Zech McPhearson

Eagles CB Zech McPhearson Expected To Take Part In Training Camp

An Achilles tear kept Zech McPhearson off the field for the entire 2023 season. The fourth-year Eagles corner has successfully rehabbed the injury, though, and he should be available when training camp starts in July.

McPhearson indicated in April that he was on track to suit up for the start of the regular season, so this latest update comes as little surprise. Still, a return to full health would be a welcomed development to an Eagles secondary which struggled last season and has seen a number of new arrivals. Philadelphia’s special teams will also be bolstered by McPhearson’s return.

“I’m 100 percent, man,” the 26-year-old said (via Inside the Birds’ Andrew DiCecco). “I’m just glad to be back. My body’s feeling good, I’m feeling good. I just wanna go out there and compete. I got so much built up inside me. I got a chip on my shoulder. It’s a lot going on outside, but I block out all that noise.”

McPhearson missed OTAs and minicamp due to his rehab, but taking part in training camp will set him up for a return to action this fall. The former fourth-rounder made 33 regular season appearances across his first two Eagles campaigns, taking part in four playoff contests during that time. He logged only a rotational defensive role in that stretch, but he could serve as a familiar slot corner option behind returnee Avonte Maddox in 2024. McPhearson has also worked as a backup on the perimeter, though the Eagles have a pair of rookies (Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean) capable of handling that role.

One year remains on McPhearson’s rookie contract, and a healthy season would certainly help his free agent stock. The Texas Tech product’s health will be worth watching once training camp begins, but if all goes according to plan he should be able to take part in a full season after a year spent on the sidelines.

Eagles S Sydney Brown Addresses ACL Recovery

As the Eagles dealt with several injuries in the secondary during the 2023 season, safety Sydney Brown saw starting duties down the stretch. His rookie campaign came to an abrupt end thanks to a torn ACL, an injury which threatens to keep him sidelined for the start of the 2024 slate.

As things currently stand, however, Brown may be able to avoid missing time in the regular season. The 24-year-old Canadian recently provided an encouraging update on his recovery process. Plenty is yet to be determined, of course, but he could be available as early as Week 1.

“I feel amazing. I can start working out for you right now if you want to,” Brown said, via Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I feel like I’m miles ahead of where I should really be. I will be ready for when the season comes around.”

The Illinois product suffered the ACL tear in early January, so he is a strong candidate to begin training camp on the reserve/PUP list. If he manages to return to full health in time for the start of the campaign, however, his presence will be welcomed on the Eagles’ defense. Philadelphia used Brown as a starter for six games in 2023; among his statistical output, one figure which sticks out is the 99-yard interception he recorded in Week 17. He added 45 tackles and three pass deflections while also playing a regular role on special teams.

The Eagles have reunited with C.J. Gardner-Johnson along with extending Reed Blankenship, moves which will give the team veteran starters at both safety spots. Brown could be a valued backup contributor in his second season, though, provided his recovery continues to proceed along an encouraging path. Fellow defensive back Zech McPhearson could likewise be available at the start of the coming season.

The latter missed all of 2023 due to an Achilles tear, but he also said (via Zangaro) he expects to be healthy in time for Week 1. McPhearson will bring special teams production while also serving as a backup contributor at the slot corner position behind the recently re-signed Avonte Maddox.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/20/23

Here are today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

It appears that, like Colby Wadman before him, Palardy is just a camp body. Incumbent punter Tress Way is dealing with a back ailment, and he will only work as the holder in the Commanders’ preseason contest against the Ravens tomorrow night (Twitter link via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post). So Palardy, who has appeared in 80 games in his career (including eight with the Patriots in 2022), will have a chance to audition for other clubs that may be on the lookout for a punter at some point.

Washington is also in need of another player to rotate in on the defensive line, as Jonathan Allen (plantar fasciitis) and Phidarian Mathis are both banged up (Twitter link via ESPN’s John Keim). Mack, who has 25 appearances in his pro career, will at least help the team get through camp and the rest of the preseason slate.

Eagles Release CB Greedy Williams

The Eagles have made a handful of roster moves this morning, including releasing cornerback Greedy Williams (per ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter). The team also released punter Ty Zentner and waived/injured wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, defensive tackle Noah Elliss, and cornerback Zech McPhearson.

With five new roster openings, the Eagles have signed defensive tackles Robert Cooper, Marvin Wilson, and Caleb Sanders and linebackers Tyreek Maddox-Williams and Quinton Bell.

