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September 08, 2023

Random Eagles notes heading into Week 1: No new punter, D'Andre Swift with the WRs, and more

The latest on the Eagles' punter situation, D'Andre Swift's role in the passing game

Eagles NFL
8.6.23_EaglesPractice_fans-Siposs-0133.jpg Colleen Claggett/for PhillyVoice

Arryn Siposs: Still here.

There are some Philadelphia Eagles news items over the last couple of days that probably aren't worthy of their own articles, but we'll round them up here.

The Eagles won't be signing a new punter before Sunday

On Thursday special teams coordinator Michael Clay was asked who the punter and punt returner are.

"I think we all kind of know who that is at this point," Clay said. "Only a few people on the roster that can punt and punt return. We obviously know that’s our situation."

The Eagles don't have a punter on their 53-man roster, but do have the embattled Arryn Siposs on the practice squad.

They don't really have a punt returner on the 53-man roster either. Boston Scott has six career punt returns, Olamide Zaccheaus has three, and DeVonta Smith, who the Eagles aren't going to risk getting hurt on a punt return Week 1, has two. Britain Covey, who was the team's primary punt returner in 2022 (and was fine), is on the practice squad.

Teams are allowed two call-ups from the practice squad each week. Expect them to be used on Siposs and Covey.

The question going forward is whether the Eagles will eventually sign a punter to replace Siposs full-time. They worked out a number of punters over the last nine days, including Blake Gillikin, Pat O'Donnell, Braden Mann, and Colby Wadman.

D'Andre Swift got some reps with the wide receivers

It's been a while since the Eagles have had a running back that they could confidently flex out to the slot to take advantage of matchups against linebackers, but the Eagles hope that Swift can be that kind of player for them in 2023. Swift caught a lot of passes out of the backfield during training camp practices, but I can't recall him getting reps during individual drills with the wide receivers, which he did on Thursday.

How the Eagles deploy their running backs this season was a hotly debated topic within the fantasy football community throughout the summer. Swift, Kenny Gainwell, and Rashaad Penny will all have roles, but Swift pretty clearly showed throughout training camp that he is the most talented of the three, and I expect him to get the most touches on Sunday. We'll see.

Jalen Hurts is now the fourth-highest paid player in the NFL

When Hurts signed his $255 million contract extension in April, he became the highest-paid player in NFL history. Since then, three quarterbacks have already eclipsed him, most recently the Bengals' Joe Burrow.

Those are all massive figures, obviously, and the difference between $52 million and $51 million splitting hairs, but it does show the benefit of being the first team to get a deal done with a franchise quarterback in a year in which several are eligible. You don't want to leave it to chance that the first team to do a deal will overpay and wreck the market for the rest of the teams trying to get deals done, like the Browns did with their asinine fully guaranteed deal with Deshaun Watson a year ago.

We published a couple of podcasts

Brandon Gowton and I recorded a live show at Wrong Crowd Beer Company in West Chester Wednesday night. Good times. That episode is below (episode 345), as is our Eagles-Pats preview (episode 346). 

Listen below. And here's the iTunes link. Review, subscribe, etc.

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