Eagles RBs coach Jamel Singleton hinted that his team plans on deploying a committee backfield in 2021. "There are very specific skill sets you need in your room," Singleton said. "You need a first- and second-down runner with that really elite ability. You need a guy that can pass protect on third down and be short yardage. You need a back that can run routes and you can put him out in empty. It’s really a combination of that. I think the days of, ‘he’s an every-down back,’ that’s a little skewed these days because of the speed, because of the contact.” There are very few every-down backs in today's NFL, so this certainly isn't a death knell to Miles Sanders. But we're curious to see exactly how much work he'll cede after the Eagles added rookie RB Kenneth Gainwell and RB Kerryon Johnson to a group that already included RBs Boston Scott and Jordan Howard.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz didn't report for voluntary workouts on Monday and isn't expected to take part in the offseason program, according to insider Jeff McLane. He knows he's not part of the team's 2021 plans and is waiting until he's traded or released. The Eagles have seemingly been looking to trade him for a few months but haven't found any takers. Ertz is still just 30 but is coming off an ugly 2020 season that saw him rank 31st in yards per route run and 30th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade among 34 TEs with 40+ targets. We'll see where he ends up, but Ertz isn't an attractive draft target right now. Meanwhile, we've already projected Eagles TE Dallas Goedert as if Ertz is gone.
The Eagles on Friday signed RB Kerryon Johnson. He slipped to just 3.3 carries and 1.2 receptions per game last season, with D'Andre Swift in the mix -- despite playing in all 16 games for the 1st time in his 3 years. Johnson joins a Philly backfield with Miles Sanders as the leader, 5th-round pick Kenneth Gainwell arriving as a receiving factor and Jordan Howard returning. We'll see exactly how Johnson fits in this summer.
The Lions are waiving RB Kerryon Johnson, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. This move doesn't come as a surprise after Detroit signed Jamaal Williams in free agency. We'd bet on Johnson finding a new team before long, with Atlanta the most obvious candidate. Johnson averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 8.3 yards per catch over 3 seasons in Detroit but averaged just 10.1 touches per game. He lost 14 games to injuries over his first 2 seasons before playing in every 2020 game -- and seeing his rushing workload crater (3.3 rushes per contest). We'll see where Johnson lands for 2021.
The Eagles have selected RB Kenneth Gainwell in the 5th round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Before opting out for COVID concerns in 2020, Gainwell posted a huge sophomore campaign at Memphis. He ran for 1,459 yards and 13 TDs on 6.3 yards per rush, adding 51 receptions for 610 yards and 3 more scores. Gainwell finished that season 12th in the nation in rushing yards and 6th in scrimmage yards per game. Gainwell played at just 190 pounds but still clocked a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, at 201. His college tape shows a player with run strength and experience running WR routes. Gainwell’s size figures to limit his touch upside, but he could prove nicely efficient on a per-play basis. His slide to Round 5 also doesn't speak well of his status with NFL decision makers. Landing in Philly not only limits Gainwell's upside, it also challenges the touch volume for Miles Sanders. At worst, Gainwell is a good-looking pass-catcher.
The Eagles traded up from #12 to #10 to select Alabama WR DeVonta Smith. You know the concern with Smith: He weighed in at 170 pounds at Alabama’s Pro Day and 166 at the medical recheck in Indianapolis. That puts him in a bucket that hasn’t produced many high-end fantasy assets. DeSean Jackson is the only WR 175 pounds or lighter to top 1,000 yards over the past 10 seasons. But Smith is also 6’0 with a 78.5-inch wingspan that lands him in the 72nd percentile among NFL WRs. So he’s skinny, but not small. And he puts big check marks in the production and tape boxes. Smith is coming off a Heisman-winning 2020 campaign that saw him post a silly 117-1856-23 line. Those yardage and TD totals both rank top 6 in NCAA history. Smith’s 2019 junior season was just as impressive. The raw numbers weren’t as big: 68 catches for 1,256 yards and 14 TDs. But they came alongside a pair of 2020 1st-round picks in Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, plus a healthy Jaylen Waddle. Smith led that stacked squad in yards and TDs, ranking 2nd to Jeudy in catches. The tape shows a combination of ankle-breaking releases, silky smooth routes and uncanny ball skills. Smith wins at all levels of the field and is much better in contested situations than you’d expect from a man of his size. While the weight adds risk to his NFL projection, Smith is a guy we’re not gonna bet against. He’s simply good at football. The Eagles have now gone WR in the 1st round in 2 straight drafts after going with Jalen Reagor at #21 last year. Those guys should be the team’s top 2 WRs going forward.
