Richard Rodgers (TE)

Eagles To Cut DE Eli Harold

Three weeks after acquiring Eli Harold from the Bills, the Eagles will not carry him through to their 53-man roster. The Eagles will release the veteran edge defender, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

The team will also place tight end Richard Rodgers on IR and waive quarterback Cody Kessler. The Eagles only gave up undrafted rookie offensive tackle Ryan Bates for Harold, so it’s not like they had a particularly big investment in him. Harold was originally drafted by San Francisco in the third-round back in 2015, and spent last year with the Lions. He had four sacks with Detroit last year and the Eagles were looking for pass-rushing depth, but they apparently didn’t like what they saw from the 25-year-old. For his career, he has nine career sacks in 61 games and 25 starts

Kessler was drafted by the Browns in 2016, then traded to Jacksonville last offseason. He surprisingly ended up starting four games for the Jaguars last year, but he averaged a pitiful 5.4 yards per attempt. He was trying to make the team in Philly, but the Eagles luring Josh McCown out of retirement all but sealed his fate. Rodgers has made some noise in the past with Green Bay, but he’ll now miss the entire 2019 campaign with a foot injury.

Eagles’ Richard Rodgers To Miss Time

Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers will miss “multiple weeks” with a foot injury, according to Les Bowen of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Without him, the Eagles will have to find a No. 3 tight end elsewhere to start the season. 

Currently, the Eagles have Josh Perkins, Alex Ellis, and Will Tye in camp. One of those three could slide in as the Eagles’ new No. 3 TE, but they could also explore free agents and late summer cuts from around the league.

Rodgers, a former third-round pick of the Packers, inked a one-year deal with the Eagles last year. Unfortunately, a knee injury cut his first season in Philly short. After recording just one catch for seven yards, Rodgers is eager to show what he can do in green and white. He inked a new two-year deal with the Eagles in March.

Rodgers’ best season to date came in 2015, when he hauled in 58 receptions for 510 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had a quietly productive 30/271/2 stat line in 2016. He never quite lived up to expectations in Green Bay, but he could make for a fine supporting TE behind Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert if healthy.

Now, he’ll just have to wait a little while longer before making an impact in Philly.

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Eagles Re-Sign TE Richard Rodgers

The Eagles are bringing back tight end Richard Rodgers. On Thursday, the club announced a new two-year deal for the 27-year-old. 

[RELATED: Eagles Wanted To Keep Nick Foles Away From Giants, Redskins]

Rodgers, a former third-round pick of the Packers, inked a one-year deal with the Eagles last year. Unfortunately, a knee injury cut his first season in Philly short. After recording just one catch for seven yards, Rodgers is eager to show what he can do in green and white.

Rodgers’ best season to date came in 2015, when he hauled in 58 receptions for 510 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had a quietly productive 30/271/2 stat line in 2016. He never quite lived up to expectations in Green Bay, but he could make for a fine supporting TE behind Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert if healthy.

In other Eagles news, the club plans to keep Brandon Graham at defensive end, despite sometimes using him on the inside last year. The Eagles are also looking to extend Carson Wentz, despite his troubling injury history.

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Eagles’ Richard Rodgers Cleared To Practice

The Eagles already have Zach Ertz on a historic reception pace and second-round rookie Dallas Goedert behind him, but the defending Super Bowl champions plan to further strengthen their tight end group.

Richard Rodgers has missed all of this season because of a knee injury, but he will return to practice this week and be in line to come off IR, Zach Berman of Philly.com tweets.

This is an interesting move because it means one of either Mike Wallace or Mack Hollins now must remain on IR all season. Although Philadelphia’s depth chart at receiver now includes Golden Tate, it’s notable the team will bring Rodgers off IR nevertheless.

Wallace is out with a broken fibula sustained in early September but was a candidate to return this season. Hollins has missed the entire season but is also an IR-return option and may be likelier to see the field down the stretch than Wallace.

The former Packers target signed with the Eagles in April on a one-year, $880K deal. He has 21 days to be activated. He caught 58 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015 but hasn’t come particularly close to reaching those numbers since.

