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February 12, 2019

Eagles notes: On Vinny Curry, Kareem Hunt, Duke Johnson, and Jeffery Simmons

Eagles NFL

Ever since the Philadelphia Eagles exercised the $20.6 million option on Nick Foles, and Foles subsequently --  and immediately -- sent them a check for $2 million to buy his way to free agency a week ago, the Birds have been quiet.

However, there have been some transactions -- and other news-worthy items -- around the league worth mentioning from the perspective of the Eagles. Let's look at them one-by-one:

The Buccaneers released Vinny Curry

Last offseason, the Eagles made the no-brainer decision to release Curry, who was set to count for $11 million (!) on the cap in 2018. The Eagles would have liked to have kept Curry, but the two sides could not agree on a pay cut. Curry was open to shedding some salary, but the Eagles wanted him to take a bigger cut than Curry was willing to take, as is my understanding, so the two sides parted ways.

As it turned out, Curry got a nice deal on the open market from the moronic Buccaneers, who gave him a three-year deal worth $23 million. Curry played in 12 games (7 starts) for the Bucs in 2018. He had 21 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Tampa then made an obvious decision of their own to release him after one lackluster season.

Meanwhile, the Eagles turned their attention to Michael Bennett, who they acquired in a trade for peanuts. Bennett had 9 sacks and only counted for $5,650,000 against the cap in 2018.

With Curry on the open market and the Eagles in need of pass rush help, would the Birds have interest? The guess here is no. The Eagles need young pass rushers who can take over for guys like Bennett and Chris Long. Throwing another 31-year-old DE on the pile isn't a long-term solution.

If Curry is still on the open market after the draft, and the Eagles somehow failed to select a DE in a "historic" defensive line draft, could they have interest? Maybe, but in my view, it's unlikely that they will anytime before that.

Kareem Hunt signs with the Browns

Hunt would have been a perfect fit, on the field, in the Eagles' offense. Off the field is other question. Interestingly, Hunt didn't make much on the open market.

From Hunt's perspective, the Eagles would have been an extremely appealing landing spot, seeing as they appear to be perennial Super Bowl contenders, and have a glaring need for a running back. Instead, he landed in RB-rich Cleveland for not a lot of money.

That tells me that the Eagles did not have interest.

So with Hunt in Cleveland, could the Browns be willing to deal RB Duke Johnson?

Duke Johnson would be a nice fit in the Eagles' offense, and in my view, a nice upgrade over what Darren Sproles was giving the Birds in their offense. On just under 300 carries (about 75 per season), Johnson has run for 4.3 yards per carry in his career with the Browns, in what has (mostly) been a horrific offense.

While those are good numbers, his real appeal is as a receiver out of the backfield:

 Duke JohnsonReceptions Yards YPC TD 
 201561 534 8.8 
 201653 514 9.7 
 201774 693 9.4 
 201847 429 9.1 
 TOTAL235 2170 9.2 

A highlight reel:

So could the Eagles look to trade for Johnson? I would say it's unlikely. Yes, the Browns now have Nick Chubb, Hunt, and Johnson, but it's not as if the Browns are just going to trade Johnson for nothing. They would certainly be looking for real value in return. He also just signed a three-year, $15.6 million contract extension last June, and the Browns would take a $2,250,000 cap hit if they traded him this offseason. He'll probably just stay there, and the Browns will have a really nice running back rotation behind Baker Mayfield. 

Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons reportedly tears an ACL

First, this is terrible news for Simmons, a top defensive line prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft.

From the Eagles' perspective, it's either bad news, or an opportunity, depending on whether or not you're a glass full or half empty kind of guy/gal.

If you're a glass half empty person, Simmons' torn ACL will almost certainly push him out of the first round. Even if Simmons would not have made it pick 25, he represented one more defensive line prospect to come off the board before the Eagles' pick. With Simmons out of the picture, another guy who might have been available at pick 25, perhaps no longer will be.

If you're a glass half full person, maybe the Eagles will take a chance on Simmons with one of their second-round picks, knowing that he won't play his rookie season, like they did with Sidney Jones. Although maybe we're back in glass half empty territory again there.

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