Philadelphia Eagles

Howie Roseman, Eagles didn't want to move Jordan Matthews, but 'unique opportunity' arose

Howie Roseman, Eagles didn't want to move Jordan Matthews, but 'unique opportunity' arose

A year ago, Jordan Matthews was the unquestioned leader of a young and inexperienced receiver group, charged with not just carrying the load but also helping the rookie franchise quarterback acclimate to the NFL. 

Now he's gone. 

The Eagles traded away the 25-year-old Matthews, along with a third-round pick in 2018, to the Bills in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby on Friday. 

"This was a unique opportunity," Eagles de facto general manager Howie Roseman said. "We were not out there shopping Jordan Matthews."

Talk and rumors about the Eagles' possibly trading Matthews have been floating for months and it's those rumors — true or not — that actually led to the Eagles' receiving calls about him, Roseman said.

Matthews has been extremely productive during the first three years of his career. Since the Eagles drafted him in the second round in 2014 out of Vanderbilt, Matthews has piled up 225 catches for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. 

Despite what some might consider inflated numbers, Matthews' production is unquestionable. He's one of just seven players in NFL history to put up those numbers in his first three NFL seasons. The others are Randy Moss, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald, A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins. 

But Matthews was entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract and instead of trying to gamble on re-signing him next season, the Eagles decided to get something back for him — although in the process, they also had to part ways with a third-rounder.   

"I think from our perspective and Jordan's perspective, everything's been incredibly positive with Jordan Matthews and our conversations with him and his agent," Roseman said. "It never came down to this guy's asking for too much money and we're not willing to do this so we better ship him out now. This all came down to this particular trade and this particular value for where our football team is now. Last year at this time, from where the group was, it would have been hard to do. It was still hard to do but when we looked at the overall needs on this team and what this guy could potentially do for us, we thought it was the right deal." 

Getting a player back with two years left on his contract allowed the Eagles to pull the trigger. If Darby had just one year left, Roseman said it would have been hard for the Eagles to take him. 

Roseman said it's not that Matthews wasn't in the team's long-term plans; it was just that the offer in return was good for the team. And he didn't rule out a possible reunion with Matthews, however unrealistic that might be. 

"Theoretically, [Matthews is] a free agent in March so there's nothing precluding us from signing any free agent in March," Roseman said.

During his three years in Philadelphia, Matthews became a clear favorite within the Eagles' locker room. The Eagles upgraded the receiver position enough this offseason by signing Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery, as well as drafting promising rookie Mack Hollins, to feel comfortable making this move. 

But Matthews' departure will still leave a void. His teammates flooded social media in the wake of the trade to wish him the best. It was clear he had a great relationship with his teammates, specifically franchise quarterback Carson Wentz. 

Roseman said he had a "knot in his stomach" before talking to Matthews on Friday morning and certainly thought about the possible locker room ramifications a deal like this one might have. 

"You worry about everything when you trade a professional like Jordan Matthews," Roseman said. "This isn't one where you're celebrating and doing a dance because you're giving up a good player and a good pick. In this league, you're not going to be able to get anything unless you give something. I think we have a really good character group, not just at the wide receiver position but on this team and on the offensive side of the ball. But it hurts when people you care about leave. 

"The hardest thing to do was talking to Jordan about this. It never gets any easier in this business because however good he is as a player, he's a better person. But we've got to do what's in the best interest of this team moving forward and that's why we made the trade."

Things starting to click for Eagles 2nd-year DE Alex McCalister

USA Today Images

Things starting to click for Eagles 2nd-year DE Alex McCalister

Earlier this week, Alex McCalister did something new. 

The second-year defensive end lined up out wide but before the snap, slipped inside just in time to dip and speed past offensive tackle Taylor Hart for a training camp sack. 

"I would just run around people in college," McCalister said. "But everybody in the league is fast as hell, so you have to learn switch-ups and stuff." 

At 6-foot-6, McCalister used his redshirt rookie season to gain some weight necessary to play in the NFL. Even with the extra weight, he's still long and lanky. Speed is still his greatest attribute. But speed isn't enough. 

He can't be a one-trick pony as a pass-rusher. Not in the NFL. 

So he's been working hard at developing a changeup to go with his fastball. 

