Cam Jurgens

Tyler Steen Front-Runner For Eagles’ RG Job

In his first NFL training camp, 2023 third-rounder Tyler Steen was supposed to compete with 2022 second-rounder Cam Jurgens for the Eagles’ starting right guard post. But Steen, a collegiate tackle, had a difficult time adapting to the interior, and Jurgens quickly beat him out.

Ultimately, Steen appeared in just 71 offensive snaps last year, almost all of which came during his one and only start, a Week 9 victory over the Cowboys. Aside from that contest, for which both Jurgens and Sua Opeta were injured, Philadelphia typically called upon Opeta when it needed a reserve guard.

However, the Eagles allowed Opeta to depart in free agency this offseason, and a recent ESPN report confirms that Jurgens will move to center to replace retired franchise icon Jason Kelce (which was the plan when Jurgens was first drafted). That means that the RG job is again there for the taking, and the same ESPN report indicates that Steen is the front-runner.

In his admittedly small sample size of work in 2023, Steen did not receive high marks from Pro Football Focus, which assigned him a poor overall grade of 53.2 and a laughably low 21.9 pass-blocking mark (PFF also charged him with six pressures allowed). On the other hand, he held up reasonably well in the run game, and in the view of Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com, Steen — whose struggles in blocking Dallas superstar Micah Parsons are perhaps forgivable — showed enough promise to earn the pole position in the right guard race.

His top competition for the job could come in the form of free agent acquisition Matt Hennessy, whom the Eagles added on a one-year deal in March. Hennessy missed the entirety of the 2023 campaign due to a knee injury, and he appeared in just 175 snaps in 2022, all of which came as a left guard for the Falcons. However, he did acquit himself well during his LG cameo, and he was a highly-effective run blocker when working as Atlanta’s starting pivot in 2021. If nothing else, he will provide useful depth at center and the guard positions.

Day 3 rookies Trevor Keegan and Dylan McMahon could also push Steen for playing time at right guard.

Eagles Activate G Cam Jurgens

Philadelphia’s offensive line will receive a signficant boost in advance of the team’s upcoming Super Bowl rematch. The Eagles announced on Saturday that right guard Cam Jurgens has been activated from injured reserve.

Jurgens had his 21-day practice window opened more than two weeks ago, but he could have missed Week 11’s Monday night contest against the Chiefs without yet being at risk of reverting to season-ending IR. Instead, he will be available in time for the highly-anticipated game and in turn end a lengthy absence. Bringing Jurgens back will use up one of the Eagles’ seven remaining IR activations.

The 24-year-old has been out since the beginning of October due to a foot injury, an ailment which interrupted his first season as a starter. Jurgens was in place at the RG spot from the start of the season, and he had a four-game run as a first-teamer before the injury. The 2022 second-rounder was not charged with a sack allowed in pass protection by PFF over that span, helping him earn an overall grade of 65.2. That figure ranks 26th out of 80 qualifying guards, and sits much higher than that of his replacement, Sua Opeta.

It also represents an improvement from the mark he posted as a rookie in limited action. Jurgens logged only 35 snaps as a rookie playing behind Isaac Seumalo. With the latter having departed in free agency, a starting spot opened up for Jurgens. The Nebraska product has taken it while developing as the Eagles’ projected Jason Kelce successor at center.

As expected, Philadelphia’s O-line has remained a strength this season, helping lead the team to an 8-1 record. The Eagles have posted top-1o rankings in a number of offensive categories, including strong performances both on the ground and in the air. Jurgens’ return will help in both regards as the NFC leaders look to maintain their place atop the conference and prepare for another postseason run.

Eagles Designate G Cam Jurgens For Return, Promote WR Julio Jones

The Eagles could have their offensive line intact when they face the Cowboys this week. While that is not yet certain, Cam Jurgens received a return designation Wednesday morning.

Winning the right guard job following Isaac Seumalo‘s Steelers defection, Jurgens started started four games before a foot injury shut him down. The 2022 second-round pick will return to practice when first eligible, providing a good sign for his near-future availability. The Eagles have used just one of their injury activations this season.

Philadelphia has used Sua Opeta in Jurgens’ place. Opeta has been with the team since 2020, working as a backup. This has marked the former UDFA’s most extensive run of playing time. Third-round rookie Tyler Steen had competed with Jurgens for the starting RG gig, but the rookie spent the first four weeks of the season inactive. The Eagles dressed Steen following Jurgens’ injury and used him for a bit in Week 8 when Opeta went down. But the latter returned to action during the second half of Philly’s win over Washington.

Jurgens is viewed as the Eagles’ Jason Kelce heir apparent, but that future is on the back burner for the time being. When Philly opted not to give Seumalo a third contract, the team turned to Jurgens at guard. The Nebraska alum worked as a center during his college career. Kelce has contemplated retirement, but the 35-year-old mainstay is in his 13th season and still going strong. For now, Jurgens’ place will be at guard.

