Sunday, September 03, 2006

Cutdown day

53-man rosters were due by 6pm tonight, and the Eagles' submission had a few surprises.

  • C/G Hank Fraley wasn't on the list, because he was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a conditional draft pick. As much as I like Fraley, I understand the move. The coaching staff felt they had a player in rookie Nick Cole, and Fraley at least had some trade value. I don't know the terms of the deal, but I hope they at least got a fourth-rounder for Fraley. He's an instant starter in Cleveland.
  • FB Josh Parry was also traded for a conditional draft pick to Seattle. I have to imagine it will be a sixth or seventh. This is a great move, as Tapeh had outplayed him anyway.
  • The Eagles kept five receivers, cutting loose both Jabar Gaffney and Darnarien McCants. Gaffney never panned out - when they signed him, he was the most experienced receiver on their roster - and McCants seems to have been caught in a nubmers game. He could not have performed any better in camp and pre-season.
  • LBs Dedrick Roper and Torrance Daniels were cut, which is rather shocking after the Simoneau deal. The Eagles have a grand total of six LBs on their roster. Trotter, McCoy, and Jones are the starters, backed up by Barber and Gaither. Jason Short is a special-teamer only. I'm guessing they will try to sign Daniels to the practice squad, and he'll be the first one to step in if there are any injuries to this thin position.
  • They kept five halfbacks, another surprise, as they generally keep only four. Bruce Perry avoids a visit from the Turk, although I'm not entirely sure why. I'd have preferred to see Roper, Strickland, or McCants have this spot.
  • Ten OL made the roster, when I thought they might go with as few as eight. Did they really keep Scott Young and Pat McCoy?
  • J.R. Reed's comeback ended today, and while it's a shame, I'm glad they cut him instead of Quentin Mikell.
  • If you're only keeping four safeties though, I'd keep five corners. Strickland or Ware should be on this roster, instead of Perry, Young, or McCoy. I don't like the thinness of this position, and there aren't any good candidates for the practice squad.

Overall, you have to be really impressed with the Eagles' front office this season, for the job they did with the rookie class. Every draft pick made the team (Bloom and Gocong are on IR, so they don't really count, but still...) as well as two undrafted free agents. Bunkley will be starting on Sunday, Justice is the primary backup at both OT spots, Avant and Baskett were good enough to make a pair of veteran WRs expendable, Omar Gaither played so well the Eagles traded away Mark Simoneau, LaJuan Ramsey took a roster spot away from Ed Jasper, and Nick Cole made the Hank Fraley trade possible. Compare this rookie class to Pittsburgh, for instance, who cut four of their 2006 draft picks today. Ouch.

Meanwhile, there are some interesting names looking for work, and I'd bring them in to kick their tires:

  • RBs Lee Suggs, Ron Dayne, Moe Williams, and Najeh Davenport: For my money, any one of these guys could have Reno Mahe's roster spot, or Bruce Perry's. All have had injury problems, but all can be effective starters when healthy.
  • WRs Darius Watts, Skyler Green, and Charles Rogers: Watts was supposed to be the #3 receiver in Denver, his cut is the most stunning one I've seen today. He shouldn't be looking for a job for long. Skyler Green is raw, but a real burner. Dallas will likely sign him to their practice squad if no one else picks him up. And Charles Rogers may be a head case, but I'd be willing to give a second chance to someone with kind of talent.
  • Ray Mickens was cut by the Jets. I'd love to see him signed, but he'll probably cost way too much money to be a fourth CB. Some team will snap him up and insert him as a nickel corner right away.


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