"It's big," veteran defensive end Chris Long said. "Good pass-rushers can threaten your inside, through you and on the edge. With the gifts [McCalister] has, to develop that part of his game is just going to make him really hard to block.

"Alex has a lot of gifts. Learning some new moves is just going to accentuate those gifts. I think everybody has to realize what their strengths are at some point and work on their weaknesses."

McCalister is happy about how he's improved his inside moves. He said all training camp he has been hitting offensive tackles with speed, so he knew he'd be able to sneak inside and beat them with a change of pace.

He's been noticing that tackles start to cheat when they think the outside speed rush is coming. 

"Yeah, they just bail out immediately off the ball," McCalister said. "Which is good. I'm starting to set people up. Now I can take that inside move or show some power." 

For the last week or so, McCalister has looked like a different player. He suffered a hamstring injury earlier in training camp, but since returning, he's been making a push while working with the third-team defense. The problem for McCalister is the depth at his position. Even without Marcus Smith, who was cut last month, McCalister is probably the sixth defensive end on the roster after Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Derek Barnett, Chris Long and Steven Means. 

He's starting to make a push though. 

In the Eagles' preseason opener, McCalister did some good things. He had 34 snaps, second most on defense, and picked up his first NFL (preseason) sack. He used a speed move around the right tackle to sack quarterback Taysom Hill with just over five minutes left in the game. He also forced a fumble on the play. 

McCalister had two tackles, the sack, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble. Not bad. 

"I don't think it was a secret," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "He made some plays in the game, but he was also up and down. It's a little bit difficult at the end of the game because you don't have — early in the game you can roll waves of guys through. You get into that fourth quarter and there is nobody else, and they've got to stay out there for an extended period of time. That being said, just all those guys need to be more consistent. I think every single guy out there made a play somewhere along the line. But it's not just about making a play, it's about making all the plays or making the majority of the plays and being consistent, and Alex is still working on that."

McCalister agreed with Schwartz's assessment. He acknowledged that he needs to be more consistent, but also thinks that will come once his conditioning gets better. Missing time with a hamstring injury didn't allow him to stay in as good of shape as he normally is. 

Playing at the end of the game, McCalister just stayed in and didn't get to be part of a rotation. 

"Suck it up," McCalister said. "Fight. I'm glad nobody took me out though, because in my head, I know I can fight through it."

For the last week or so, McCalister has looked like a different player and he's noticed it too. Although he doesn't know what sparked it, something has finally clicked. He no longer beats himself up over mistakes; he just moves on to the next play. 

He used to drag after making a bad play; now he doesn't. McCalister knows it sounds cliché, but he's just trying to take every day and every play one at a time. 

"I don't know [what changed]," McCalister said. "I don't know what it was. But I'm glad it happened."

Dimitri Patterson injures 2 police officers trying to flee court room

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Dimitri Patterson injures 2 police officers trying to flee court room

Former Eagles cornerback Dimitri Patterson injured two police officers while trying to flee during a family court hearing on Tuesday, according to police, via The Miami Herald.

Patterson, 34, appeared in Lawson E. Thomas Court Center when he was ordered by the judge to be taken into custody. At that time, he tried to run out of the door and tackled a female officer who fell and hit her head, while another officer suffered a wrist injury before Patterson was taken into custody.

The female officer was taken to the hospital but later released.

This isn’t Patterson’s first brush with the law. ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported in 2015 that the Miami native was charged with felony child abuse.

Per police reports obtained from the incident, Patterson met his ex-girlfriend at Aventura Mall on Aug. 1, 2015, for a custody exchange of their 1-year-old child when an argument ensued over child support payments.

“While placing the boy in the back seat of the car, Medina told Patterson to calm down, warning him that she wouldn't allow him to take the child,” Cimini reported.

“Patterson ‘grabbed her around her neck and threw her to the ground,’ according to the incident report. ‘While this occurred, [Medina] was holding [the boy]. This action caused [him] to fall also and hit his head.’”

Court records show Patterson was eventually acquitted for culpable negligence and battery.

Patterson spent time with the Redskins, Chiefs, Eagles, Browns, Dolphins and Jets during his eight-year career. With the Eagles in 2009 and 2010, he appeared in 27 games (nine starts) with 50 tackles, four interceptions and one sack.

Patterson was last with the Jets in 2014 but suspended indefinitely by the team after leaving without contacting the organization. He was released a short time later and retired.