In addition to opening Jurgens’ practice window, the Eagles made Julio Jones‘ roster spot official. The future Hall of Famer had seen game action as a weekend elevation, with the 2020 CBA bumping teams’ gameday roster totals from 53 to 55. Jones, 34, took that route to Eagles action but is now a part of the team’s 53-man roster. In two games with the Eagles, Jones has two receptions for 11 yards and a touchdown.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/7/23

Here are the day’s minor transactions heading into Week 5:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Elevated: WR Xavier Malone

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Cam Jurgens Facing Extended Absence

The Eagles played without Cam Jurgens during the second half and overtime Sunday. They will need to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Jurgens is expected to miss time due to the foot injury he sustained against the Commanders.

Jurgens suffered a foot sprain, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, who adds this setback could sideline the second-year guard for “several weeks.” Jurgens is in his first season as a regular Eagles starter.

Sua Opeta, a fifth-year Eagles reserve, filled in for Jurgens at right guard. The Eagles are reasonably well equipped to handle such an absence. They chose Tyler Steen in this year’s third round, using a Day 2 pick on an interior O-lineman for a third straight year. Steen, who competed for the right guard job this summer, was inactive for Week 4. The Alabama product, who finished his college career as a tackle, has not made his Eagles debut yet.

Opeta is indeed the next man up, per Nick Sirianni, who praised his relief effort. Opeta has been with the Eagles since arriving as a 2019 UDFA. While Opeta did not see any action as a rookie, he has worked as a backup since. The Weber State alum started two games in 2020 and ’21. Sirianni labeled Jurgens week to week, 94WIP.com’s Eliot Short-Parks notes.

Drafted as a Jason Kelce heir apparent at center, Jurgens entered the guard mix after two offseason developments. Kelce opted to return for a 13th season, and the Eagles let longtime starter Isaac Seumalo defect to the Steelers in free agency. The team’s run of interior O-line selections on Day 2 — Steen, Jurgens, Landon Dickerson — has produced two starters, with Jurgens beating out Steen for the RG post a year after he spent his rookie slate as a swingman. Jurgens only played 35 offensive snaps last season but came into this year with a big opportunity.

The Nebraska product resides in the interesting position of being Philadelphia’s center of the future and right guard of the present. For the time being, however, he will work to return to his temp job.

NFC East Notes: Barnett, OL, Cowboys, Giants

Derek Barnett is coming off a season that ended one game in due to an ACL tear. The Eagles also used a first-round pick on edge rusher Nolan Smith, crowding their depth chart. Barnett remains on the roster, but the team has since reached a pay-cut agreement with the former first-round pick. Barnett agreed to reduce his base salary from $7.5MM to $3.5MM, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, noting that the $3.5MM figure will be guaranteed. That marks a bump in guarantees from Barnett’s previous locked-in number for this season ($1.5MM), but the max value of the new deal is $6MM — down $2.5MM from its previous number.

Barnett signed a two-year, $14MM deal to stay with the Eagles in 2022. Even though the team has since re-signed Brandon Graham and drafted Smith to join a group housing Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat, Barnett’s contract should give him a decent chance to stay on the team. Due to the void years the Eagles included in his deal, a release would lead to a $12.7MM dead-money charge. Should the 27-year-old defensive end indeed make the 53-man roster, this will be his seventh season in Philly.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • In a bit of news that might prove relevant re: Joe Burrow, the Cowboys are going to be without one of their starting safeties for a stretch. Donovan Wilson suffered a calf strain that ESPN.com’s Todd Archer notes could sideline him for 4-6 weeks (Twitter link). Wilson, who re-signed with Dallas this offseason, still has a chance to return in time for the opener. After years with questions at safety, the Cowboys — when at full strength — have a nice setup with Wilson, Malik Hooker and Jayron Kearse.
  • The Cowboys did not use void years in Trevon Diggsfive-year, $97MM extension, and the cornerback’s cap number will vault from $5.8MM to $16.3MM from 2023 to 2024. Additionally, Archer notes Diggs’ 2025 base salary ($9MM) will become guaranteed in March of that year (Twitter link). Should this deal not pan out, that March trigger gives the Cowboys an escape hatch of sorts. They can cut bait for $12.8MM in dead money in 2025.
  • While the Eagles will provide Cam Jurgens with some competition — from third-round rookie Tyler Steen — Zach Berman of The Athletic notes the 2022 second-rounder is the frontrunner to replace Isaac Seumalo at right guard (subscription required). Jurgens is viewed as the Jason Kelce heir apparent, a title that briefly belonged to now-LG starter Landon Dickerson, but his 2023 place is at guard. Steen is attempting to convert from a college tackle, having started outside at Vanderbilt and Alabama. Jurgens played just 35 offensive snaps as a rookie, working behind the Dickerson-Seumalo-Kelce trio.
  • On the subject of positional frontrunners, it looks like the Giants‘ inside linebacker spot alongside Bobby Okereke is Darrian Beavers‘ to lose. Now that Jarrad Davis is on IR, the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy offers that Beavers is favored to win the job over fellow 2022 draftee Micah McFadden. Beavers was informed Tuesday he would have the first crack at the job, Dunleavy adds. Because Beavers suffered a torn ACL during the preseason last year, McFadden — a fifth-round pick — started seven games. A sixth-rounder, Beavers will have a chance to turn his offseason rehab into a starting role.
  • The Giants also recently worked out linebackers Nick Vigil and Sam Eguavoen, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Big Blue, which worked out Deion Jones this spring, also recently placed linebacker Elerson Smith on IR. Vigil is a seven-year veteran with 53 starts — for the Bengals, Chargers, Vikings and Cardinals — on his resume. Eguavoen spent the past four seasons with the Dolphins.
  • Offseason Giants signee Rakeem Nunez-Roches suffered a concussion in a car accident this week, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. The accident occurred when the veteran defensive lineman was leaving the team facility. No other injuries emerged from the crash. Nunez-Roches accompanied A’Shawn Robinson as veteran D-linemen to join the Giants in free agency.

