NFL Cuts: Final Predictions For Philadelphia Eagles' 53-Man Roster
By 6:00PM today the Eagles must have their roster down to only 53 players. As it stands, they have 65 after cutting 10 guys, placing Victor Abiamiri on the PUP, and trading for Arizona Cardinals guard Reggie Wells.
That means 12 guys must still get trimmed from the roster, and figuring out those 12 guys will be more difficult than most people think. Almost every year there's a surprise cut right around this time, and this year likely won't be any different.
We've also seen the Birds aren't afraid to swing a trade this year, so keep that in mind as well.
So let's take a look at who I believe will stay, who will go, and also how I would set up the roster if I was in Andy Reid's position.
1. Kevin Kolb, 2. Michael Vick, 3. Mike Kafka
Obviously, nothing shocking here. The Eagles didn't even bring in a scrub fourth quarterback to push the third guy a little, so this has been set for quite some time.
How I Would Do It: Nothing changes. Well, I would still have Donovan McNabb on the roster, but that's neither here nor there at this point.
Running Backs (4)
1. LeSean McCoy, 2. Mike Bell, 3. Eldra Buckley, 4. Leonard Weaver (FB)
Weaver could actually wind up being the No. 2 running back if we judge the depth chart based on the carries distribution. Bell has caught some heat for his inability to stay healthy and was a guy a lot of fans wanted to see go so Martell Mallett could stick around, but if he can get to 100 percent and stay there he's a dangerous guy.
How I Would Do It: Again, I'm in agreement. It would have been great to see J.J. Arrington make a legitimate push for a spot, but Buckley is a guy who can be relied upon to a) play great special teams, and b) run like hell whenever he happens to get a carry.
Tight Ends (2)
1. Brent Celek, 2. Clay Harbor
Reid only kept two tight ends last season, and with the numbers game taking place on a few other positions this might be the best way to shave a roster spot. However, if something were to happen to Celek, this could catch the Birds in a real bind.
How I Would Do It: I'm probably keeping three tight ends. Most think Reid could go out and add a veteran tight end who can block, but the upside of Cornelius Ingram is too much for me to resist. I'm hoping they find a way to stash him on IR again, or at least the PUP with Abiamiri.
Wide Receivers (5)
1. DeSean Jackson, 2. Jeremy Maclin, 3. Jason Avant, 4. Riley Cooper, 5. Hank Baskett
The word around town is that Baskett is a lock. I'm not exactly sure why as I haven't seen a whole lot from him, but that's the word. Some believe Baskett and Kelley Washington could make the roster, but they're far too similar to keep both. It's one or the other.
How I Would Do It: Keep Washington over Baskett. Hank is the better overall receiver, but he's not far enough ahead of Washington to warrant keeping him and taking a step down on special teams play.
Offensive Line (10)
LT1. Jason Peters, LT2. Austin Howard, LG1. Todd Herremans, LG2. Reggie Wells, C1. Jamaal Jackson, C2. Mike McGlynn, RG1. Stacy Andrews, RG2. Nick Cole, RT1. Winston Justice, RT2. King Dunlap
Stacy Andrews could get traded at some point today which move Wells or Cole into the starting spot at right guard and perhaps open up a roster spot for one of the younger guys, but at this point I think Reid probably just holds onto Andrews as nothing will likely seem like a fair value to Reid at this point.
How I Would Do It: While I think Andrews has been much better than anyone will give him credit for, I would try to trade him. He seems unhappy at guard and would rather play tackle, and it would be nice to get off the hook for his $5 million salary. However, if they can't trade him, cutting him doesn't make any sense.
Defensive Line (10)
RE1. Trent Cole, RE2. Darryl Tapp, RE3. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, DT1. Brodrick Bunkley, DT2. Mike Patterson, DT3. Trevor Laws, DT4. Antonio Dixon, LE1. Brandon Graham, LE2. Juqua Parker, LE3/Joker. Antwan Barnes
If you're looking for a surprise cut, you could find it in Parker. He's been a little dinged up and has looked slow at points during camp and the preseason. Being 32 doesn't help his cause on a very young team, either. The Birds could pick up a cheaper vet, or a guy off the waiver wire ala Antonio Dixon, to use in his place until Abiamiri is ready to return.
UPDATE: The Barnes trade means the Birds keep 10 here, and fill their need for a guy who can put his hand in the ground and play the "Joker" role they were grooming Ricky Sapp to fill.
How I Would Do It: Parker stays. I'm not even saying I think Reid will cut Parker, but it wouldn't be too terribly shocking to see him cut the oldest non-punter or kicker on the team. I would love to find a place for Jeff Owens, but that appears unlikely.
WILL1. Ernie Sims, WILL2. Keenan Clayton, MIKE1. Stewart Bradley, MIKE2. Omar Gaither, SAM1. Akeem Jordan, SAM2. Moise Fokou,
UPDATE: With the trade for Antwan Barnes, Tracy White loses a numbers crunch. This could mean the end for Fokou rather than White, but I think the team likes Fokou's upside too much to cut him loose after only one season. Since Barnes can play SAM in a pinch, there's no need to keep seven linebackers.
How I Would Do It: Tracy White would definitely stay. Special teams has been ignored for far too long, but letting go of Jamar Chaney hurts. He's a physical guy who likely won't get through waives, or I'm placing him on the practice squad.
Defensive Backs (10)
CB1. Asante Samuel, CB2. Ellis Hobbs, CB3. Joselio Hanson, CB4. Trevard Lindley, CB5. Dimitri Patterson, FS1. Nate Allen, FS2. Macho Harris, SS1. Quintin Mikell, SS2. Kurt Coleman, FS/RS. Quintin Demps
Depending on how much Reid likes the guy he traded for, Jorrick Calvin, Harris or Demps could get the boot. Reid can be loyal to a fault, however, so it wouldn't surprise me if both guys are back. Five safeties looks like a lot but if Reid believes Harris is a viable option at corner as well, he could be convinced to keep all of them.
How I Would Do It: I would keep Jorrick Calvin and cut Harris. I might consider dumping Demps as well, but he does hold extra value as a kick returner. If I cut Demps, his roster spot would likely go to Jeff Owens.
K. David Akers, P. Sav Rocca, LS. Jon Dorenbos
As soon as Ken Parrish was released this was set, although I don't think Akers or Rocca really ever feared for their jobs.
How I Would Do It: I haven't been a fan of Rocca and would have considered getting him more serious competition early on, but he's been great in the preseason so keeping him is a no-brainer.