In less than three months, fans will be welcoming back the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2021 season. The team has been focusing on a more youthful roster this offseason, and its likely changes are far from over.
This year league owners approved a new schedule for roster cuts during training camp. The change includes 37 cuts (90 to 53 players) over a two-week span from August 17-31. The first cut will take place on August 17 and reduce the team to 85 players. On August 24, the roster will drop to 80, and the final cut will take place on August 31, concluding a 53-man roster.
As the Eagles look to improve their lineup, some may not get the chance to wear midnight green this season. Below are five veterans who may not make the roster as Week 1 approaches.
FIVE EAGLES VETERANS WHOSE TIME MAY BE UP
The Eagles drafted Arcega-Whiteside in the 2019 NFL Draft. Though he was selected in the second round, the 24-year-old hasn’t shown much growth. In his rookie season, he caught ten passes for 169 yards and one touchdown. The touchdown was made in Week 13.
Last season was even worse. Arcega-Whiteside caught four passes for 85 yards and zero touchdowns. He missed two weeks while on the reserve/COVID-19 list but struggled with route running and recurrent dropped balls. Given the stiff competition at the wide receiver position, it will be difficult for anyone to make a case to keep JJAW around.
Both first-round picks, DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor, are lock-ins, leaving Arcega-Whiteside to compete against seven other wide receivers. He will enter training camp alongside Travis Fulgham (most receiving yards in 2020), veteran Greg Ward, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. This Eagles also recently signed Michael Walker and undrafted free agents Trevon Grimes and Jhamon Ausborn.
The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Matt Pryor in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He made his first start in January 2020, replacing Brandon Brooks, who was injured.
He saw more playing time last season as injuries continued to ravage Philadelphia. Pryor played 15 games, starting in ten as the Eagles played a record-high 15 different offensive lineups. Though Pryor can play tackle and guard, Brooks, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, and Jack Driscoll are back for the 2021 season after recovering from injuries. He will also compete against Jordan Mailata, who has shown great potential, and newcomer Landon Dickerson who is rumored to start by the end of the season.
Another player who may fall to the bottom of the list against his competitors is Joe Ostman. The 25-year-old went undrafted, signing with the Eagles in 2018. He was later waived and spent the entire 2018 season on the practice squad.
In 2019, he signed a reserve/future contract but suffered a knee injury and was placed on the injured reserve list. In 2020, Ostman was waived and signed to the practice squad again. He was eventually activated for a total of three weeks, reverting to the practice squad. Ostman finished with one total tackle.
Fans haven’t seen much of him, and now he will enter training camp alongside veteran Brandon Graham, former Washington superstar Ryan Kerrigan, and rookies Tarron Jackson and JaQuan Bailey.
Hassan Ridgeway had a lot going for him at the beginning of the offseason. For starters, he had ties to the Indianapolis Colts, gaining an advantage over other players regarding the Eagles’ new coaching staff. Then Malik Jackson was released, and filling his position with Ridgeway seemed like a no-brainer.
But Philadelphia had other things in mind. The Eagles filled the DT spot as part of their “youth movement” with Milton Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu. The third and sixth-round picks, respectively, have a great deal of athleticism and versatility.
Ridgeway, who joined the Eagles in 2019, was given the opportunity to start that year. He played next to Fletcher Cox, filling in for injuries, but later suffered his own. He was placed on the injured reserve list in both 2019 and 2020. The 26-year-old should prepare for a competition-packed training camp.
Originally acquired from the Cleveland Browns in 2019 for a fourth-round 2021 NFL Draft pick, Genard Avery hasn’t found his footing with Philadelphia. Starting as a defensive end, Avery played 11 total games in 2020 with 12 total tackles, one forced fumble, and 1.5 sacks. He was placed on the injured reserve list with an elbow injury, returning one month later. He has since made a permanent change to linebacker.
Though the Eagles have a new defensive coordinator in Jonathan Gannon, a 4-3 defense remains likely and may continue to be an issue for Avery.