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July 27, 2017

What they're saying: Eagles got 'ripped off' by Elway; Marcus Smith a fit in Dallas; and ... playoffs?!

Eagles NFL

While some players returned to the NovaCare Complex fields earlier this week, Thursday marks the official start of Philadelphia Eagles training camp with the full team scheduled to hold its first full practice of the summer.

Wednesday was a busy day for the Eagles with the team trading Allen Barbre to the Broncos and releasing former first-round pick Marcus Smith. And as one would expect, there was a lot of reaction to those two moves. We'll get to that in a second, but first, a look at our Eagles coverage:

•  An updated look at the Eagles' depth chart [Kempski]
•  Eagles signed a linebacker [Kempski]
•  Eagles can't help but 'get excited' over Pumphrey's receiving skills [Mullin]
•  Eagles release Allen Barbre (or traded him)
•  Recap: Eagles chat [Kempski]
•  Making switch from QB to WR, Greg Ward Jr. ‘exceeding expectations’ [Hofmann]
•  Eagles release Marcus Smith [Kempski]
•  Five free agents CBs (and one trade target) for the Eagles [Mullin]
•  Eagles 2017 training camp practice notes, Day 3 [Kempski]
•  One Eagles training camp battle down (for now), starting LG named [Kempski]

Like I said, it was a busy day. And now, here's what they're saying about the Birds:

Trading Barbre was a smart move

Brandon Lee Gowton | Bleeding Green Nation

Considering he was going to be the backup left guard, people had a lot of opinions on the team's decision to trade Allen Barbre (even after the team clarified that they traded Barbre rather than released him).

Getting rid of Barbre worsens the Eagles’ offensive line, yes, but I don’t know if the dropoff to Wisniewski at guard or Vaitai at tackle is that significant. Even if it is, this was going to be Barbre’s last year with the team anyway. He’s on the final year of his deal and he turns 34 next June.

If you don’t view the Eagles as a legitimate Super Bowl contender this season, then how upset can you really be they didn’t keep him? At least Philadelphia received a conditional pick and cleared $2.1 million in cap space that can be used next offseason.  [bleedinggreennation.com]

Trading Barbre was actually dumb

Eliot Shorr-Parks | NJ.com

The salary cap stuff makes a lot of sense. As does this:

Now, with Barbre gone, the Eagles are going all-in on Seumalo, hoping that the second-year player can live up to the high expectations that the team has for him after taking him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. 

Seumalo very well could play at a high level, but if he doesn't, the Eagles can now only turn to backup left guard Stefen Wisniewski. The Eagles also signed guard Chance Warmack this past offseason, but he was a disaster last season with the Tennessee Titans.  It is also worth noting that with Seumalo entrenched in the starting lineup, they could not turn to him as a backup center if Jason Kelce were to go down.  [nj.com]

Mile High robbery

Jeff Essary | Mile High Report

Either way, they’re liking the Allen Barbre trade out in Denver.

According to a local broadcaster in the Philadelphia area, Denver got “a steal” with Allen Barbre. The source went on to say he was a “late-bloomer” in the NFL. Barbre has been in the league ten years and just recently seems to have found his groove as a starter over the last two seasons; and has done very well since then.

Another source Eric talked to said he hear from an Eagles star player that the Eagles got “ripped off” in the trade, because they think so highly of Barbre.  [milehighreport.com]

Good riddance

Les Bowen | The Philadelphia Daily News

When it comes to the decision to release Marcus Smith, everyone pretty much seems to be in agreement.

Losing Smith won’t matter, with veteran Chris Long and first-round rookie Derek Barnett added to the defensive end mix. In fact, it’s very likely that the player who takes the roster spot Smith has occupied since being drafted 26th overall will contribute more than Smith could have; had Smith (6-foot-3, 251) not been drafted in the first round, he never would have survived to a second training camp, let alone a third or fourth. From the first day, the former quarterback showed no defensive instincts and played and practiced in a befuddled haze that would lift only very slightly during a three-year, 24-game career that has to rank him in the top five all-time Eagles draft busts. And as long-suffering fans know, that is a tough lineup to crack.  [philly.com]


RELATED: Ranking the Eagles' worst draft picks since 1999


Marcus Smith to Cowboys?

Turron Davenport | The Eagles Wire

So where could the former first-round pick wind up? How about somewhere that will allow him to face the Birds twice a year... 

Eagles fans may not want to hear it, but Dallas would be the best situation for Smith. Although they selected Taco Charlton with the No. 28 pick this year, the cupboard is bare at defensive end due to suspensions.

Randy Gregory will be suspended for the season while David Irving will be suspended for the first four games of the season.

All this means is that Smith would have a good chance to win over the coaching staff during camp and earn a starting spot. Being able to go against the Eagles twice a season would be icing on the cake.  [theeagleswire.usatoday.com]

Bubble rap

Adam Schein | NFL.com

Schein has the Eagles ranked fifth on his playoff bubble.

The case for: I love Carson Wentz! Remember, he wasn’t supposed to start last year — and he wouldn’t have if Teddy Bridgewater hadn’t gotten hurt, causing the Vikings to desperately give up a top pick for Sam Bradford. Still, the rookie logged 16 starts and showed some real flashes, despite not having a legit receiving corps or run game…

The case against: The Eagles’ run game still doesn’t look good enough for a young quarterback to truly lean on. The secondary — particularly at cornerback — is quite suspect. And so is the in-game coaching of Doug Pederson.

My gut feeling: A part of me wants to get on the Eagles train before anyone else. I think Philly has the potential to surprise some people. Eight wins sounds right. And although that’d only be a one-win improvement from last year, I think this could be the type of team that’ll challenge some powerhouses.”  [nfl.com]

Up-down drill

Steven Cook | Bleacher Report

Over at B/R, Steven Cooks takes a look at a bunch of Eagles players he believes will take a big step forward or back this season. Here's one example of each:

PROGRESSION: QB CARSON WENTZ

Finding better weaponry for Wentz became the No. 1 priority for the front office this season, and it did so in spectacular fashion with the signings of Jeffery, Smith and Blount. The sky is the limit for the 24-year-old, one of the most intelligent and skilled young quarterbacks the league has seen in several years. 

REGRESSION: WR JORDAN MATTHEWS

If the Eagles were high on Matthews—and even Nelson Agholor, to that effect—having a breakout year in 2017, it's hard to envision why they would have drafted Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson in the middle rounds. Serious needs required addressing, yet they decided to replenish their core of young receivers instead.  [bleacherreport.com]


Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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