Three years later, Eagles nailed Malcolm Jenkins vs. Jairus Byrd

Three years later, Eagles nailed Malcolm Jenkins vs. Jairus Byrd

INDIANAPOLIS -- As the NFL combine gets set to kick into high gear this week, the league offered a cautionary tale about free agency. 

On Tuesday night, news broke that the Saints are going to cut safety Jairus Byrd, according to a report by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, three years after they signed him to a monster six-year deal. By cutting Byrd, the Saints will save cap space, but they'll also take on plenty of dead money just to move on. 

Just three years ago, Byrd was the hottest safety on the market. He was the guy a lot of Eagles fans targeted. They wanted Byrd, not Malcolm Jenkins. 

Well, this one worked out well for the Eagles. While Byrd's first season with New Orleans ended after four games with a knee injury, Jenkins has become one of the Eagles' best players. 

Byrd has missed more games the last three years (15) than Jenkins has missed defensive snaps for the Eagles (eight). To Byrd's credit, he did play all 16 games in 2016. 

But even when they're both on the field, Jenkins has been the much better player, being named to the Pro Bowl in 2015. He has eight interceptions over the last three years to Byrd's three and Jenkins has returned half of those interceptions for touchdowns. Byrd hasn't had a pick-six since 2011. 

The Eagles rewarded Jenkins with a five-year extension before the start of the 2016 season. 

This story should be on the minds of Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas this week in Indianapolis as free agency approaches. It's not always about the biggest splash; it's about finding the right fit for a team. 

Even if the Eagles really wanted to make a splash this year, they might not have a lot of room to work with. They're strapped in terms of salary cap space, but they do have some options. This week will serve as an opportunity to meet with the representatives for several of their players already under contract like Connor Barwin, Jason Kelce, Ryan Mathews and Mychal Kendricks. Trades or cuts would free up plenty more space. 

There won't be a break after the combine this year thanks to a congested schedule. Almost immediately after the Eagles return to Philly, the legal tampering window will begin on March 7 and free agency opens on March 9.  

With this cautionary tale in mind, the Eagles have to avoid signing a Jairus Byrd and instead sign a Malcolm Jenkins. Easier said than done. 

NFL Notes: Gareon Conley claims rape allegations are 'completely false'

NFL Notes: Gareon Conley claims rape allegations are 'completely false'

CLEVELAND -- Former Ohio State football star Gareon Conley says he plans to skip attending the NFL draft in person on Thursday and decried allegations that he raped a woman as "completely false."

No charges have been filed as police investigate claims made by a 23-year-old woman that he assaulted her in a Cleveland hotel on April 9. Conley was named in a police report that details the allegations but no information has been forwarded to prosecutors.

Conley said in a statement Wednesday that he believes the allegations are an attempt to ruin the draft experience for him and his family.

The woman told police Conley raped her in the bathroom of a hotel room after they met in the elevator and she agreed to go back to his room.

Conley's attorney says the cornerback, projected to be a first-round pick, plans to speak with police about the incident after the draft.

Raiders: Marshawn Lynch comes out of retirement
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Marshawn Lynch is coming out of retirement after agreeing on a two-year deal with the Raiders that paved the way for a trade to his hometown team in Oakland.

Lynch passed a physical Wednesday and agreed to a restructured two-year contract. Those were the final steps needed before Seattle could trade his rights along with a 2018 sixth-round pick to the Raiders for a 2018 fifth-rounder.

NFL Network said Lynch would get a $3 million base deal this season, with a chance to make an additional $2 million if he rushes for at least 1,000 yards.

Lynch had been slated to make $9 million this season if he came out of retirement. With Seattle unwilling to pay that amount and Lynch only wanting to play for the Raiders, finalizing a trade was simple once Oakland was able to re-do Lynch's contract.

Lynch also must apply to the NFL for reinstatement from the retired list before he can play with the Raiders (see full story).

Packers: Veteran OL Jahri Evans signs
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have signed veteran offensive lineman Jahri Evans as they look to fill a hole up front left by the departure of free agent-right guard T.J. Lang.

Terms of the agreement were not announced Wednesday by general manager Ted Thompson.

