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Eagles get down to 53, go heavy on defensive front, cornerback


Photo Credit by John McMullen/JAKIB Sports

ThrivePHILADELPHIA – The initial cut to 53 is always a difficult day for Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Nick Sirianni.

“This Is a hard day for us as an organization,” Roseman admitted. “We bring in these guys, and we ask them to give us everything they got during the offseason program, during training camp and the preseason, and we sit down with each and every one of them and thank them for their effort and their energy.

“It’s not easy having these conversations with those guys.”

There is a job to do, however, and as the reigning NFL Executive of the Year, who is coming off a season where he built a Super Bowl roster, Roseman is typically better at the job than most of his peers.

“We try to shift quickly,” the GM said. “It’s a hard transition having as many conversations as we do with these guys, and then we shift and shift to think of all the good.”

The good is hopefully another Super Bowl-level roster.

First the bookkeeping. The Eagles released the following players in alphabetical order: WR Devon Allen, LB Quinton Bell, QB Ian Book, RB Kennedy Brooks, DT Robert Cooper, WR Britain Covey, CB Mekhi Garner, G Julian Good-Jones, WR Jadon Haselwood, DE Tarron Jackson, TE Tyree Jackson, LB Kyron Johnson, WR Johnny King, LB Tyreek Maddox-Williams, S Tristin McCollum, LB Nicholas Morrow, WR Joseph Ngata, DE Janarius Robinson, G Tyrese Robinson, TE Brady Russell, DT Olive Sagapolu, DT Caleb Sanders, CB Josiah Scott, G Josh Sills, P Arryn Siposs, WR Freddie Swain, LB Ben VanSumeren, S K’Von Wallace, WR Greg Ward, and DT Marvin Wilson.

They also waived/injured RB Trey Sermon and reached an injury settlement with WR Tyrie Cleveland before releasing him off IR.

Philadelphia also made a trade, acquiring 6-foot-5, 160-pound tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, along with a 2025 seventh-round pick, from Denver in exchange for a 2025 sixth-round pick.

As for the players remaining the Eagles went very heavy with their talented defensive front keeping six edge players (Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, Nolan Smith, Derek Barnett, and Patrick Johnson), as well as seven interior players (Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Jalen Carter, Marlon Tuipuloto, Kentavius Street and Moro Ojomo).

They also decided to keep seven cornerbacks with undrafted rookie Eli Ricks and second-year slot hopeful Mario Goodrich joing Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Josh Jobe, and Kelee Ringo.

“Obviously you talk about pedigree. He was the No. 1 corner in the country coming out of high school and going to LSU. Then didn’t have his last season that he wanted to there, and he was a guy that we spent a lot of time on in the draft process,” Roseman said of Ricks, the only undrafted player to make the initial 53. “He came in with an opportunity, and I think what we saw is this is a long, instinctive player with good athleticism and ball skills. Those guys are hard to find. His work ethic, his care factor was really high.”

Conversely, the team will start very light at wide receiver with four (A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Olamide Zaccheaus) and at linebacker with three (Nakobe Dean Zach Cunningham and Christian Elliss).

The team also currently doesn’t have a punter after moving on from Siposs and will bring in a group to try out this week. Covey was the incumbent punt returner and he could be replaced by either Zaccheaus or safety Justin Evans or the Eagles could duplicate what they did last season and start Covey on the practice squad if he clears waivers and elevate him to the roster early in the season. Meanwhile, Roseman went very light when it came to players with perceived special teams skills.

“We spend a lot of time with conversations about the depth chart and roles,” Roseman insisted. “So, we make sure that [Special Teams Coordinator] Coach [Michael] Clay is in a position to put out his best guys too in the game. So, we’ll talk about every role on special teams, from wing to gunner to kickoff returner, and make sure that he feels really good.

“Our full focus is on having the best possible season we can have. And so, that starts with the first game of the season. That’s been Coach’s message, “keep your eye on the first game.” So, everything we do is focused on trying to give our coaches the best opportunity to win that first game.”

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