Williams spent the first four seasons of his career with the Browns. The second-round pick started all 12 of his appearances as a rookie, but after missing the 2020 season with a shoulder injury, the defensive back found himself in and out of the lineup following his return. He started eight of his 16 appearances in 2021, and he was limited to only one start in 11 games this past season.

The 25-year-old inked a one-year deal with the Eagles this offseason. As Pro Football Network’s Adam Caplan tweets, Williams is owed $600K of the $1.35MM contract he inked with Philly.

Zentner’s release doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The Kansas State product was added as an undrafted free agent during the offseason and was expected to provide some competition at the position. This move likely means that Arryn Siposs will serve as the Eagles’ punter for a third-straight season.

Among the team’s additions, Bell has the most NFL experience. The 2019 seventh-round pick got into five games with the Buccaneers in 2020, although he didn’t record a stat. He’s spent much of the past two years with the Falcons organization, getting into four games while splitting his snaps between defense and special teams.

As for the trio of waived/injured players, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that the Eagles expect all three players to clear waivers and revert to injured reserve. While Cleveland, Elliss, and McPhearson wouldn’t be able to play for Philly during the 2023 campaign, the Eagles would retain their rights.

Eagles CB Zech McPhearson Suffers Torn Achilles

The Eagles suffered a slew of injuries in last night’s preseason game, and at least one of them will be season-ending. Cornerback Zech McPhearson suffered an Achilles tear, as first reported by CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin (Twitter link).

McPhearson was carted off the field during Philadelphia’s tie with Cleveland, and there were immediate concerns that he would miss considerable time. With an MRI having confirmed the worst-case scenario, he will be sidelined for the campaign and the Eagles will be without a key rotational member of their secondary.

The starting corner spots are accounted for regarding the NFC champions, with Darius Slay and James Bradberry on the perimeter and Avonte Maddox in the slot. McPhearson was slated to serve as the top backup to Maddox on the inside, though he had also been used on the boundary at times this offseason. The former fourth-rounder will now turn his attention to rehab ahead of the 2024 campaign, which will be the final one of his rookie contract.

McPhearson has appeared in 37 combined regular and postseason games over his first two seasons in the league, showing a mark of durability which will obviously be changed given this news. The 25-year-old had been used sparingly on defense, but he was a mainstay on special teams. His absence will thus be felt on an Eagles team which has a number of young options to choose from as a replacement.

Mario Goodrich is likely the corner to be tapped to fill in for McPhearson as the slot backup. The former spent 2022 on the Eagles’ practice squad, and signed a futures deal in February. He will have a clearer path to a roster spot with McPhearson destined for IR, though the possibility remains that Philadelphia will aim to use one of their boundary corners on the inside as opposed to leaning on Goodrich, who has yet to play a regular season NFL contest. In any event, the Eagles will be shorthanded in the secondary while they look to make a repeat Super Bowl appearance.

Eagles Sign Three More Draft Picks

DeVonta Smith wasn’t the only member of the Eagles draft class to get a contract today. The team also signed third-round defensive lineman Milton Williams, fourth-round cornerback Zech McPhearson, and fifth-round running back Kenneth Gainwell.

[RELATED: Eagles Sign DeVonta Smith]

Williams had a productive four-year stint (including a redshirt year) at Louisiana Tech, collecting 108 and 10.5 sacks during his collegiate career. After earning first-team All-Conference USA in 2020, the Eagles used the No. 73 pick to take him in the 2021 draft. The rookie is expected to compete for backup reps behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave.

McPhearson transferred from Penn State to Texas Tech in 2019, and the move helped put the defensive back on the NFL radar. The 23-year-old earned a number of accolades for his performance in 2020 (including first-team All-Big 12), leading to him being taken with the No. 123 pick.

After serving as a quarterback in high school, Gainwell transitioned to running back while he was at Memphis. He had a breakout campaign in 2019, collecting 2,069 yards from scrimmage to go along with 16 touchdowns. The running back opted out of the 2020 campaign.

Following today’s signings, the Eagles still have a handful of unsigned draft picks:

Round 2: No. 37 Landon Dickerson, C (Alabama)
Round 6: No. 189 Marlon Tuipulotu, DT (USC)
Round 6: No. 191 (from Broncos via Panthers) Tarron Jackson, DE (Coastal Carolina)
Round 6: No. 224 JaCoby Stevens, S (LSU)
Round 7: No. 234 Patrick Johnson, DE (Tulane)