Christian Elliss

NFC Notes: Gannon, Allen, Campbell, Saints

Jonathan Gannon‘s Eagles exit brought a tampering penalty against the Cardinals, who made impermissible contact with their new head coach during the offseason. New Arizona GM Monti Ossenfort reached out to Gannon shortly after the NFC championship game, after the two-year Eagles DC expressed a desire to stay in Philadelphia. Gannon did not tell the Eagles about Ossenfort’s pre-Super Bowl call or his intention to interview with the Cardinals, according to ESPN.com’s Tim McManus. This affected Philly’s timing regarding Vic Fangio, who was perhaps this offseason’s most coveted coordinator.

A consultant with the Eagles last season, Fangio was well-liked and became the team’s choice to succeed Gannon as DC. Fangio all but confirmed the timing involving Gannon led him out of town. Before Super Bowl LVII, the Eagles had expected to retain Gannon, McManus adds. When Ossenfort was in Tennessee, he put Gannon’s name on a short list of possible HCs — in the event he landed a GM job. A Jan. 29 report indicated Fangio would accept the Dolphins’ DC offer; he was officially hired Feb. 2. The Cardinals’ Gannon interview request did not emerge until Feb. 12. By that point, the Eagles were aiming to retain Gannon after Fangio had bolted. With the Eagles having demoted their new DC — Sean Desai — and given Matt Patricia play-calling duties, Gannon’s Philly return this week will be interesting.

Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • Listing Jonathan Allen as a player he expects to be traded during the 2024 offseason, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes the Commanders defensive tackle is not eager to go through another rebuild. Allen made his views on that matter fairly well known recently, after the team traded Montez Sweat and Chase Young. A losing streak commenced soon after, and Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew are expected to be fired. Teams asked about Allen at the deadline, and while the Commanders resisted, new owner Josh Harris‘ involvement in the Sweat and Young deals showed an openness to stockpiling draft capital. Allen’s four-year, $72MM extension runs through 2025. It would cost Washington $18MM in dead money to trade Allen before June 1, so it would stand to take a nice offer to pry the seventh-year veteran from D.C.
  • The Giants have phased Parris Campbell out of their receiver rotation, going as far as to make him a healthy scratch in each of the past three games. Campbell signed a one-year, $4.7MM deal in free agency, with The Athletic’s Dan Duggan noting he is losing out on $100K per-game roster bonuses with these scratches. As the Giants emphasize bigger roles for younger wideouts Wan’Dale Robinson and Jalin Hyatt, Campbell is preparing to leave in free agency come March. “When I came here, did I think things would be different? Of course,” Campbell said, via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. “… During free agency, the market was kind of slow for receivers, but the Giants gave me an opportunity — and that’s all I want. This coming offseason, whoever is interested in me and wants to give me an opportunity, I’ll take it.” After three injury-plagued seasons, Campbell has stayed mostly healthy over his past two. The ex-Colts second-rounder, however, has 20 receptions for just 104 yards this year.
  • It is unlikely Marshon Lattimore and Michael Thomas return this season, NewOrleans.football’s Nick Underhill tweets. Lattimore suffered a significant ankle injury and has missed the past five Saints games. Thomas stayed healthier this year than he has since the 2010s, but the former All-Pro wideout has also missed New Orleans’ past five contests. Thomas, who may well be in his final weeks as a Saint, is down with a knee injury.
  • Six teams put in waiver claims on linebacker Christian Elliss, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. The Patriots won out. Had Elliss not garnered any claims, the Eagles wanted to bring him back on their practice squad. A 2021 Eagles UDFA, Elliss had led the team in special teams snaps at the time of his exit earlier this month.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/7/23

Today’s minor moves:

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers

Elliss was waived by the Eagles yesterday following the team’s signing of Shaquille Leonard. The linebacker spent the better part of the past three seasons in Philadelphia, getting into 19 total games. He appeared in a career-high 12 games this season, collecting 21 tackles while appearing in about 15 percent of his team’s defensive snaps. Elliss also had a significant role on special teams.

Since the Patriots play tonight, the move will be deferred to tomorrow, per ESPN’s Field Yates.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/6/23

Today’s minor transactions from around the league:

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

The Cowboys made some adjustments to their injured reserve list today. Waletzko returned to practice today as he continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury. McKeon was placed on IR in order to make room for Hendershot after the latter’s activation. This will give McKeon a chance to deal with an ankle injury that’s bothered him this year and a chance to serve as a potential activation candidate for the playoffs.

Eagles LB Zach Cunningham Could Be Sidelined Multiple Weeks

Zach Cunningham could be sidelined multiple weeks while dealing with a hamstring strain. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles linebacker is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the 49ers, and Cunningham could be sidelined beyond that game.

[RELATED: Eagles Meet With Shaquille Leonard]

Cunningham’s two-year stint with the Titans came to an end in February when he was released by the team. He waited until early August to ink his next deal, as the linebacker joined the Eagles. The 29-year-old has been a productive member of Philly’s defense in 2023, collecting 71 tackles in 11 games (nine starts). Pro Football Focus graded him 41st among 79 qualifying linebackers, and the site gave him a top-25 positional grade in pass coverage.

Cunningham suffered his injury in the second half of the Eagles’ overtime win over the Bills last Sunday. The veteran ended up appearing in a season-low 58 percent of his team’s defensive snaps.

