Eagles want to build around Carson Wentz and he can help

Eagles want to build around Carson Wentz and he can help

INDIANAPOLIS -- Not only are the Eagles going to build around Carson Wentz, but they're also going to let him help.

Sure, the Eagles sat down with Wentz after the season to talk about a plan, but his contributions when it comes to actual personnel decisions have likely been exaggerated.

He can help in other ways, though.

Namely, he can just be himself: the talented face of a franchise who other guys want to play with. The Eagles view Wentz as the type of bait that could lure potential free agents to Philly.

"First, in free agency, money does talk. There's no question about it," vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said. "But having a guy that people want to play with, and we've had that before. Having a quarterback that people say, 'I want to play with that guy, I want to build around that guy,' that's huge for you from a recruiting perspective.

"So if things are close or even and people see that there's this opportunity to build chemistry with a guy over a long period of time, we think that will help us as we go and recruit players."

A year ago at the combine in Indy, the Eagles got to sit down and talk with Wentz for an extended period of time. The process of acquiring Wentz began a year ago in Indy too, when Roseman and Dolphins GM Mike Tannenbaum began discussing a trade that moved the Eagles from the 13th pick in the draft to eighth. From there, the Eagles were able to jump up to two in a trade with the Browns.

A lot has changed since then.

Instead of the focus being on finding a franchise quarterback, in 2017 it's all about surrounding that franchise quarterback with talent that can grow with him. On Thursday, a report surfaced that the Eagles are interested in trading for speedy Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

"One of the compelling things when we made the trade, we certainly gave up a lot to go get him," Roseman said of Wentz. "But when you look around our division, when you look around the QBs who were picked in 2004, and we’re going into the 2017 draft, and those teams are still trying to surround that guy.

"That’s exciting when you can say we may have to take it on the chin for a year or two here from a resource perspective. But if we get this right, we can build around him for a really long time."

The Eagles are trying to be realistic about their situation, which has changed the way they view free agency. On Wednesday, Roseman said the team isn't just one player away from a championship. It will take more. That's why splashing in free agency by getting the biggest name with the highest price tag isn't the plan. Instead, the Eagles want younger players, and it's all about Wentz.

Roseman said this is the first time since the organization started over with Donovan McNabb in the early 2000s that they're in this position.

"It’s hard to think of any higher priority than having a QB on your roster," Roseman said. "At this time last year, our starting QB was a free agent. We were picking 13th and we wanted to figure out a long-term answer there."

The Eagles found their answer at quarterback. Now it's all about helping him to fulfill his potential.

NFL Notes: NFL looking to speed up games via officiating and breaks

NFL Notes: NFL looking to speed up games via officiating and breaks

NEW YORK -- The NFL is making plans to speed up the pace of games, including changing how video replays are handled and using a time clock for extra points.

The league also is discussing with the TV networks how to make commercial breaks less intrusive.

For officiating replays, the referee no longer would go under a hood to watch a play. Instead, a tablet will be brought to him on the field and he will consult with league headquarters in New York. The final call will be made in New York.

Support by 75 percent of the 32 team owners would be needed at next week's annual meetings for passage of the proposal.

In addition to a time clock for PATs when there is no TV break, the league is considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown.

Also, to improve the flow of games on the field and for television audiences, commercial breaks would be reduced from 21 per game to 16, although each would last 30 seconds longer.

Giants: RB Shaun Draughn signs
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have signed veteran running back Shaun Draughn.

The Giants announced the signing Wednesday, a little more than a month after releasing veteran Rashad Jennings in a salary cap move.

Draughn has played for six teams in six years, most recently the San Francisco 49ers. He has played in 57 games with seven starts. His career totals include 225 carries for 723 yards and seven touchdowns, plus 80 receptions for 597 yards and two scores. He also has 17 special teams tackles.

Draughn says the Giants were interested in his versatility. He says: "I don't know exactly how they'll use me. I'm sure they'll use me to the strengths that I have."

Draughn played in all 16 games last season with one start for the 49ers. He scored a career-high four touchdowns while rushing for 194 yards on 74 carries. Draughn also had career-best totals of 29 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns.

He joins a backfield that includes second-year pro Paul Perkins, the team's top returning rusher, Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen.

Bengals: 'Pacman' Jones faces misdemeanor charges
CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones faces three misdemeanor charges, including assault, but no longer is charged with a felony.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (DEE'-turs) announced Wednesday that a felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance was dismissed at the prosecuting attorney's request.

Deters said the misdemeanors also include disorderly conduct and obstructing official business.

The 33-year-old veteran whose career has been marked by off-the-field legal issues was jailed Jan. 3 after a confrontation with a hotel security employee was followed by a struggle with Cincinnati police and a sheriff's office report Jones spit on a nurse's hand.

Deters says the criminal charge won't be pursued, given that the nurse has been pursuing a possible civil remedy.

A Bengals spokesman said the team has no comment.

Two Eagles question why Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned

Two Eagles question why Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned

Two weeks into NFL free agency and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains available. He decided to test the market in free agency after not picking up the player option on his contract.

While there's still a chance Kaepernick gets signed, a couple of Eagles players are pointing out that some of the quarterbacks to get contracts recently aren't as good.   

On Monday, Geno Smith signed with the Giants, Josh McCown signed with the Jets and E.J. Manuel signed with the Raiders.

Kaepernick has a better record and completion percentage than those three quarterbacks. He's also second in touchdown passes, trailing only McCown by seven, 79-72, despite playing nine fewer seasons.

So, why aren't teams giving the quarterback who nearly won the Super Bowl against the Ravens in 2013 a chance?

It could be because of his protest of the national anthem last season.

According to Bleacher Report, about 20 percent of teams around the league believe he can play, but the others are simply using showing no interest as punishment for his protest:

"He can still play at a high level," one AFC general manager said. "The problem is three things are happening with him.

"First, some teams genuinely believe that he can't play. They think he's shot. I'd put that number around 20 percent.

"Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.

"Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can't stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. They want nothing to do with him. They won't move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did."

And of course, President Donald Trump chimed in on Kaepernick's status in free agency.

Last year, Trump commented on Kaepernick's decision not to stand for the national anthem saying, ​"maybe he should find a country that works better for him."