June 27, 2022
There's just under a month until the Eagles begin training camp. With increased expectations following a surprising 2021 playoff berth and a splashy offseason, Philly will be in a football frenzy sooner rather than later. The Eagles are on Philadelphia sports fans' minds and generating buzz from the media.
Here's what people have been saying about the Birds...
Remember when Jordan Mailata signed a contract worth $64 million ($40.9 million guaranteed) last September despite him only starting 10 real football games in his life? Well, less than a year later, it might actually be the best value of any contract in the NFL. That's at least what Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus thinks. Here's what Spielberger said about Mailata coming in at No. 1 on his best contract rankings:
The Eagles drafted Mailata in the seventh round in 2018 after a promising rugby career, and the 6-foot-8, 346-pound mountain of a man immediately went to work with Philadelphia offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland on refining his craft. Meanwhile, Jason Peters was still playing at a high level in his late 30s, and the Eagles traded up in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft for left tackle Andre Dillard.
Mailata improved each year, and he finally got on the field in 2020 for 733 snaps. That, plus years of practice reps, was all Philadelphia needed to see before extending him on a four-year contract. Given the small sample size of actual gameplay, his $16 million per year extension raised some eyebrows, and understandably so.
One year later, the deal is a bargain of the highest order. Mailata earned an 87.4 overall grade with an 83.3 pass-blocking grade and 87.8 run-blocking grade, a true dancing bear with tremendous footwork for his size and lack of experience. Mailata already generated the second-most Wins Above Replacement among all tackles in 2021, behind only San Francisco 49ers tackle Trent Williams, and there’s still more room for him to grow. [PFF]
A 25-year-old left tackle with All-Pro ability on a below-market deal? That's huge. Huge!
Former Eagles beat writer and current Pro Football Network lead reporter Mike Kaye ranked the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Philadelphia is certainly a city with its share of love affairs with backup signal-callers. Kaye ranked Gardner Minshew as the second-best QB2 in football.
Like Heinicke and Wentz, the divide between Minshew and Jalen Hurts doesn’t seem super wide. Minshew was able to win an important matchup against the New York Jets last season while Hurts was sidelined with an ankle injury. That victory actually helped the Eagles spark an impressive run when Hurts returned to the lineup.
Minshew might not be an ideal starting QB, but he is clearly capable of leading an offense when called upon, especially with weapons like DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, and Dallas Goedert to aid him in his efforts. [PFN]
Minshew was a great value pickup right before the start of the 2021 season for the Birds, as they parted with just a sixth-round draft pick for the former Washington State QB. Minshew started two games last year, a big win against a lowly Jets team in the Meadowlands that helped the Eagles' playoff push and a meaningless Week 17 matchup with the Cowboys. I personally believe that Minshew is one of the top-25ish quarterbacks in the league, the perfect backup for any team that hopes to contend.
Eagles legend Nick Foles found himself fourth on Kaye's list. Foles is currently QB2 in Indianapolis behind the newly acquired Matt Ryan:
Foles is one of two QBs on this list with a Super Bowl MVP award on his resume. Foles had the best run of any backup QB in history from 2017 to 2018 while filling in for Wentz for chunks of two separate seasons. He won a Super Bowl following the 2017 campaign, clinched a playoff spot in 2018, and produced a 4-1 postseason record overall.
It’s been a while since that success though, as he was benched in Jacksonville and Chicago over the past three years. That said, he showed he could still cook with gas in a nail-biting win over the Seattle Seahawks last year. He is the perfect No. 2 behind Matt Ryan in Frank Reich’s offense. [PFN]
My thoughts on Foles are well known. I ranked him as the best quarterback in Eagles history earlier in June because of his playoff heroics. Foles certainly isn't a capable QB1 at this point in his career, but the dude is like Mariano Rivera coming out of the bullpen when his number is called.
The Eagles made news back in April when they signed 27-year-old wide receiver Devon Allen to a contract. Allen, who played football at Oregon (54-921-8 in three seasons), has made huge noise in the track and field world. He's a two-time Olympian, taking part in the most recent Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo games. He's a three-time national champion (2014, 2016, 2018) in the 110-meter hurdle.
A great performance at a meet on Sunday was big for Allen's future as a hurdler:
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devon Allen is moving on to the 2022 World Championships in track and field.
Placing third with a time of 13.09 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles at Sunday's USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, Allen will go on to represent the United States at the World Athletic Championships in mid-July.
Allen's road to the World Championships featured three first-place finishes in recent weeks, including a 12.84-second performance that stands as the third-fastest 110-meter hurdles time in track and field history. [NFL]
It'll only take one deep ball touchdown from Jalen Hurts to Allen in practice this summer for him to become the newest installment in fan-favorite training camp wideouts. Bryce Treggs and Ifeanyi Momah should give him their blessing.
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