Christian Elliss ended up replacing Cunningham on Sunday, with the journeyman garnering his most defensive snaps since Week 1. With Nakobe Dean also recently going down with an injury, the Eagles are left with Nicholas Morrow as their only remaining full-time linebacker.

That probably explains why the Eagles hosted veteran Shaquille Leonard the other day. The linebacker underwent a physical and left Philadelphia without signing a contract, and he’s reportedly taking the next few days to weigh his options.

Eagles Eyeing Nicholas Morrow As LB Starter

While the Eagles carried notable veteran linebacker contracts on their books in the not-so-distant past, the team has shifted toward a low-cost blueprint at this position in recent years. The defending NFC champions continued down this road this offseason.

Philadelphia let both its Super Bowl LVII regulars at linebacker — T.J. Edwards and Kyzir Whitewalk in free agency rather than pay up to keep them. Beyond Tremaine Edmunds and Bobby Okereke‘s deals, paying up did not mean upper-crust salaries. The next tier of starter-caliber ILBs received between $5-$7MM in free agency. The friendly market did not prompt Philly to go off-script.

After a developmental year as a second-stringer, 2022 third-rounder Nakobe Dean is in line to start. As of now, a Division III success story is favored to join him as the Eagles’ other ILB regular. Nicholas Morrow, who signed a one-year deal worth just $1.16MM, sits as the frontrunner to start alongside Dean, Zach Berman of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

Morrow, who will turn 28 next week, did not come close to matching Dean’s prospect profile. He played at Greenville (Ill.) University and caught on with the Raiders as a UDFA in 2017. But the unlikely long-term NFLer has extensive experience in starting lineups. Morrow has worked as a first-stringer in 46 games, including 17 for the Bears last season. The seventh-year vet established career-high totals in tackles (116) and tackles for loss (11). This came after Morrow suffered what turned out to be a season-ending ankle injury during a training camp practice in August 2021.

Despite Morrow making his way back from that malady to be a full-timer on a rebuilding Bears team, Pro Football Focus slotted him outside the top 60 at the position. PFF did grade Morrow as a top-30 ILB option in 2020, however.

During Morrow’s second free agency foray, he could not come especially close to the above-referenced second tier of the off-ball linebacker market. While Edwards, White and ex-Eagle starter Alex Singleton fetched AAVs between $5MM and $6.5MM (from the Bears, Cardinals and Broncos), Morrow joined the Eagles for no guaranteed money. This could create a wide range of outcomes come training camp, as players without guarantees are obviously simpler cut candidates. Third-year UDFA Christian Elliss might push Morrow for playing time, per Berman, but the young defender has only played 29 career defensive snaps.

The Eagles once carried Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham extensions on their payroll, though Bradham’s 2018 contract (five years, $40MM) only coexisted with Kendricks’ Chip Kelly-era extension for two months. The Eagles cut Kendricks in May 2018. Since releasing Bradham after the 2019 season, the team has rolled with bottom-tier contracts on its defensive second level. Dean fits the mold, being signed to a rookie deal through 2025. Morrow, who has never played in an NFL postseason game, will have a chance to carve out a higher-profile role for himself on his league-minimum deal.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/23/22

Today’s minor moves heading into the NFL’s largest slate of Saturday games of the season:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

  • Promoted from practice squad: G Kyle Hinton

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/17/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

  • Promoted: C Brock Hoffman

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/10/22

Here are the minor moves around the league in advance of the Week 14 slate of games:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Eagles Activate DT Jordan Davis From IR

Philadelphia announced today that it will be activating first-round defensive tackle Jordan Davis off of injured reserve following a four-week stint off the active roster. In a corresponding move, the Eagles placed safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson on IR.

Davis started off his rookie season coming off the bench behind Eagles starting defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. Philadelphia couldn’t keep the No. 13 overall pick off the field, though, and soon began starting all three players each game.

In Davis’s absence, the Eagles turned to Marlon Tuipulotu until he found his way to the IR, as well, with a torn meniscus. The team then turned to Linval Joseph after signing him and fellow veteran Ndamukong Suh in consecutive days. It’s reasonable to expect Davis to return to the starting lineup alongside Cox and Hargrave in his return, returning Joseph to backup duties with Suh. It’s speculative, but Davis returning as soon as he is eligible could be a strong sign that he is completely ready to return with no lingering effects from the high ankle sprain that landed him on IR in the first place.

Following news that Gardner-Johnson, the team’s starting safety, would be out indefinitely with a lacerated kidney, his placement on IR doesn’t come as much of a surprise. If he can make a speedy recovery, Gardner-Johnson should be eligible to return in time for the final two games of the regular season and a likely Eagles postseason run.

The league’s interceptions-leader will likely be replaced by undrafted rookie out of Middle Tennessee Reed Blankenship. Although it seems like a big downgrade on paper, Blankenship showed his potential almost immediately, intercepting Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shortly after coming into last week’s game to replace Gardner-Johnson.

In addition to the two IR transactions, the Eagles have also promoted linebacker Christian Elliss from the practice squad as a standard gameday elevation for this week’s matchup against the Titans.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC East

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These CommandersCowboys, Eagles and Giants moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Dallas Cowboys

Signed to practice squad:

New York Giants

Signed:

Released:

Claimed:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Philadelphia Eagles

Claimed: 

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Washington Commanders

Released:

Claimed:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad: