December 04, 2020
In our Eagles chat on Wednesday, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow, as well as some commonly asked questions on Twitter and via email.
Question from QBFactory: Will Zach Ertz have much trade value in the offseason? It seems like a foregone conclusion he has to go for salary cap reasons. Won’t other teams use this to negotiate down?
You raise a point I debated with some friends recently, and I agree with your concerns. Beyond the fact that the Eagles won't have leverage, as you point out, I don't think his value is particularly high right now. He's 30 years old (and probably in decline), he was having his worst season as a pro before he got hurt, he now has a pretty extensive injury history, and his base salary in 2021 is going to be $8,250,000 in a year in which the salary cap is going to be around $30-$40 million less than was projected, pre-COVID.
Maybe someone offers a Day 3 pick. Any hope of getting a Day 2 pick for him, barring some sort of unexpected monster close to this season, is unrealistic.
I don't know that it's a foregone conclusion that he's gone, by the way. They should trade him, but it's possible the front office is delusional about the Eagles' chances in 2021 and they keep him for one more year before he leaves in free agency.
Question from Kimmy Jempski: Will Brandon Graham make the Pro Bowl?
He should, but he's only 12th in the league in sacks, and that's the stat that will decide whether he gets in or not. He's going to have to pick that up over the next two-three weeks to have a chance. I don't think he'll make it, unfortunately. We'll see. If the Eagles are going to have any Pro Bowl reps, I think their best bet is Jason Kelce.
Question from Hinkie: What do you think happens to Derek Barnett? I don't think he's ever going to be a Pro Bowler but he's one of the few good young players the Eagles have. He seems like a good DE2. Will they be able to keep him with their cap the way it is, or is he cut to make room?
There's no way they'll cut him. As you note, he's a rare decent young player on the roster.
He's scheduled to count for $10,051,000 on the 2021 cap on his fifth-year option. I think it's more likely that the Eagles will try to get a long-term deal done with him, probably a low salary Year 1 with a hefty signing bonus that's spread out over the course of the contract. They can get his 2021 cap number down pretty low and still keep him.
Question from Pragmatic: Starting OL next season?
I'll go with this:
|Andre Dillard||Isaac Seumalo||Jason Kelce||Brandon Brooks||Lane Johnson|
So, basically what we thought it would be back in May. It's just a gut feeling on Kelce coming back, though obviously, he's year-to-year in terms of retiring, or not. If Kelce retires, I think Seumalo is the center, and Jack Driscoll is the LG.
I understand that some will prefer Jordan Mailata at LT. To be clear, I'm right there with you. However, I think that Howie Roseman is going to keep his job, and if so, my sense is that Dillard is going to be given every opportunity to start at LT, and Mailata will be the swing tackle.
Question from Ray75: If Lurie fires Howie, will it be hard to find a quality GM to clean up this mess?! I’d be stunned if one of the top GM candidates would be interested in the job.
It depends on what a new candidate is looking for. If a GM is hired here who is given the time and the leeway to tear it all down and build it back up, there's already quite a bit of job security built in. Will he/she be able to pick their head coach? What kind of control will they have? What do they think of working with Jeffrey Lurie, as opposed to other owners? I think there's a lot more that goes into it than just, what does the roster look like at that particular moment.
Question from Norm Snead: Hindsight being 20/20, should the Eagles not have cut Sidney Jones or Rasul Douglas?
I think it was fine. We all saw what Rasul Douglas looks like in this scheme. He couldn't cover fast receivers, and he gave up big play after big play after big play last year. It was time. He's now in a scheme that better fits his skill set. Good for him, finding some success with another team.
As for Sidney Jones, he showed glimpses in Philly that he has talent, but he couldn't stay healthy, and he really lost trust from the defensive staff as well as his teammates when he pulled himself out of the Vikings game last year. He barely participated in practice in training camp, and got cut, on merit. In Jacksonville, he has shown glimpses that he has talent, like he did in Philly. But guess what... he's hurt again. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Question from Hinkie: This is probably a dumb question but what's the difference between an X and a Z receiver? I've seen the terms thrown around so frequently but it's gone on so long I'm afraid to ask.
Nope, not a dumb question. There's so much to know about the NFL from X's and O's, to front office and roster rules, to what kinds of TD celebrations are legal (lol), that it's impossible to know everything. Anyway, I think this is a good explanation.
And I think that's worth learning now, because if the Eagles finish with a top 5 pick, there's going to be a lot of talk about how Ja'Marr Chase fits into the Eagles' offense as an X receiver, with Jalen Reagor serving as the Z.
Question from Why can't we have nice things: Has Alex Singleton officially reached a level of cromulence?
The Eagles need to find a legitimately good three-down linebacker, and I don't think that's Singleton. However, he has at least proven that he deserves some kind of role with the team. I think he's lock for the roster next year, as at least a backup LB and special teamer. So, yes, sure, he has reached some level of cromulence.
Questoin from Kephas: Why isn't Reagor returning punts or kicks?? Greg Ward gives you nothing on punts, and Boston Scott seems to get met at the 20 yard line every game.
On kick returns it's like someone stretched fishing line at ankle level from one sideline to the other that Boston Scott trips over on every return. I don't know if Reagor is the answer (it was an adventure for him just fielding punts early this season), but I certainly agree that the returners are giving the Eagles absolutely nothing.
Opposing kickers are trying hit pop-ups inside the 5 but not in the end zone, so that the Eagles are forced to try to return them. Meanwhile, punters are just blasting off without worrying so much about hang time. That's not good.
Question from awesomesauce: Does the Eagles' field goal defensive strategy include Jalen Mills jumping up and down waving his arms in the air and yelling things? Is this unconventional?
I think every team has that guy.