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 49ers, Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Amidst a day of roster cuts and player activations and signings, a rare player-for-player swap is taking place. The Eagles are sending tight end J.J. Arcega-Whitesideto the Seahawks in exchange for safety Ugo Amadi(Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero).
Arcega-Whiteside was one of several notable draft investments the Eagles have made at the wide receiver position recently. The 2019 second-rounder came to Philadelphia with significant expectations given his size (six-foot-two, 225 pounds) and production at Stanford. Things haven’t gone according to plan, however, as he has failed to secure a full-time starting role across three seasons in the NFL.
After totaling just 16 catches in his first 40 games, the Eagles decided this offseason to move the 25-year-old to tight end. With the likes of first-rounders Jalen Reagorand DeVonta Smith, as well as draft-day trade acquisition A.J. Brownat the position, that transition was Arcega-Whiteside’s clearest path to playing time. The same may not be true in Seattle, however; Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets that the Seahawks plan to play Arcega-Whiteside at WR, where he will compete for a secondary role behind DK Metcalfand Tyler Lockett.
The news of a trade is particularly noteworthy in Amadi’s case. ESPN’s Brady Henderson reported (on Twitter) earlier today that the 25-year-old was going to be among the Seahawks’ first round of roster cuts. By acquiring him via trade, the Eagles avoid the possibility of another team claiming him. A fourth-round pick in the same draft as Arcega-Whiteside, Amadi started 12 games between 2020 and 2021. He played a career-high 691 defensive snaps last season, and recorded 54 tackles for the second consecutive season.
The five-foot-nine, 201-pounder will add depth on the backend for the Eagles. Safety was seen as an area of need for much of the offseason after the departure of Rodney McLeod, and Amadi will now look to carve out at least a rotational role behind starters Anthony Harrisand Marcus Epps.
Both players will get a fresh start in advance of a contract year, and look to build their free agent values while reinforcing potential weak points on their new teams’ respective rosters.
As several wide receivers from the 2019 draft class are moving toward big-money extensions, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is well off that tier. The former Eagles second-round pick drifted off the radar during his first three seasons, leaving him on unsteady ground going into his fourth.
But the Eagles will experiment with an Arcega-Whiteside position change when their offseason workouts begin Monday. He is moving to tight end, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. Already a big wideout, Arcega-Whiteside has added weight to his 225-pound frame and has embraced the move.
The Eagles chose Arcega-Whiteside 57th overall three years ago. The Stanford product posted a 1,059-yard, 14-touchdown season in 2018, vaulting him onto the Day 2 radar. Despite the Eagles’ starting wideouts running into widespread injury trouble during much of Arcega-Whiteside’s career, he has not capitalized on any additional playing time. In three seasons, Arcega-Whiteside has caught just 16 passes for 290 yards and one touchdown. He underwent offseason finger surgery as well, McLane adds.
Dallas Goedert signed a lucrative extension last year, doing so shortly after the Eagles traded Zach Ertz to the Cardinals. Although Richard Rodgers remains on Philly’s roster, there is room behind Goedert. And the Eagles have tried tight end conversions in the recent past, using former college quarterback Tyree Jackson at the position and attempting to shift ex-Cardinals receiver draftee Hakeem Butler there as well. Butler played in two games as an Eagle in 2020, and Jackson suffered a torn ACL in Week 18, leaving his availability for the start of next season uncertain.
Clement and Curry landed on the list because they came in contact with someone who contracted the coronavirus, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes their placements on the list did not stem from Arcega-Whiteside’s positive test (Twitter link). Curry and Clement have continued to test negative, and ESPN.com’s Tim McManus indicates (via Twitter) each player landed on the virus list because they were close contacts of two different individuals.
While Arcega-Whiteside is guaranteed to miss Sunday’s game, his affected teammates’ respective statuses will come down to when their last contact with an infected person occurred. Players who land on the reserve/COVID list must isolate for five days, but players have been placed on a COVID list on a Thursday and returned to play the following Sunday. Kyle Van Noy did so last week.
Holdovers from the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII-winning team, Curry and Clement serve as key rotational players for Philadelphia. Arcega-Whiteside has not been able to break through despite his second-round pedigree. He has just 12 career catches, including two this season for an again-injury-ravaged Eagles receiving corps.
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.
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.