Carey Spear, the self-professed "Murderleg" the Eagles brought in to challenge kicker Alex Henery, was among the first wave of players released before practice Saturday.
Spear was one of the Eagles’ more ballyhooed undrafted free-agent signings, but he kicked so poorly in practice that Chip Kelly never even gave him a chance to kick in the first three preseason games.
Henery, who has missed two of his three field-goal attempts this preseason — including a 31-yarder against the Steelers Thursday night — was not among Saturday’s first wave of cuts.
The Eagles still have another kicker, Cody Parkey, with the team.
Kelly said hopes to get both Henery and Parkey opportunities to kick in the preseason finale against the Jets Thursday night at the Linc.
A somewhat surprising cut was linebacker Jake Knott, who played in 12 games last year, mainly on special teams. Knott made the team as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State, but he would have missed the first four games of the regular season because of an NFL suspension for a banned substance.
Also released Saturday morning were defensive end Alejandro Villanueva, cornerback Davon Morgan, defensive end Francis Mays, wide receivers B.J. Cunningham and Kadron Boone, tight ends Emil Igwenagu and Blake Annen, safety Daytawion Lowe, defensive end Joe Kruger and guards Josh Andrews, Karim Barton and Michael Bamiro.
Igwenagu had been with the team for two years and played in three games with one start under Andy Reid in 2012. He was on the roster for six games last year but did not play. He finished the year on the practice squad. Cunningham played in two games last year.
With the moves, the Eagles reduced the roster from 90 to 76. They must reduce it by one more player by 4 p.m. Tuesday. There's a chance that next player could be center Julian Vandervelde, who recently underwent back surgery and is a candidate for injured reserve. Players cannot go onto IR until Tuesday.
Kelly said the Eagles made the cuts Saturday so the guys they planned to release wouldn't practice over the next few days.
“We just didn’t feel it was beneficial to the players to have them practice with us Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and then cut them in the afternoon on Tuesday," he said.
“So give them a chance — if there is a chance, and I don’t know if there is — to see if they can catch on with somebody else possibly.
“It’s tough to bring somebody in if they get released Tuesday at 4 o’clock and bring them in and get them ready to play on Thursday.”