The 33-year-old Evans joins the Packers following 11 seasons in New Orleans, where he played 169 regular-season games since being drafted in the fourth round in 2006. The 169 games are the most played by an active NFL offensive lineman in that span.

After blocking for Drew Brees in New Orleans, the durable Evans figures to be the favorite to replace Lang after the Pro Bowl guard signed with the Detroit Lions last month.

Evans has been voted to six Pro Bowls.

Jets: 5 players waived to trim roster on eve of draft
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets have waived running back Brandon Burks, wide receiver Darius Jennings, long snapper Josh Latham, linebacker Jeff Luc and defensive lineman Julien Obioha.

The team announced the moves Wednesday as it trims its roster on the eve of the NFL draft.

The Jets, who have 76 players under contract, have seven picks in the draft -- including No. 6 overall. Teams can carry up to 90 players on their rosters until training camp, when there are cuts to 75 and then 53 to start the regular season.

Burks was active for the Jets' season finale and had two carries for minus-4 yards.

Obioha spent last season on injured reserve, while Jennings was on New York's practice squad late in the season.

Luc signed a reserve-future deal in January. Latham was signed in February.

Giants: Manning attorneys say he didn't provide fake memorabilia
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Attorneys for New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning are trying to convince a judge that the dealers suing the two-time Super Bowl MVP tried to pressure him to settle a memorabilia lawsuit by releasing select notes that weren't related to the disputed goods.

Emails released by the court on Wednesday were part of a motion seeking sanctions and legal fees against one of the plaintiffs' attorneys after he released an email from Manning in 2010 that seemed to indicate he provided fake memorabilia rather than authentic game-used goods.

Manning angrily denied those allegations last week.

The lawsuit revolves around two pieces of equipment: a backup Super Bowl helmet from 2012 and another from the 2007-2008 season.

The memorabilia dealers suing Manning released a note sent by Manning to team equipment manager Joe Skiba, asking for two helmets that "can pass as game used," (see full story).

Haason Reddick's draft ascension to culminate in his backyard

Haason Reddick's draft ascension to culminate in his backyard

Live draft coverage begins Thursday at 5 p.m. with Philly Sports Talk and continues until midnight on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App.

DeShone Kizer, who played against Haason Reddick in 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field, needed just one word to describe the Temple product.  

"Stud," Kizer said at the Shriners Hospital for Children on Wednesday at an NFL PLAY 60 event.

"Absolute stud. You've got to game-plan for him. He was playing at a higher level than you would expect a Temple football player to play at. We knew we were going to have to do whatever we could to stop him. He balled out against us. That took a whole team for us to go up against a guy like him, (Tyler) Matakevich in that fourth quarter to try and win it all."

Temple would have upset the Fighting Irish that night if it wasn't for some late game heroics from Kizer. 

Kizer connected with Philadelphia product-turned Houston Texan Will Fuller on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 2:09 left in the game as Notre Dame won, 24-20.

"They came out and they fought," Kizer said. "They were an undefeated team going into that game, it was Halloween night, Will Fuller's back home, and the way that game finished was obviously a good showing of what the season looked like all year." 

Reddick racked up four tackles in that game, including 1½ for a loss. As Reddick reflected on his career at Temple, he said that game against Notre Dame, the Penn State game in 2015 and the 2016 game against Memphis were some of the games that put him in the national spotlight. 

Reddick has taken that spotlight and continued to rise up NFL draft boards since the start of the draft process.

"I feel like I was under the radar," Reddick said. "They still truly don't understand the hard work that I put in to get here and really what type of player I am. But that will all change soon."

The former Temple walk-on has been projected as a mid-first-round pick. 

The Eagles hold the No. 14 overall pick in the draft Thursday night but haven't been linked to Reddick as much as other prospects like Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley and Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.

But with Conley and Foster each reportedly slipping because of off-the-field issues, Reddick might be an option for the Eagles at 14.

Reddick said Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole has met with him a couple of times leading up to the draft.

If selected by the Eagles, Reddick would already be familiar with Lincoln Financial Field since Temple plays its home games there. It's where he led the Owls to the American Athletic Conference championship in 2016.

"The process has been a crazy ride," Reddick said. "To be able to hear my name called on Thursday, God willing if that happens, it would be beautiful, man. It would be a great way to end this first chapter and start getting ready for the next one."