The Eagles re-signed RB Jordan Howard to a 1-year deal. Howard hooked up with the Eagles last November after being dumped by the Dolphins but carried just 7 times in 2 appearances. He's a good bet to make the team with how the Eagles' backfield currently sits. But he'd need a Miles Sanders injury to sniff fantasy value.
Just a few minutes after it was reported that the Dolphins traded down from #3 to #12, we learned that the Fins made another trade -- this time with the Eagles -- to move from #12 back up to #6. Philly is picking up Miami's 2022 1st-rounder to make that move down. Our guess is the Dolphins are targeting 1 of the top rookie WRs -- Ja'Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith -- and figure they'll be able to get 1 at #6. The Eagles, meanwhile, are now less likely to land a QB in the 1st round. That's good news for QB Jalen Hurts' 2021 fantasy value.
The Eagles have given TE Zach Ertz permission to seek a trade, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The relationship between these 2 sides has been cold since they refused to agree to a contract extension last summer. Ertz didn't do his trade value any favors by missing 5 games and averaging just 30.5 yards in the other 11 last season. The 30-year-old looked like a guy running out of gas. We'll see where the situation goes, but consider Ertz just a low-end TE2 in fantasy drafts for now. TE Dallas Goedert, meanwhile, will be a good bet for new career highs in 2021 if Ertz departs.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen hears that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has told his front office and coaching staff to "prioritize making [QB Jalen] Hurts successful in 2021 as opposed to creating a true competition." Hurts was only a 2nd-round pick last spring and was uneven in 4 starts as a rookie. The Eagles might certainly be tempted to add a QB with the 6th overall pick of this April's draft. But if they don't -- as Mortensen suggests will be the case -- Hurts will be locked in as the 2021 starter and a high-upside fantasy option thanks to his rushing ability.
The Eagles have named Shane Steichen their new OC. Steichen coached alongside new Eagles HC Nick Sirianni with the Chargers from 2014 to 2017. He took over as Chargers OC midway through the 2019 campaign and then led the squad to a 9th-place finish in total yards this past year. The 2020 Chargers were a fast-paced offense, ranking 5th in situation-neutral pace.
The Eagles are hiring Nick Sirianni as their new HC, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Sirianni has 12 seasons of experience in the league, spending the past 3 as Colts OC. Indianapolis finished top 7 in points and yards with QB Andrew Luck in Sirianni's 1st year. The unit took a step back after Luck's surprise retirement in 2019 but bounced back to rank 9th in points and 10th in yards this past season. It's worth noting, though, that it was HC Frank Reich calling the plays for the Colts. So the 39-year-old Sirianni heads to Philly as a bit of an unknown.
The Eagles have fired HC Doug Pederson. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the move was made as a result of both on-field performance and disagreements between Pederson and management on coaching staff changes for 2021 and beyond. "Pederson was sick of people telling him what to do," Rapoport adds. Pederson is just 3 seasons removed from bringing a Super Bowl to Philadelphia, but his 2020 Eagles were 1 of the most disappointing teams in the league. We'll see who Philly hires as its new HC and, more importantly, how they decide to move forward at QB.
Eagles WR Jalen Reagor sustained a concussion in the 1st half of Sunday night's game against Washington. It ends a disappointing and injury-riddled rookie campaign that saw Reagor finish with 31 catches, 396 yards and 1 TD in 11 games. He'll have every opportunity to capture a big role in the passing game in 2021.
The Eagles have ruled DE Derek Barnett and DT Fletcher Cox out for Sunday night's season finale against Washington. With DE Josh Sweat on IR, that leaves Vinny Curry to start opposite Brandon Graham for the 2nd straight game. He carries intriguing upside against Washington. With Cox missing, Javon Hargrave and Malik Jackson figure to be the top 2 at DT again.
Eagles RB Miles Sanders (knee) is out for Sunday night’s game vs. Washington. It looks like he hurt his knee in Thursday’s practice. We’ll see if it’s anything that’ll impact his 2021. Sanders’ absence leaves the Eagles’ backfield to RBs Boston Scott, Jordan Howard and Corey Clement.
Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (calf) has been ruled out for Sunday night’s finale vs. Washington. That leaves Zach Ertz back in the lead TE role. He’s seen 7 targets alongside Goedert in back-to-back games and is a decent Week 17 fantasy play.
Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (calf) did not practice on Wednesday. If he can't play vs. Washington on Sunday night, TE Zach Ertz would be in for a boost in targets.
Eagles TE Dallas Goedert left Sunday's loss to the Cowboys in the 4th quarter with a calf injury. We'll see about his status heading into Week 17. A meaningless regular-season finale might hurt his chances of returning to action.
Eagles DT Fletcher Cox (neck) is active for today's game against the Cowboys. There's some risk after Cox missed practice all week, but he's available if he's in your IDP plans.
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