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Eagles Re-Sign Markus Wheaton, Place Richard Rodgers on IR

Markus Wheaton, who was released on Saturday, is back in Philadelphia according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Wheaton, who was among the casualties of Saturday’s roster cut-down, now rejoins a receiving corp that’s expected to be with out number one threat Alshon Jeffery for at least the first couple of games. It looks like the Eagles were planning on bringing Wheaton back the entire time, and were just waiting to clear up a spot.

To make room on the roster, the team placed tight end Richard Rodgers on injured reserve. Rodgers, who suffered a knee injury in the Eagles’ second preseason game, will be eligible to return after eight games. At the time of his injury, Rodgers was labeled week-to-week, but clearly the Eagles felt he wasn’t valuable enough to hold a roster spot for.

Wheaton has always been a player who’s production has never equaled his potential. After a breakout 2015 season where he caught 44 passes for 749 yards and five touchdowns with the Steelers, he’s played in just 14 games over the past two seasons, catching just seven passes total for 102 yards. Last offseason he signed a two-year $11MM contract with $5MM guaranteed with the Bears, and was an epic bust, catching just four balls during his time in Chicago. He signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Eagles this past May, and will be facing an uphill battle to revive his career in a crowded skill players group.

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Contract Details: Patriots, Matthews, Eagles

Some details on recent free agent deals:

  • Jordan Matthews’ one-year deal with the Patriots is worth $1MM with $170K guaranteed, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe tweets. The deal includes an $90K guaranteed, a modest $790K salary, and a $130K offseason workout bonus. Matthews was hampered by injuries in 2017, but prior to that, he had three strong seasons with the Eagles, so he could prove to be a major value signing for New England.
  • New Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers signed a one-year deal worth $880K with $245K fully guaranteed, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweets.
  • Joe Webb‘s one-year deal with the Texans is for the minimum salary, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. With his salary at the league’s floor, it could negate him as an unrestricted free agent loss for the Bills and hurt their chance at scoring a compensatory pick.

Eagles Sign TE Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers will be heading east, agreeing to a deal with the Eagles. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets this is a one-year agreement between the defending Super Bowl champions and the former Packers tight end. The team has since confirmed the deal via press release.

Rodgers will join Zach Ertz in Philadelphia and, for now, is in line to replace Brent Celek, whom the Eagles released last month. Celek could still be brought back at a cheaper rate after the loss of Trey Burton in free agency.

Rodgers, 26, put himself on the map in 2015 when he caught 58 passes from Aaron Rodgers. His role in the Packers’ offense waned over the next couple of years, however. In 2016, he had just 30 catches for 271 yards. Last year, he had just 12 grabs for 160 yards. Depending on how the rest of the offseason shakes out, he may get an opportunity to shine in two tight end sets along with Ertz.

Billy Brown, Joshua Perkins, and Adam Zaruba are also fighting to make the Eagles’ final cut at tight end, but they could be facing long odds between the addition of Rodgers and the likely selection of a rookie tight end in this month’s draft.

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Packers No Longer Interested In TE Ed Dickson

Ed Dickson has lost a suitor. After the Packers agreed to sign Jimmy Graham on Tuesday, they are no longer interested in the Panthers free agent, according to Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel (on Twitter). Meanwhile, they have “done nothing” with free agent Richard Rodgers.

Based on what we’ve heard, that could mean the Falcons are in the catbird seat for his services. Atlanta needs another tight end after cutting Levine Toilolo, so Dickson could potentially remain in the NFC South. He’d serve as the Falcons’ No. 2 behind starter Austin Hooper.

Dickson, 30, didn’t play a large receiving role during his first three years with the Panthers, but an injury to starting tight end Greg Olsen allowed Dickson to play on 80% of Carolina’s offensive plays last season. While he wasn’t a world-beater, Dickson did manage 437 yards and a touchdown, solid numbers considering he’d managed just 370 receiving yards from 2014-16.

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Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

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