should not be ruled out of a veteran addition here, the team is turning to one of its holdovers to fill Bradberry’s spot. Aaron Robinson, a 2021 third-round pick, is the early favorite to start on the outside opposite Adoree’ Jackson, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. A 2021 third-round pick out of Central Florida (by way of Alabama), Robinson played in just nine games last season and made two starts. Despite beginning the season on the PUP list due to an offseason core surgery, Robinson played 243 defensive snaps as a rookie. The Giants also have 2021 slot corner Darnay Holmes as a possible outside option in Don Martindale‘s defense, per Vacchiano, with third-round rookie Cor’Dale Flott competing with Holmes for the slot gig.

If the Giants are to pursue vets, many are available. Kevin King, Xavier Rhodes, Joe Haden and Trae Waynes remain free agents, as does ex-Martindale Ravens charge Jimmy Smith, though he has battled injuries and is going into what would be his age-34 season. Here is the latest from around the NFC East:

  • New York did make a replacement effort at tight end, after losing Evan Engram to Jacksonville. Ex-Texan Jordan Akins is a Giant, and Ricky Seals-Jones remains rostered. But fourth-round rookie Daniel Bellinger resides as a candidate to usurp both on the depth chart, Vacchiano adds. Bellinger, who played collegiately at Georgia, has taken first-team reps during OTAs. The 6-foot-6 pass catcher was a three-year Bulldogs contributor, though he only topped 350 receiving yards once (357 in 2021, a two-touchdown season).
  • Ex-Bellinger Bulldogs teammate Nakobe Dean entered the draft with more fanfare, though he nearly joined Bellinger as a Day 3 pick. The Eagles stopped the acclaimed linebacker’s freefall at No. 83 overall, doing so in part because they were high on his football IQ during the pre-draft process. In working at both the middle and weakside spots, Dean has a chance to carve out a significant role as a rookie, per NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank. This could mean Dean ascends to a three-down role as a rookie. The Eagles signed ex-Charger Kyzir White but nontendered 2021 regular Alex Singleton as an RFA. T.J. Edwards, however, has been a starter for the past two seasons. It will be interesting to see where Dean is once the Eagles convene for training camp.
  • Isaac Seumalo is involved in a rather high-stakes offseason. The injury-prone guard looms as a cut candidate, but he remains an option to be a Week 1 starter. This is by design, with Frank adding the veteran blocker will either be the Eagles’ right guard starter or be released. This appears a test to see if Seumalo (21 missed games since 2020) can still show the form that prompted the Eagles to give him a three-year, $17.6MM extension in 2019. Now that we are into June, a Seumalo release would create more than $5MM in cap space.
  • CeeDee Lamb has both bulked up and, strangely, grown a half-inch this offseason. The 23-year-old Cowboys wide receiver has gained 10 pounds and said he grew to 6-foot-2 1/2, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News notes. With Jerry Jones calling Lamb a superior No. 1 option to the since-traded Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup unlikely to be ready for Week 1, Lamb will have plenty on his shoulders to start the season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/25-12/26/21

Here are the NFL moves from Christmas and today:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

Giants Move Down To 53-Man Limit

The deadline for teams to trim their rosters to the 53-man regular-season limit just passed. Here is how the Giants slashed their roster:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on reserve/PUP list:

Placed on IR:

The bevy of O-line cuts come after the Giants made two trades to bolster their front, with Wiggins, Slade and Harrison failing to dissuade the team from making those trades. New York acquired center Billy Price and guard Ben Bredeson. Wiggins is a nine-year vet who previously was a full-time starter with the Chargers and Lions. A former Colts and Jets starter, Harrison has played six seasons. He signed with the Giants in January. Veterans of all experience levels can catch on with teams’ practice squads; six players of unlimited experience are eligible per P-squad.

Larsen’s season is over, with the Giants anyway. IR-return moves only apply if a team carried a player through to its 53-man roster. While Kreiter appears on Big Blue’s cut list, the team is expected to re-sign the veteran snapper. A third-round rookie, Robinson underwent core muscle surgery recently. He is out for at least the season’s first six weeks.