Latest On Eagles’ RG Competition; Team To Add OT?

Like many players who lined up at offensive tackle in college, Eagles third-round rookie Tyler Steen is, according to Bo Wulf of The Athletic (subscription required), set to play guard at the NFL level, at least in his first professional season. Which certainly makes sense, as Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson are locked into the starting tackle jobs.

However, the decision to deploy Steen on the interior is notable for two reasons. One, it sets up an intriguing position battle at right guard between the rookie and 2022 second-rounder Cam Jurgens. Jurgens, a natural center, was drafted as the eventual replacement for five-time First Team All-Pro pivot Jason Kelce, but Kelce elected to put off retirement for another year and agreed to a new contract with Philadelphia in March. As such, there is only one starting spot available on the club’s O-line, and that is the RG post that was vacated when Isaac Seumalo defected to the Steelers in free agency this offseason.

Although Jurgens appeared in only 34 snaps as a rookie (28 of which came at center), he has the benefit of having spent a year learning the Eagles’ offense and the blocking schemes of OL coach Jeff Stoutland. He also lined up with the first-stringers during OTAs, and while that is obviously not as important as who gets the first-team reps in training camp, one would think that Jurgens has a leg up on Steen at the moment, even if the coaching staff has not tipped its hand one way or another.

The loser of the competition will nonetheless become a key reserve, as the guard depth presently consists of the likes of Sua Opeta, Tyrese Robinson, and Julian Good-Jones. The tackle depth behind Mailata and Johnson is similarly uninspiring, and since Steen is focusing his efforts on guard as opposed to tackle, Wulf expects GM Howie Roseman to add an OT before Week 1.

Of course, the market for quality tackles is largely bare at this point in the offseason, though George Fant remains available and would, in Wulf’s estimation, represent an ideal fit. Fant has extensive experience at both OT spots and could be waiting for a clearer path to a starting job to open up in camp. If such an opportunity does not become available, the Eagles have enough cap space (roughly $14MM as of the time of this writing) to entice him. Wulf names the Cardinals’ Kelvin Beachum as a potential trade target, as the rebuilding Arizona outfit used its top pick in this year’s draft on an elite offensive lineman (Paris Johnson Jr.) and could therefore see the 34-year-old Beachum as surplus to requirements, especially with longtime LT D.J. Humphries healthy again.

Wulf also sees wide receiver, inside linebacker, and pass rush as areas in which the Eagles could seek an upgrade, though he does not envision Roseman making a big splash at any of those spots, unless he can pounce on a pass rusher like Yannick Ngakoue that has lingered on the open market.

Eagles Sign Round 2 C Cam Jurgens, Finalize Draft Class Deals

The Eagles have finished their draft class signings for 2022. They signed second-round center Cam Jurgens on Friday, locking down the final member of their five-man class.

This marked the second straight year the Eagles used a second-round pick on an interior offensive lineman. They drafted Alabama’s Landon Dickerson in 2021, and while Dickerson finished his Crimson Tide career as a center, he moved alongside Jason Kelce to start his pro career. Jurgens looks more like Kelce’s heir apparent. Philly obtained Jurgens with the No. 51 overall pick.

Jurgens started at center nearly throughout his Nebraska career, moving into the Cornhuskers’ lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2019. The Beatrice, Neb., native was the first true or redshirt freshman center to start a Huskers season opener. While Jurgens maxed out at third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2021, he became the second center from this class selected — behind 2021 first-team All-Big Ten snapper Tyler Linderbaumthis year.

Kelce, 34, put off retirement for another year, alerting the Eagles he would be back just before free agency began. The All-Pro blocker is signed through 2023. Jurgens’ rookie contract will run through 2025. Kelce has been a first-team All-Pro center in four of the past five seasons, putting himself on the Hall of Fame radar. This certainly gives Philly a qualified mentor for Jurgens, who did not see notable time at guard in college.

Here is the Eagles’ full draft class:

Round 1: No. 13 (from Browns through Texans) Jordan Davis, DT (Georgia) (signed)
Round 2: No. 51 Cam Jurgens, C (Nebraska) (signed)
Round 3: No. 83 Nakobe Dean, LB (Georgia) (signed)
Round 6: No. 181 (from Lions): Kyron Johnson, LB (Kansas) (signed)
Round 6: No. 198 (from Steelers through Jaguars): TE Grant Calcaterra, TE (SMU) (signed)